I’ve been managing domains for over 9 years now. It’s not necessarily a hard job, even though hosting can be difficult. But for this article we’re going to stick to the business of domains. Acquiring a domain isn’t extremely challenging. There are apps from hosting providers you can use, or you can go the traditional route of creating an account with a hosting provider from your laptop 24/7 and buy domain names to your heart’s content.

Let’s Talk About Domain Registration

hosting serversYou can purchase a domain name anywhere from $5.99 to several thousand dollars. You scoff? Yes I typed that correct, several thousand. We’ll get to that in a just a few. The reason why you can purchase a domain for so cheap is usually because of the introductory prices offered when creating an account with a hosting provider. GoDaddy is probably the most well known, and at times infamous when it comes to domains.

Because the price of domains are so low for the most part, the recurring fee to renew your registration only happens on the anniversary of when your purchased it (or first registered it). Normally when it comes time to renew you’ll receive an email anywhere from 45 to the last few days leading up to your expiration. You may need to check your spam folder if you are missing these or if you previously opted out of receiving promotional emails from your provider.

Now on to the Good Part

When it’s time for your domain to renew, and you don’t renew it and it expires, it is released into the wild. Like the baby dolphin you helped raise from early childhood to an adult released back into the ocean. Because well, the internet is rather large like the ocean. I digress. So what happens when you want that domain back? Well if it is within the 30 days of expiration, your hosting provider still has it. They essentially “park” your domain hoping that you or your visitors will notice all the new banner ads that replaced your beautiful and well curated content and all your pages.

You can quickly contact your provider and pay the price for renewal (and possibly any lapse fees) and within moments your old website is back online and no more funky ads. But what do you do when it’s no longer in the hands of your provider? Well, you may be into some real trouble. There are people out there that scour the internet with apps and code waiting for domains to become newly available and buy them up for that same inexpensive low price like you did, but they place their own ads up along with a nice message on how if you’d like to purchase “this” domain you can have it for a price. In some cases the price is listed, and could be a couple hundred dollars. But if your website had high traffic, and continues to show a lot of visits from unsuspecting patrons, the resale value goes up. Oh and if you or other people submit that form to inquire about purchasing the domain, the price goes up. Almost like a catch-22 huh?

I’d like to say it’s not fair and there should be laws against this type of behavior in the market, but all of this could be avoided if hosting provider fees are taken care of on time.

This whole write up is to shed some light on a lesson for domain owners. It’s rather inexpensive to acquire and retain a domain name, or several of them at that. Think really hard if you no longer want to keep a domain. The headache of trying to get it back later could be way worse than just paying the $15 or $20 it is to renew it for the year.

Thoughts? Do you have a domain you’d like to get back from someone who bought it after it expired? Contact us and we’ll offer you some personal advice. Worse thing you can do is not to educate yourself on what options are available to you.