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.
This happens all the time. I have had several clients whose previous web developer has title to their domain name. In most cases the developer was not locatable and the domain name therefore irretrievable. In one case in particular, the previous developer held the domain name hostage when the client didn’t want to deal with her anymore. The client had invested several thousand dollars in advertising and printing costs on that domain, and it had been online for a year already so it was receiving some organic traffic. Not only that but the disgruntled web developer took down the client’s site altogether and replaced it with a “Notice of Non-Payment by…” and named the client by name! In the end, the client elected to choose a different domain name and let the whole thing go. It was a lesson learned the hard way.
NEVER let someone else hold your domain name. It is one of your most valuable business assets and should be closely guarded. If you buy a website that comes with a domain name, open a GoDaddy account (they’re free) and INSIST that the current owner of the domain name transfer it to your account.
Naperville Limo says
Agreed. I think a major point of this issue is the whole “aging” of the domain name. No one can replace time in the search engines. I built a site for my business, http://www.thinkgreenlimo.com and registered the domain name two years ago. I own and maintain my domain, the code, and all the rights – as should everybody!