Having a domain name is a little bit like choosing your household electric supplier. You need one, you set it up and then forget about it, but what happens if something goes wrong, who do you contact? Maybe your web developer is on holiday? Can’t find that email from eight years ago that has all the details you needed? This is essentially the issue that a new client of mine faced recently.
For privacy sake, let’s call the client, client.com. They have had a website for the past 8 years, their domain name was bought and renewed every 4 years. However one fine Tuesday, their website and emails go down… HORROR! Panic starts and fingers get pointed.
It turns out the hosting company had been sold 3 years ago and then again a year later, and then folded. Luckily, we had a copy of the website – phew, but the time to rejoice was not over… we needed to repoint the domain name of client.com to a new server… who has access to the domain name? who set it up? Sadly, the domain was set up by an employee from the first hosting company, who was moved to the 2nd hosting company and then made redundant by the 3rd. As you can imagine, when trying to explain this to the domain registrar ‘domain.com’ (who are in the USA) this was not easy. Due to the data security/privacy at domain.com, they would ONLY speak to the person from the company who set the domain up (now closed).
Now before you get your hopes up, this story does not have a happy ending. To this day, we still do not have access to the domain name, therefore, no emails, no website. The hack workaround was to purchase a new domain name and essentially set them up from scratch.
How could this have been avoided?
Had client.com purchased the domain name, they would be able to provide all the relevant documentation to gain access.
If client.com had purchased a .uk domain name, the process of gaining access is much easier!
Since 1996, all .uk domain names, the most common .co.uk is managed by a company called Nominet, a sort of UK Police for domain names.
If you have an issue you can use their Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) with your domain registrar or web designer etc, they will step in and settle the dispute.
Now, before you all go out and purchase a
.co.uk and move away from your .com, careful planning and monitoring of your domain name can help to avoid the issues that client.com faced.
If all else fails when disputing a non .uk domain, there is an organisation out there called icann.org who provide generic information about domain dispute, however, they do not have as much power as Nominet for UK domain names.
Gary Bultitude – Karubu