An example of why you shouldn’t register “pseudo” domain names.
Last year CentralNic announced it was closing down certain third level domain names that it allowed people to register. It sold these domains similar to how you can buy second level domains such as something.com.
This means that people who operate sites on these domains will be forced to change their web address and email. I recently heard from one such “victim”, who explained the burden this is putting on his company. He just found out about the cancellation of .gb.com domains.
Roger Carr of RadarGB had this to say earlier this month:
The main issue is that we are a small business and we don’t have a lot of time for administration, trying to keep that to the minimum!
I was quite surprised to hear from my service provider that the “Sunsetting” would be in less than three months time. I called up CentralNic to see what could be done, or to get the full story and whilst on their website I noticed the comments section stated that the deadline for the closure of .gb.com domains was ‘extended’ to April 2017 – and that the post dealing with the sunsetting of the domain names was dated to May of 2016. So as I’d paid for my yearly hosting in June 2016 and for the next year of my domain in August or September of last year, I was amazed that I had not been informed earlier. I got back to my provider, who say they only heard for definite this week!
This does not leave much time to contact all of our clients, potential clients and past contacts – most (around the world) who only know us through our email address!
We are a product design consultancy and we do the vast majority of our work ‘remotely’ nowadays, we have international clients that are very successful with several of our products that we designed for them and we have never visited their facilities and we’ve only met the people once a year at a trade show. So everything is done through email correspondence and data transfer.
We do not have a large marketing spend, or rely on our website for business, it is simply there to direct interested parties towards, however many of our contacts do not need us for years, but simply get back in touch through email, or send emails introducing us to new contacts and that is probably our major method of making contacts and getting to know people. Having to switch to a new email address in less than three months is a very large inconvenience.
We have had the .gb.com address since 2001 (at least) and it is the main contact for us to the outside world, our main source of identity. In the last few years we even stopped putting a physical postal address onto our business cards, as this was in the belief that we would not need to reconfigure these, as we did when we changed physical address a couple of years ago.
We do not use our website as a major tool for marketing, or business per se, it is there as a useful resource, but as our company name is Radar GB and as the radar.gb.com domain was available, this was always ideal for us and meant that any potential contacts could find us fairly easily.
So the major problem in having less than three months for the changeover is that we are going to have to waste an awful lot of time and effort making the physical changes (all those accounts, subscriptions, banking details, credit cards, insurance premiums, phone accounts, computer details, company log ins, iTunes, software subscriptions, web filing, tax, HMRC, (both business and personal) will all have to be dealt with – ) it is not simply a matter of changing a couple of emails and then printing a new business card – so much of the detail of everyday life has gotten irretrievably tied in with the email address that the time allowed for this change over – whilst still operating a business in the busiest part of our year, is a pure headache.
The annoying part is that we could have done with the ‘year’ that this has been under consideration as an ideal time for us to make the change – I’ve been handing out email cards non-stop since last June – July and October when we go to two large international trade shows and make a lot of our new contacts and catch up with old contacts, (many who move about within their market, but return to us for work) – one show which is biannual as well. So to manage all of this ‘goodwill’ and contact list, over such a short period with the usual day to day continuing is a big problem. Missing out on one potential job could be a huge issue for us, apart from the headache of making sure all of the day-to-day services are contacted……It’s like moving physical address, except that that is always planned – and you can return to pick up mail!
The annoying factor is that no one is accepting any responsibility and everyone assumes that the timescales given are ‘out of their control’ and there is no help available to compensate the time and effort needed to get up and running. Yes, CentalNic are offering an alternative domain, but I already have one of those (for how long that will last now is anyone’s guess?) What would have been better is compensation to allow two sites to be run together to give a seamless transition …But as the servers are rented out through the ‘provider’ that is not even possible.
The last question is what happens to the ‘sunsetted’ domains? Will they be available again any time? Can they be reregistered by another body? – And if so how can I be guaranteed that I could repurchase my original domain that quite frankly has sixteen plus years of our business reputation and goodwill instilled into it, for which we are getting no compensation – in the same way as in which we would if we were to sell the business, trading and goodwill.
So how can a business be treated so shoddily in this instance, when the real value of the domain is the years of work that have gone into and through it?
That is my final question – OK it’s registered, but how can it just be ‘shut down’ with no reference to the current users/owners, who have put a lot of themselves into it.
As a postscript, Roger decided to go with the domain Radar.design. He told me the new address has been a hit with clients so far, “however I have found some websites aren’t too well set up for it, so there already has been a bit of phoning up to clarify that it IS correct!”