How To Protect Your Website From Being Repossessed Or Stolen!
Grabowski shares the three most important steps you must take to protect your domain name.
Copyright © 2002
Did you know that you can lose your digital piece of real estate,
even without an eviction notice? Imagine losing everything in a
single heartbeat: your business, your brand equity, your traffic
and your source of income … Without your knowledge or consent!
That’s what happened to many unfortunate online business owners,
lately. Specifically, a stunning controversy has emerged, which
all Internet marketers and business owners should pay very close
attention to. If you own an online business, be extra careful.
VeriSign, the online security company, is now not only a domain
name registrar but also the company that runs the master domain
database of .com, .net and .org domains. It’s a responsibility once
held by Network Solutions (since acquired by Verisign) conferred
to them by ICANN. Is this monopoly a good thing? Apparently not.
If you neglect to pay your mortgage, for example, you lose your
home. But this only happens after you’ve received several “past
due” notices from the bank and still failed to make your payment
on time. (That’s OK, since your physical address never changes.)
Similarly, most domain name registrars will notify you by email
when it’s time to renew. But what happens if your email address
is wrong? What happens if your postal address has changed? What
happens if you’re on vacation away from your computer? And what
happens if you simply overlooked the notification?
If so, you’re probably out of luck.
According to Janet Kornblum in a USA TODAY article, you can lose
your “digital home” without ever getting an eviction notice. Says
Kornblum, “What if you just came home from work, one night, and
found new owners sitting in the dining room, eating your food?”
That was the case with a few business owners whose domain names,
which were registered through VeriSign, expired and were quickly
snapped up by other people, putting the original owner right out
of business in a blink of an eye! VeriSign is not the only one,
too. Some registrars fail to even send a single renewal notice!
(One lawyer became aware — when it was too late — that his URL
for his law practice website lead to a porn site. Not only did he
lose all that business and traffic, but he also had to deal with
a much bigger loss: his good name, and not just the name itself.)
If the domain name is a registered trademark, chances are greater
that the original owner can have it returned — but that does not
take into consideration the time and money required for the legal
process, as well as the potential business wasted during the wait
along with the incalculable damage caused to the company’s brand.
In other words, if you fail to act (and act fast) when renewal
time comes, it can kill your business … Almost instantly, too.
Certain web-based services offer people the ability to snatch up
expired domain names, like http://bizmint.com/ for example. These
services may appear to prey on these unsuspecting business owners
— but keep in mind that registrars are really the ones to blame.
However, such services can be used as effective tools by business
owners who wish to protect their online piece of real estate from
potential loss. In fact, services like these offer features that
can become extremely helpful in preventing online identity theft.
(Realize that identity theft is not really a “theft.” According
to Kornblum: “It’s hot. It’s legal. And if you’ve got a popular
domain name, you can be sure someone’s out there just waiting for
you drop the ball so they can snap it up and run with it.”)
Here’s a three step process to prevent online identity theft (or
to protect you from shady registrars with poor customer service):
1. Join an online service like http://bizmint.com/, and allow for
daily email alerts of expired and soon-to-expire domain names
to be sent to you the moment they arise. (Only a handful of
these subscription services offer this important feature.)
2. Create filters in your email reader that watches for specific
words, including prospective domain names as well as your own,
and immediately flags them as they arrive in your inbox. (And
note that BizMint also offers an online tracking service.)
3. And finally, renew your domains as quickly as possible. (Also,
some of these services offer members instant registration as
well as domain name transfers for existing domains. Therefore,
if your registrar’s customer service is less than desirable,
consider transferring your domain names to better a one.)
So, be sure to verify and be immediately notified well in advance
of when your domain names are about to expire. In fact, USA TODAY
reported that an average of 19,260 domain names expired every day
in the last month alone, as opposed to 1,200 just a year ago.
Is your domain name among them? If so, you’d better watch out.
Simon Grabowski is the owner of several online businesses that
serve a growing network of over 23.6 million people. He is the
owner of BizMint.com, the leader in expired and soon-to-expire
domain names. Grab a great domain name for pennies! Above all,
don’t let yours fall into your competitors’ hands! Join today
before it’s too late. Visit http://www.bizmint.com/ right now!