Do You Know Where Your Domain Name Is?

This blog post comes at the request of one of my customers with the hopes that some business owners will learn from her pain and save themselves this mistake. We will call her Mary, but she knows who she is.

Mary came to us a couple of months ago because she was tired of waiting months for her web developer to complete the necessary updates on her website. Her developer was also her web host and the relationship went from bad to worse when the developer decided they didn’t want to be in the hosting business anymore and she needed to find someone else to work with.

We were able to get a copy of Mary’s websites and get all sites setup on a new host with no problem. All we had was one last step, point Mary’s domain names to her new website location and we were done. That was one month ago.

Why are we still waiting? Mary didn’t register her own domain names.

Here is what happened:

  1. The developer’s name was on the domain name record, Mary’s name was not listed.  She could not contact the registrar to changes settings, we had to wait for the developer.
  2. The developer registered the domain name using their personal account where they were had registered several other domains, so Mary’s info couldn’ t just be added to the record.
  3. Since Mary didn’t have her own domain account, in order to keep her domains, she had to establish a new account and request a transfer of the domain records. When everyone is cooperating, this can take a couple of days. We are now on the third round of transfer requests because the developer has failed to respond to previous requests and the requests have expired.
  4. Also, keep in mind, transferring the domains is like re-registering the domains. Mary is having to pay the monthly fees again, even though the developer already billed her for them this year, in addition to charges for transfer fees.
  5. To make matters worse, one of the domains expired while we have been waiting for the transfer to complete. Since Mary wasn’t a contact on the record, she wasn’t receiving the notices to renew, the developer let it expire since she was leaving. The website is currently down until the transfer is complete.

Mary didn’t want to take the time to register her domain name and instead, let someone else do it for her. After spending the last few weeks on the phone trying to get it back, she wished someone had warned her at the time to handle this herself. She thought she would always be able to count on her web developer and didn’t anticipate the relationship would never go sour. It actually could be worse, at least they are agreeing to give Mary back her domain names, they are not required and if they didn’t, there would be nothing that Mary could do.

Do you know where your domain is? Is your name listed as the owner? If you are not confident of the answer, today might be a good day to double check.