Help, My URL Has Expired and Entered the Domain Redemption Period!
Because they had signed up to a monthly package with an SEO company, they were under the impression that the management agency would handle the renewal of their domain so they ignored the notification email.
It was not until they noticed that the website had gone down that they realised there was a problem.
Then, when they called the registrar, several phone calls left them permanently on hold on an 0845 number, whilst emails to customer services went unanswered. They were at a loss as to what to do.
Along with the domain name renewal scam issue which I have talked about before here, this goes to highlight the importance of working with a trustworthy registrar who has an 0800 helpline and an effective customer service team. Even though it was not their problem, the lovely people at TSO Host still tried to help out when I called for their advice.
But TSO Host were able to see that the url had entered what is known as the Domain Redemption Period which meant that they were unable to help and warned me that there could be expensive problems ahead for the website owner.
I needed to do a bit more research to find out more about what happens when an owner neglects to respond to a renewal notification. According to Dyn there are three phases:
The Renewal Grace Period
This lasts for 30 days after the expiry of the registered ownership phase, during which time it is still possible to renew with the existing registrar.
The Domain Redemption Period
It is highly recommended that you renew before the domain redemption period because it is now in a sort of limbo for 30-40 days (depending which service you are with) – some registrars will even remove the zone files related to the domain so any domain based emails will stop working. Worse still, once a domain enters the redemption phase. It is still possible to renew the domain but the registrar is able to charge a fee equal to 10x the cost of the regular domain renewal price.
This phase lasts for five to seven days and it is now impossible to renew the domain but it also cannot be claimed again because it has not yet returned to the public pool. At the end of the Pending Delete period, the domain will be removed from the registry and can then be bought again as a new domain name. Having said that, I would never rely on being able to reclaim your expired domain as a newbie. There is a whole industry of carpet baggers who look out for aged domains which have built up authority with Google. These are purchased quickly, populated with content of some sort and then ‘flipped’ to the highest bidder.
TSO Host were also able to see that the registrar in question actually sub-contracted their work through a larger registrar in the US – but there was no freephone number and they did not hold out much hope that the US registrar would talk to us since we were not actually their client.
As luck would have it, when the owner rang the UK registrar again, they did pick up the telephone this time and she was able to negotiate a deal with them which was cheaper than the 10x price but still a large amount in excess of what one would normally pay to register an existing domain for another year.
Keeping control of your domain renewal
So, the lessons to learn from this
- As the domain owner need to ensure that you respond to renewal notifications from your registrar – being sure that it is actually from your registrar and not a domain renewal scammer.
- Even though the management company or web designer may say that they will handle such things or if the whole issue has not been addressed, you should keep a record of when renewal is due and handle it yourself.
- Always be sure that you retain control of your domain name. Don’t ever let a third party register it in their name. This way lies the possibility of heartache as you could find yourself held to ransom over your website – especially if it is a .com address. As mentioned above, Nominet can mediate in issues relating to ownership of .co.uk sites.
And the management company who did not notice that their client’s site had gone down for over a month…?
Well, that remains to be seen.
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