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Domain management

Yesterday one of the bigger ESPs had their domain registration lapse. This caused a whole host of problems for their customers. It was resolved when someone completely unrelated to the company paid the registration fee.

It happens. Most of us know about cases where email or domains were lost due to renewal failures. The canonical case is one person at the company handles renewals, and leaves or is off when renewal comes up. The payment is missed, the domain goes back to the registrar and everything falls apart.

This happens at big companies and it happens at small companies. This is the kind of public facing problem that should make all of us look at how our own domains are managed. A few questions to ask.

  1. What domains do we own and use? Is there a list somewhere?
  2. What department owns the domains / brand?
  3. Who maintains the registrations?
  4. When do your domains expire?
  5. Who is the backup maintainer?
  6. Who has passwords and access?
  7. Who can make changes?
  8. Are we using any domains that we don’t own?
    1. What are they?
    2. Why don’t we own them?
    3. Should we own them?
  9. Who gets emails and alerts from our registrar?
  10. Who should get emails and alerts from the registrar?

These are only some of the questions to ask. Of course, not every person inside the company needs to know all these details. But domains are critical and so some people should know. Personally? If I had “director” or higher in my title, I’d be asking these questions and more.

Domain information should be in the “hit by a bus” file. It’s too important an issue to drop if the person currently handling it is hit by a bus.

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