Being online for business is so important, ensure you secure your online identity and have it under your control. This is more crucial than ever now that so many people are searching online.

Once you secure your online identity with the right domain name, ensuring you don’t lose it (even accidentally) is the next challenge. Over many years, I have seen numerous domain names lost by people, in fact there is a whole industry and marketplace for expired and lost domain names.

 

First In, First Served

For all .au domain names, one organisation (‘.au Domain Administration’ [auDA]) manages all registrations in Australia. To be eligible for your domain name, you are required to either have an exact match for an ABN/ACN Business Name or have a close and substantial relationship with what your business does in relation to the domain name. The ‘relationship’ test is quite broad, but it can cover products or services you offer, or even something that reasonably associates the domain name with it’s use.

The domain name policy also sets out that domain names are provided on a first come, first served basis.

Beware of this most important fact.
When you register a domain name, you do not “own” the domain name but have a license to use it for a specified period (for .au domains it is 2 years). Your license can be revoked when an instance of trademark infringement occurs, and you are challenged by the trademark owner.

Make sure the domain is yours

For all .au domain names you can check the owner (Registrant) online. Visit http://whois.ausregistry.com.au and enter your domain name.

The key information is:

Registrant and Registrant ID – you need to ensure the ID is YOUR ABN or ACN. Only when a domain has expired, or a ‘Change of Registrant’ process is completed, can these details change.
If this is not correct, you need to take action asap.

Registrant Contact Email – any reminders to renew your domain name, requests for the domain password, are usually sent to this email address. Ensure this is an email you access regularly, and if you change email address, ensure you update this information also.

On numerous occasions I have saved a domain name owner, when they have lost control of their website. The most important step is usually to ensure they have access to the Registrant Contact Email.

Do not trust anyone else with your domain name!! I have heard numerous stories where a business has entrusted everything to their web company, only for the company to forget to re-register the domain name or have it in their own name, and then it is lost to someone else. If your domain name expires, and someone in the Domain Selling Industry re-registers it, be prepared that you will pay a LOT more than just a standard renewal amount – it will likely cost hundreds of dollars or more to get it back, and during this time your website and email will remain offline.

Don’t let it Expire

It is quite common to receive multiple reminders when a domain name is about to expire. From 3 months before the expiry date you can expect to see a reminder notice(s) for your domain name, which will include the date it will expire. When the domain name does expire, there is a grace period in which you can still re-register the domain name, but as I outlined above, once the grace period concludes it is available for anyone else to register. Some companies exist purely to catch domain names and resell them, often back to those organisations who had them previously.

Need some help or advice?

Over many years ‘The Web Expert’ has helped businesses get online, and on numerous occassions helped get lost websites back online.

If you need some help, or advice, get in touch.

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