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, <freshdirect.com>.
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.