Sometimes, really big corporations make really dumb mistakes.
One big one: forgetting to renew your domain name. And if your domain name expires, you lose it — just about anyone can buy it. If you’re lucky, they’ll sell it back to you.
Losing your domain name can take your website down for hours or days or even weeks. It can hurt your reputation, be extremely costly, damage your brand, and even lose you customers. It’s frustrating for just about everyone.
And believe it or not, this administrative negligence happens a lot. Here are a few of our “favorite” DomainName-gates:
#6: Regions Bank
In August 2013, this FDIC insured bank (with 2,400 ATMs and 1,700 branches across a 16-state network) failed to renew their domain name. At the time, a spokesperson for the bank claimed that the site was down to due “an intermittent network issue.” Riiiight. In reality, they embarrassingly forgot to pay for their right to the domain name. (There were Network Solutions advertisements on Regions.com, and Whois.net confirmed that the domain wasn’t updated.)
#5: Dallas Cowboys
“America’s Favorite Football Team” forgot to renew their domain name in 2010. Just before, they had fired Wade Phillips, their head coach, but fans couldn’t access the site to read about the big change. Instead, DallasCowboys.com showed a picture of two boys playing futball, er, soccer.
In 1999, Microsoft — perhaps the paragon of technological savviness — forgot to renew passport.com. Thankfully for them, a good-hearted soul by the name of Michael Chaney picked up the expired domain name, sold it back to them, and auctioned the check, donating the money to charity. Damage to Microsoft’s public reputation and budget: minimum.
Good for them, right? Well, apparently, they didn’t learn their lesson. In 2003, Microsoft forgot to renew their hotmail.co.uk domain. Again, they overlooked this vital piece of administration. Many people couldn’t check their email and were exceedingly frustrated.
One of the biggest online Indian travel agency and travel search engine accidentally let their domain name expire in 2013, probably costing the company a substantial sum to reclaim it (the actual amount isn’t public). Not only that: it is rumored that the State Bank of India gave up their partnership with Yatra.com because of the domain-name scandal. Before, the Bank issued custom travel credit cards with the company. No more.
In 2014, Sony forgot to renew one of the major gaming sites, SonyOnline.net. What went wrong? Well, even though GoDaddy sends emails to the address on file, warning the owner of an upcoming expiration, the notices were sent to the wrong email address, said John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment. The site was down for multiple days.
The company forgot to renew its main domain name in 2010, leaving its users in the dark. How in the world did a company worth $80 billion forget to do such a menial task? Again, according to the folks at TechCrunch, it seems that the tech-guys at Foursquare changed email addresses (at first, their site was playfoursquare.com, but then it changed to its current address: foursquare.com). Oops!
These companies made the somewhat humorous, somewhat embarrassing, and very costly mistake of forgetting to renew their domain names. It’s a little thing — so it’s easy to overlook — but it’s important. How can you avoid the same mistake? At GHI Internet Services, we’ve seen too many companies lose one of their most valuable assets due to negligence.