September, 2012

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LLOTN – web hosting #1 – my domain was stolen!

frustrated

OH NO! My domain name … it’s gone!

No, not only is it gone, but it’s been STOLEN!!

How can this happen?

Welcome to the first installment of LLOTNLessons Learned On The ‘Net

Creating and managing sites over the years has lead me to having domain names registered all over the place. Imagine my shock and horror when I went to one of MY OWN sites, to find it was gone. Listed as available for sale. WHAT? huh? How on earth ….????

I logged into the domain manager only to find that my domain name had JUST expired (like a day or two before) — and much to MY OWN FAULT, realized that the email address I had on file was one I had stopped using (and had deactivated). So, I never got the email notification that my domain was expiring. Of course, why couldn’t the provider have sent something in the mail? I mean … c’mon, they KNOW when email addresses are bouncing. They HAVE my cell number. They HAVE my address.

Oh! But WAIT! They have a ‘domain recovery’ option — yay! I’ll save it, it’s still in the ‘recovery period’ — click – click – click — keeping in mind that domain names (not hosting) generally costs anywhere from 7-20 bucks, I’m expecting nothing out of the ordinary — but then, I find .. WHAT? They want a 150 dollar ‘save fee’ … PLUS the 15 dollar domain renewal fee? Why? Is there something ‘special’ they have to do to ‘recover’ my domain? NO! I know, from experience, with other domain registrars, that there is nothing extra. I’ve had other domains expire, with other companies (123ehost.com) that domains have expired (accidentally or on purpose) and I’ve gone back (sometimes MONTHS later) and renewed for no extra fee.

So why? Why does GoDaddy charge this ‘recovery’ fee? Why? Well, because they can!

But you see — it GET’S BETTER.

I figure, FINE GoDaddy, FINE. I’ll let it get past the point of their ‘hold’ period, and re-buy my domain elsewhere. When it’s free to be available. Imagine my horror when on the VERY day it was ‘free’ — GoDaddy sold it in an auction. The buyer’s info was, of course, hidden. So I couldn’t even contact them. I honestly wondered if it wasn’t the guy I talked to to find out how to get my domain back w/o paying the fee. So, how much to buy my domain back? I can’t remember, it was so long ago, and I was so furious. I remember that I tried to contact the owner, but they never responded. GoDaddy called my domain name ‘premium’ and I *think* it was listed on their site for $1,300. It was seriously SO incredibly ridiculous, I ’bout lost my mind! My domain was TINY, nothing big, no big hits, just a small site for my soon-to-be breeding kennel.

So you know, FINE, I bought a different name — cuz there was NO NO FREAKIN way I could even consider trying to afford it. I had been out of work for over a year by then.

Fast forward a year later — I went to go visit a food blog I like to visit only to find it was ‘parked’ — after a minute or two of searching I found her new site, new name, and her fb page. Later found out the SAME THING happened to her. It made me wonder, where is my domain name now? So I went – and saw that GoDaddy had it on their ‘expired available for auction’ parked page. Oh sure, yeahhhh …. I clicked buy, and much to my ABSOLUTE AMAZEMENT — it was available for auction for the meager ELEVEN BUCKS! What? Be still my beating heart … REALLY? Turns out not ‘exactly’ 11 bucks … 11 bucks to snatch it from ‘auction’, but still 14,95 for the domain registration fee. FINE. FINE. Supposedly they say it takes up to 14 days for it to come to me from auction (ummmm … why???) — makes no sense at all.

So yeah, I see it as a tiny win … MAYBE .. I’ll really only admit win once the name is back in my greedy paws (oh, and I move it from GoDaddy back to 123ehost) — funny, I found a post back in October when I *thought* I had transferred my domain away from them, and it somehow didn’t actually go. Hmmmm

So, lesson learned?

Keep all your domain names together, same place, same registrar. And NOT GoDaddy. I think they’re thieves.

And when you transfer a domain — keep on that transfer until it’s COMPLETE. All the way. And, do it with plenty of time before it expires.

Did you Know??

Did you know that you won’t lose a dime or a minute if you transfer your domain before it expires? In the case of my soon-to-be-restored domain name — with GoDaddy I will get 1 year of registration — and when I move it (in about a month) YES, I will have to pay for another year with 123ehost — but my registration duration is CUMULATIVE. So, instead of it expiring on 9/20/2013 (or whatever day they give it to me) — it’ll expire in 2014 with my new registrar! yay!

GoDaddy.com is in the business of making money, and I believe this is their biggest way to make money. They prey on people not updating their email address, and make no other effort to contact you when they KNOW they can’t via email. Search out extra fees when you buy a domain name.

Oh, and it’s NOT WORTH IT to buy into hosting providers that give you a ‘free domain name’ — I’ll post on that later (Tip #2)

Now … I sit back .. and wait .. and hope … that my domain name really does come back to me …