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5 all-time domain expirations in Internet history

One of the worst things that you can do as a website owner is let your domain expire. A domain name is a copyrighted web address which directs users to a website. Domain names are a big business, and with a great domain name it’s much easier for visitors to find a website on the web. Popular domain names like google.com have multiple variations as companies will buy the rights to multiple domains based off of geographical locations as well as to make sure that their pages are regularly visited. By using resources such as WHOIS it’s fairly easy to look up when domains were registered and when they are going to expire. Perhaps one of the biggest problems with domain expiry is that once a domain does expire anyone can reregister that domain, requiring even major companies to pay thousands or even millions of dollars to get their web address back. Expired domain names make a massive impact when it comes to lost finances on the web and more. Gather around the fire folks, ‘cause here are the top 5 blunders of all time when it comes to domain expiry and the problems that they caused.

5. In April of 2012 the second largest online travel site for Indian tourists, responsible for up to 30% of the online travel-related transactions in India forgot to renew their domain name. This Rs.370 billion industry lost countless customers and lost their partnership with the State Bank of India who produced a custom travel credit card with the company. It has not been as successful since.

Source: Yatra.com forgets to renew their domain, site inactive

4. The 22nd largest bank in the United States, Regions Bank that contains over 1700 branches and 2400 ATMs, forgot to renew their domain name in April of 2013. Customers lost the ability to access online banking, online services and access to the main bank website. The bank was forced to make a public apology and Web services were down for close to a week.

Source: Major Bank Forgets to Renew Domain Name: Entire Online Operation Goes Down

3. Perhaps one of the most famous examples comes from the Dallas Cowboys. The team forgot to renew their domain name in 2010 during a major news brief where they fired their head coach. The domain name that was purchased just years earlier expired and the website was replaced by two boys playing soccer and contact information for the sale. The organization had to pay out the registrar of the domain name and the website was down for several days. Please don’t tell me the head coach registered the domain…

Source: Dallas Cowboys fire coach, forget to renew their web domain

2. This one was a biggie back in 1999 when:“Microsoft forgets to pay for domain renewal causing Hotmail (among other sites) to be impossible to reach for many users.” You read that right, about 15 years ago, Microsoft forgot to renew their domain name passport.com and made the headlines, especially in the Linux community that was waking up at that time. As if that wasn’t bad enough, in 2003 again Microsoft forgot to renew an important domain, this time hotmail.co.uk!

Source: Slashdot: Microsoft forgets to renew their domain name passport.com (URL no longer working: https://slashdot.org/articles/99/12/25/114201_F.shtml)
Source 2: The guy that captured the domain passport.com auctioned the $500 check it got from Microsoft for the domain, and donated the money he got
Source 3: Microsoft forgets to renew hotmail.co.uk domain


1. Our number one forgetfulness goes to a company that at that time raised $10 million in funding, and then dropped the ball. The only reason Microsoft didn’t make #1 is because passport.com is not their main domain. Foursquare.com on the other hand is the most valuable equity of that digital company. In the past 6 months there were predictions of Foursquare’s IPO and buyout. Whatever they do, they better hold on to their domain, and at least until 2021 they don’t have to worry about that, or perhaps they should.

I guess it’s true what they say. Lesson learned on your own skin is learned best.

Source: Techcrunch – Foursquare forgets to renew it’s domain name

 

P.S.

Notable mentions:
Clydesdayle and Yorkshire Banks: these two major UK banks forgot to renew their domain name, and as a result their banking services were delayed by days as they reclaimed their website domain. The good news for the bank is that their domain was not snatched up by another party after the registration expired, but the loss and services caused a customer service nightmare.
Source: Confirmed Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks forgot to renew domain name

Tens of thousands of websites rely upon Sitemeter to provide tracking capabilities: April 4th 2013 they forgot to renew their domain.
Source: Sitemeter forgets to renew domain name

Written by Goran Duskic

I am the founder and CEO at WhoAPI. Entrepreneur for more than a decade in the hosting and domain industry. Sold my previous company. 500 Startups and StartLabs alumni. Author of a white paper "Domain Disclosure: Dirty Dozen" and eBook "26 Fundraising Questions for Startups".

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6 Comments

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  1. What is ironic about all this is that every registrar (AFAIK) has reminders and auto-renew. There are even 3rd party services to track your expirations.

  2. That’s embarrassing.

    But with many things on your mind one can always forget to renew a domain name. This is why it is a good idea to register or renew a domain name for 5 years or more it is recommended. Also don’t forget to keep your information upto date to make sure you get emails/phone calls from the registrar if they need to get in contact with you.

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