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 name registrations are a big business, and with a great domain name, it’s much easier for visitors to find a website on the web. Domain names that are being used on a daily basis 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 they update their pages regularly and attract new visitors. By using resources such as WHOIS, it’s reasonably 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 expires and goes through the rest of the domain cycles, 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. Here are the top 5 blunders of all time when it comes to domain expiry and the problems that they caused.
Unfortunately, after the top 5 blunders, the story doesn’t end there. Since we published this post, there were new famous domain expirations, and we have updated it. Also, we upgraded it with notable mentions.
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 (USD 5.7 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.
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.
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 were replaced by the image of two boys playing soccer and contact information for an opportunity to purchase the domain name. 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…
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 domain expiration 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 that 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 six 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 skin is learned best.
4 Notable mentions:
1. Clydesdale 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
2. 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
3. Just when you thought domain expirations are the thing of the past, and everybody learned the auto-renew function with a credit card on file on 10-year renewals, according to The Register “hilarity ensues. In July 2017 marketing giant Marketo (yes, the organization that was once valued over $1 billion) failed to renew their domain name. Welcome to the club guys.
Source: Marketo’s main domain name expires
4. Moving on, we have Sorenson Communications, a large US telco that will have to pay a fine of 3 million dollars (that is no typo, you can read the settlement here). Because their domain name expired, their service suffered a three-day outage. Since they are getting paid a lot of money for critical services such as 911, the fine was within that range.
“These requirements ensure that persons with hearing or speech disabilities are able to stay connected with friends and family, and access critical services such as 911 in a manner similar to persons without hearing or speech disabilities”
If Sorensen happened before we posted the original post, they would have made our TOP 5 section easily! I am having a hard time understanding why it took them three days to renew their domain name. Whatever the reason was, we have our nine all time domain expirations, and by the look of it, we will have more high-profile domain expirations in the future.