Once again, I’m trying to help a client track down and gain control of their domain. A couple of years ago, they hired someone to develop their web site for them. He registered their domain in his name, and he apparently renewed it a year ago. But now he’s disappeared and they can’t locate him. None of their contact info for him reaches him. Their domain is on the verge of expiring, but they can’t find the previous developer to get him to renew it, nor can they renew it themselves.
I suspect what’s going to happen is this: The domain will expire in a few days. It will go into the registrar’s redemption period, so that no one else can register it, and only the former web developer would be able to renew it. Even if they can reach him at that point, they probably won’t want to pay the redemption fee. So they’ll end up registering a new domain.
I can build them a nice new site. But they’ll lose the two years’ worth of “aging” of the existing site on the current domain. They’ll essentially be starting over from scratch.
This could have been avoided by the client simply registering the domain in their own name in the first place. I frequently end up registering clients’ domains for them, because they don’t know how and they don’t want to learn how, and they consider “all that technical web stuff” to be beyond anything they can or want to manage themselves.
Fortunately for my clients, I don’t plan on disappearing, and I would never ever hold a domain for hostage the way some web developers do. So I consider that my clients’ domain are safe with me. But nevertheless, I always recommend that a domain should be registered in the business owner’s own account in their own name. They wouldn’t allow any other important business asset to be owned or controlled by some third party, and they should apply the same standard to their domain.