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Start Page: Master of your domain

Kim Brand
February 13, 2013
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Kim BrandYou’re no longer getting new email. Nobody can get to your website. But you can still get to the Internet, and everything else related to technology seems to be working in your office. You only noticed something was wrong because the flood of new email messages which regularly invade your inbox seems to have abated.

Your domain name has expired.

You may ask: “What is a domain and why would I want one?” Let me assure you that you have one and you want to keep it.

Your domain name is your identity on the Internet. It’s the word which replaced your phone number, fax number, street address and nearly every other piece of branding you owned when the Internet replaced traditional marketing assets. If you have a business that depends on clients, partners, vendors, governments, friends, family and foes to communicate with you via email or web, then it may be the most valuable Internet property you own.

The system of managing rights to Internet property like domain names was once a government monopoly. That system strained under the load of the “Gold Rush” when newcomers raced to stake their claim in this new territory. The U.S. created the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to manage the system on behalf of Internet users around the globe.
start-page-tip021313.gif But that doesn’t really matter to you. Your domain name exists because you reserved it at a “registrar” like GoDaddy, Network Solutions or Register.com. These reservations usually have at least one-year terms. Essentially, you “rent” your domain name from the registrar for a period of time. In exchange for your rent, the registrar enters your name in a large list of names which may be found using Internet domain name services. (You need those too, but they are generally provided by other Internet service providers.)

What happens is many of our customers forget to pay their rent and the registrar withholds their services. When that happens, your Internet presence goes dark. This can be a very difficult problem to repair and may have dire consequences.

The typical way that your registrar communicates with you is via email. If your domain name is invalid you will no longer get email.Many companies designate employees or vendors as the contact person for their domain name administration communications. Employees leave, their email addresses change, and before you know it important information about your domain name is being sent to an email account that no longer exists and is being ignored.

We’ve seen cases where former IT vendors refused to cooperate in domain name transfers or domain name services updates. A contest over domain name ownership is a big deal.

What can be truly frustrating is when a registrar assesses a penalty for you to reclaim your domain name if allowed to lapse. We’ve seen fees in the hundreds of dollars.

But worse, if your domain name expires and it remains unregistered for a period of time, it can be released into the pool of available domain names and then “poached” by opportunists who may attempt to sell it back to you. There is a thriving market for desirable domain names that place values into the millions of dollars for some. It may be a bidding war you can’t win.

If you lack the email address or account information at your registrar to manage your domain name you will be challenged to provide evidence that the name is actually yours before you can do anything with it. Our customers are sometimes shocked to learn that they can’t simply call someone and have the changes they need made. This is a necessary protection that prevents hijackers from stealing domains and holding them hostage. (It has happened before!)

If you lose your credentials to manage your domain name you may be required to fill out forms and fax copies of electric and phone bills, driver’s license and documents related to your legal entity to your registrar to get it back. The process is time consuming – exactly what you DON’T NEED when your email and website are down and for all intents and purposes your business is apparently CLOSED to anyone on the Internet.

Don’t let me forget to mention that other forms of Internet property are just as important as your domain names and need to be managed carefully: your Twitter handle and Facebook account deserve care and attention, too!•

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Kim Brand is a technology expert and President of Computer Experts Inc. He is the inventor of FileSafe. He speaks and writes frequently on technology subjects – making them interesting and understandable. To attend a free seminar on Outlook titled: “Outlook Intervention!” contact his office: info@ComputerExpertsIndy.com or call 317-833-3000. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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