As we’ve detailed in the past, domain names are not viewed as assets under ownership. This stems from the fact that when a registrant purchases a domain name, they are merely being granted the licensing rights to use the domain in question – for two years. So then, at the end of the two year period, what do registrants need to be mindful of?
First of all, it’s not uncommon for domain names to be assigned to automatically renew as the expiration date nears. This can be verified either through the user control panel available via a registrar’s website, or by contacting said registrar.
If this option is not selected, registrants will need to take on the onus to renew the domain name themselves within 90 days of its expiry. Reminder emails will often be sent out in advance, which makes it ever so important to ensure that you maintain secure and accurate account details at all times. Often, if purchasing domain names through dedicated registrars, the first term will be offered at a discount compared with the renewal rate. As such, you may want to consider your needs when selecting a registrar.
For those who don’t want to renew their domain, then disabling any auto renew feature and allowing the name to expire will automatically trigger the domain deletion process. However, this can also catch out unsuspecting registrants who wish to retain their name. In 2011, this happened to investmentproperty.com.au, when its owner forgot to renew the domain and it was later sold via our auction service for $125,000.
When Australian domains lapse, they become dormant and transition into a holding status (expired hold), whereby server updates are prohibited. The domain will be held in this pending phase for a period of 30 days, allowing the registrant an opportunity to renew the name. If the registrant fails to renew the domain in this period, it then enters a 24 hour deletion stage. During this period, the name cannot be renewed. Once the deletion stage has been processed, the domain becomes available for other parties via backorders, or the drop listings advertised daily.
In such instances where you fail to renew your domain within the allotted time, your access to recourse will be significantly limited. While there are still provisions for disputes involving trademark domains, generic words are effectively a certain loss. Not only do you run the risk of disrupting your business operations (by cutting off web traffic and email services) but you could do irreversible brand damage or even empower a competitor. The key takeaway? If your domain name means something to you, or your business, don’t let it expire!
That’s it for this occasion, stay tuned for our next educational article. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
The Netfleet Team
This post is tagged: expired domains; domain renewals; registrars; registrants