There are lots of unscrupulous folks who enjoy making money from picking up expired domain names and holding you hostage. Today, I am going to share with you how I lost my domain name.
My story goes way back to my original hosting company. I trusted them to set up my domain name and host my site which I created and updated myself. After a year of paying high prices just to host my site, I transferred the hosting to another company. I asked them to make me the registrant of my domain name during the transfer process. I thought they did.
A few years later, I had trouble with this original hosting company because of poor service they were providing to several of my clients. Throughout the fiasco, I found out my domain name was still registered to them. I repeatedly asked them to transfer the domain name to me and even offered to pay fees, but they wouldn’t do it. They just decided to ignore my requests and not renew it out of spite.
I immediately placed a backorder on my domain name hoping to secure it. I had been lead to believe that I could buy it through action when the registration expired, but quickly discovered the auction process is rigged by cybersquatters. These speculators profit by buying up expired domain names and reselling them at inflated prices.
At one time these speculators made lots of money registering new names and reselling them. Once most of the good domain names were taken, they discovered that purchasing expired names was much more profitable. These used names already have built-in traffic and incoming links from other websites and search engines. Years worth of link building and traffic mean much more then the actual value of the domain name itself!
I have no idea who will end up with my old domain name or what they will do with it. In anticipation of what might happen, I purchased some new domain names several months before my old name expired. I got lucky or maybe it was Divine Intervention, but I found a few names even better than my original.
I created a whole new brand identity for myself including logo, website and had several months to promoted heavily. I got the word out in time so no serious branding damage occurred. It will, however, take me time to rebuild all the links and traffic to my new domain name and increase my Alexa and Google page rank.
Many told me to take my former hosting company to court, but it would cost me more than registering a new name and building a new brand identity. Plus, life is way too short and not worth the frustration of dealing with those kind of folks.
Learn from me and make sure that if you buy a domain name, you are listed as the registrant. And, make sure you renew your domain name before the registration period ends or it will expire and you can lose it forever! Never trust a hosting company or web designer to do it for you. If a hosting company or web designer ever goes out of business, it may be impossible to even contact them or ask them to transfer ownership.