New Year's Resolution: Renew Your Domain Name! (And Other Best Practices for Domain Name Management)

By Doug Isenberg As The Wall Street Journal reminded us during the holidays, even big companies make easy (but damaging) mistakes online: FreshDirect failed to renew its domain name, <>.

The grocery delivery company, which the Journal said was founded in 1999 and has sales close to $400 million annually, blamed "a renewal issue with our domain name" for an outage that reportedly left customers seeing a parking page for more than a day.

The domain name has now been renewed for 10 years, a service that the company's registrar, Network Solutions, offers for only $179.90 -- a small price to pay considering the business that FreshDirect may have lost as a result of its apparent oversight.

As I've written before, many big companies, including even Microsoft, have inadvertently failed to renew their domain names.

The obvious lesson: Don't neglect your domain names. Specifically, here are a few best practices:

  • Be certain that more than one person at your company is responsible for registering and renewing domain names.
  • Confirm your "whois" domain name registration details regularly.  (The new year is certainly a good time to do so -- but, given that domain names can be registered for as little as one year, this check should be performed more frequently.)
  • Renew critical domain names for lengthy periods of time, not just year-to-year.
  • Use a reputable domain name registrar.
  • Take advantage of your registrar's auto-renewal options.
  • Be sure that the e-mail contacts for your registration are valid and don't use only addresses associated with the domain name itself.