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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. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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