Why? So You Don't Lose Everything…
I've lost count of the number of times over the years that clients have lost domains because they did not keep their domain records up to date. So if you have a website using that domain, that website is then essentially offline.
In 2018: 130,656 GoDaddy customers had to pay to recover domains they lost due to inaccurate records. That included 402,671 domains!
Yes, the files will still be on the server, but without a domain name to display them, you are as good as invisible. You'll then have to get a new domain, get that in place on the server and modify the database and any links within your content to use the new domain.
Then the marketing nightmare of having to change everything that had the old domain to reflect the new. Social links, incoming website links, business cards, off-line collateral. And, yes, your SEO rankings * will suffer.
You then have to hope that a competitor doesn't snatch it up. Or worse, someone with a different focus will use your name recognition to get traffic to their new unrelated site. For instance, one client lost their domain that then went up as an adult content website.
Do you have any recourse?
If you are not trademarked, you'll have a tough time recouping that domain. And if you are trademarked, here come the legal * fees to help you accomplish this task.
How can this happen?
- The email address on the domain record is no longer valid.
- Payment information in your account is no longer valid.
- Customers do not receive the numerous emails sent by domain registrars warning of 1 and 2.
- The email address on the record is not you, the domain owner. It is a consultant or developer. If you are no longer working with that web dev, they will not be inclined to let you know that your domain is having issues.
About #4. You should always have your name and email address as the “Registrant” on your domain records. That makes you the legal owner of your domains. So if your consultant or web designer is noted as the Registrant, legally, they own your domain.
If you want to have someone help you with your domains, they should be noted as the Technical contact. Not the Registrant. Professional consultants, web devs, and designers know this and would never consider putting themselves down as the Registrant for your domains.
No Email Notices?
I know that not all the email notices sent by Registrars, like GoDaddy, are received. I've experienced this myself. However, you can help ensure that you receive all your emails by adding Senders to your approved senders or white list. You can find out how to do that here.
What you also need to do is to be cognizant of the fact that some emails will be misidentified as spam or junk. Happens all the time. However, before you delete your junk folder or spam folder contents, check to see if an email has been sent to those folders in error.
Mark those emails as not junk and move them to your inbox. Most email programs are set to “learn” what emails are spam or not. Making these efforts will help to prevent those same emails from landing in the junk folder again.
Also, take a moment to give your Trash folder and once over before emptying too. Just in case you accidentally deleted an email that you want to keep. I know I've done this as I page through the tons of emails in my inbox with my cursor on the delete button. You might be surprised to find out how often that happens.
Mark Your Calendar!
The best way to avoid any possibility of losing your domain name is to mark your calendar to remind you to make sure your domain records are current. Look up your domain's expiration date and mark your calendar 8 weeks before that date to double-check that all your info is accurate.
If you have a ton of domains, as I do, check everything once a month. I have my calendar marked for mid-month every month to check my domains. While I know my contact and payment information hasn't changed and is accurate, I use this as an opportunity to review which domains I want to maintain.
Your domain records are your responsibility to keep up-to-date. Not the registrars, not your web helpers or consultants. You.
Why not go and check your domains right now to ensure you are the Registrant and that the email and payment information is current? If they are not, you'll be glad you did.
At your service,