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Did you forget your own name?

Written By: Gary King

(Note to editor: Thanks for taking the time to review this!)

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This article may be freely distributed provided the author bio is included in its entirety.
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Did you forget your own name?

Now before you go reaching for your identification to check who you are, let me reassure you Im talking about your domain name.

Forgetting to renew a domain name can result in HUGE headaches, including paying additional fees or even having a competitor or domain name reseller grab your prized domain name.

Depending on their goals, they may use your old domain name for their site, they may agree to sell it back to you at an exorbitant price, or they may even completely refuse to sell the name back to you, essentially holding it hostage.

Sure, there may be legal action you can take if you have trademarks in place, but that takes time- and during all this time, your site and your e-mail are down!

So, how do we avoid all of this in the first place? Roll up your sleeves and lets get started, shall we?

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#1. First, lets check!
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Crank up your favorite web browser and visit the web site of the registrar for your domain name, or just choose one from the list below. These are just a few of the registrars I could think of, not an inclusive list, and are simply in alphabetical order.

Dotster:
https://secure.registerapi.com/services/whois.php

GoDaddy:
https://registrar.godaddy.com/whois.asp

Network Solutions: http://www.networksolutions.com/en_US/whois/index.jhtml

Register.com
http://www.register.com/whois_lookup.cgi

Once there, follow the prompts to perform a whois search for your domain name.

Verify the expiration date for your domain name, and put a reminder on your calendar (RIGHT NOW) to renew it at least 30 days prior to the date given for the current expiration.

If you are already within that 30 day window, renew your domain name while you are thinking of it. Go ahead, Ill wait.

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#2. The expiration process
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All is not lost if your domain name has expired. There is a period of time after its expiration that you can still reclaim your prized possession.

Heres how it works.

On the date that a domain expires, the registrar removes it from the root servers (the list of domains currently registered globally); therefore, any web sites or e-mail associated with the domain name will begin to stop working.

At this point, the domain has entered a 30 day period called the Redemption Period. The redemption period is a grace period that allows you to re-register your domain name in the event that you simply overlooked the expiration date, didnt receive the expiration notice, etc.

You may contact your registrar during this period to renew your domain, but will nearly always have to pay an additional fee in order to retrieve your domain name from redemption.

The amount of the redemption fee could be an additional $50 – $90 (US), but each registrar sets their own fees for this service, some higher, some lower. Whatever the amount, it is in addition to your renewal fees.

After the 30 day redemption period, the domain enters a phase called Pending Deletion, which is approximately 5 days in length. During this phase, the domain is essentially frozen. It can not be retrieved by the original registrant and it can not be registered by another party.

At the end of this phase (which in practice may not be a full 5 days) the domain is once again available to the first applicant that requests to register it.

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#3. Dont count on it
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If your domain name expires, dont assume that you can simply re-register the name again once it becomes available, thereby saving the redemption fees.

Even if it is a little known name, there are literally thousands of companies and individuals that may grab your expired domain the second its available, preventing you from re-registering it.

Companies that offer to send targeted visitor traffic to your web site often do so by purchasing other expired domain names.

Companies that resell domain names may snag your expired domain in hopes of selling it back to you at a premium or selling it to another party.

Someone else may have just really wanted the domain name you had and placed a back-order for it (a request to purchase if the name becomes available).

Most organizations and individuals that purchase expired domains do so using automated software, and therefore have a much higher likelihood of obtaining the name than an individual attempting to monitor availability by hand.

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#4. Summary
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Each registrar has their own policies regarding expired domains; therefore, the time you have to rescue your domain from the hands of others may differ from the schedule above. Check your domain name now, and keep a reminder to renew it. That way, you can avoid the potential issues and additional costs of an expired domain all together.

Happy Site Building,

Gary King
http://www.siteblueprint.com

About the Author

Gary King juggles many endeavors, one of which provides easy to use tools for webmasters of all levels, including web, flash, powerpoint and corporate logo templates at http://www.siteblueprint.com

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