What’s in a domain name?
Plenty if you have a website which you intend on promoting and marketing. Otherwise, who cares, right?
A domain name, for the uninitiated, is the way you or your business is recognised online.
It can be short or long and it helps people find you and associate it with your business.
That’s why domain names are important. Much more important than any piece of virtual real estate your money can buy.
Domain names must be renewed in order to be used.
As a business owner, you must remember to renew it. But most people get their nephews or nieces or neighbour’s kid to help them with the website, and as such, help them get their domain registered.
Here’s the problem.
When the renewal notice email arrives, it is likely to end up in your nephew or niece’s or neighbourhood kid’s email. They might be kind enough to forward you the notice so you can renew it.
Or they can, like most people, forget their Hotmail or Yahoo email address and password when they go off to study.
What happens then? Your domain expires.
When this happens, there’s a cooling off period whereby the domain hangs in limbo. Like in purgatory.
Only this is the Internet and World wide web purgatory.
Until maybe 30 or 60 days later, it gets released.
Anyone (maybe your competitor) can snap the domain up unless you’re fast enough. Once it’s bought by someone else, you can plead and cajole but the domain is gone forever.
Unless of course if you want to pay like US$50,000 for the domain (hey, there are unscrupulous people out there but it’s still a legit buy-and-sell biz based on demand and supply). If you want to buy it bad enough, you can cough up the money, no?
So lesson # 1: I am sure your nephew is fantastic with computers and websites, but please, it’s your business and domain name we are talking about.
If you are serious about your business, take a serious approach and ensure your domain name is yours and yours only. Get the right people to help you renew and keep track of your domain. Otherwise, it could be a very expensive mistake!
Someone we know who runs a food manufacturing business once trusted her domain name in the hands of her web host.
One day, her domain name expired. She didn’t know and she wasn’t informed by her web host to renew.
In fact, it was she who alerted them about her website being down.
But wait, it gets worse.
Her domain, unfortunately, had been bought by a Panama company! Panama, can you beat that?
And most unfortunate of all, she had her website (her domain name) printed on ALL her product packaging!
And she didn’t even know the domain was gone until we checked it for her and told her that officially, she didn’t have it anymore.
It’s an expensive lesson to learn. But you see, that’s why it hurts to make stupid mistakes in business. It hurts to trust the wrong people. It hurts to know that it’s not your fault but still you suffer the consequences.
One mistake and there goes the brand you’ve built.
Lesson # 2: Put your trust in people who do what they say they’ll do. Not people who sell on the cheap and expect you to tell them if anything hits the fan. By then it’ll be way too late.
Read more about choosing domain names.
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