Your domain name is an important part of your brand and identity. Losing it could be disastrous! Yet, month over month we see people lose their domain name, either because they ignore or forget to renew them, or do not keep their contact information - especially their email address - current and up to date.
A whole new industry has been created out of lost and neglected domain names. It is now common place for an expired domain name to be snagged the moment it is released back to the 'available' pool. These poachers will grab any domain name that has a decent search engine ranking and forward it to anything from a competitors web site, to a pay per click advertising site. They are hoping to have you pay a big ransom to get your domain name back or to capitalize on the residual traffic left over by your domain name's high search engine ranking.
There are steps you can take to protect yourself from these tactics:
- Activate the 'Domain Lock' feature with your registrar. This prevents changes in contact info, DNS servers and most importantly, blocks transfer away requests that could be sent by a poacher trying to steal your domain name
- Keep your contact information, especially your email address current and up to date. Be sure to white list the domain name of your registrar so renewal and other important email notices don't get caught in your Spam filters. If you are worried about listing your email address in the public Whois database, ask your Registration provider about Whois Privacy Service
- Most registrars send out occasional Whois Confirmation emails to domain owners, giving them the opportunity to double check and correct any invalid or outdated information. Do Not ignore these emails, double check the information and correct any errors
- Be on the lookout for fraudulent renewal notices that arrive both in email and especially by regular paper mail. There are a few companies sending very officially looking paper mail renewal notices that look very much like invoices. They are not! They are carefully crafted marketing documents designed to fool an accounts payable clerk into thinking its a bill that has to be paid!
Your domain name registration provider should be more than a domain name clearing house. They should help you manage your domain name with locking and privacy solutions and most of all, help you protect your name and brand, the one you worked so hard to create. Talk to your domain name registration provider to be sure you have done everything you can to protect yourself today!
About the Author: Robert Schwartz has helped thousands secure and manage their Internet identity and is President of LaneChange.net a Total Domain Management solutions provider. Find out more at http://www.LaneChange.net