If you tuned in yesterday, you may have noticed that this blog (and my site in general) wasn’t quite right. It turns out that my domain – – expired at 9:09 a.m. EST yesterday, and by 12:43 p.m. a placeholder had been established and the domain taken by Of course, I didn’t realize this until about 8:00 when I went to go to the site and found a search engine page there, which sent me into a frenzy. I had a domain taken back in the day, and a week after it expired, it was a site dedicated to sending you to the porn site du jour.

I quickly sent a couple of emails to my host, and waited an agonizing 2.5 hours for a response (which is odd, because they usually respond within an hour). The implications of this were going through my head, resulting in more than a couple choice words in several languages. All of my links gone, the fact that I couldn’t get to my blog to backup the recent content (I could get to the database, but I’ve had less than stellar success going straight from mySQL). Then it hit me that my parent’s beachhouse site is also hosted on my domain – well, that sucks. Another reason to get them their own domain. And then the biggie hit – my email address. Not like I would have a quick and easy time giving people notice to change – it would just be GONE. I was … perturbed.

Axishost to the rescue

While I was waiting, I researched what happened so that I would know all of the details of the situation. I was still listed on WHOIS and at, but other registration sites had the owner as, which pissed me off pretty badly. What was worse was the little ‘want this domain? submit a bid!’ which would have cost me a MINIMUM of $200. Bullshit.

When they got back to me after what seemed like hours (umm, it was, I guess), I got the skinny on the situation. They weren’t sure why was showing up as a listing, and they apologized that I never got the customary 1-month, 2-week, 1-week and 48-hour notices. But they took it upon themselves to automatically renew the domain name and invoice me the $12.95 for the 1-year registration. Of course, I’m going to go back and re-register it for the maximum time, and set that reminder in my system so I won’t miss the next time.

no worries, actually

I hadn’t realized it at the time, and the problem with still worries me, but I was actually fairly well-protected. I still had my hosting account up-to-date (meaning my files, including blog, were still there). And I later learned that new rules put in place after the ridiculous domain-stealing practices of the 80’s and 90’s would have given me ample time to fix the problem. Because of people losing their domains within hours after they expired, ICANN – the governing body for domain names – changed the rules to give a user 45 days after the expiration in which their domain name is put into an Auto-Renew Grace Period, where the user can renew for the same price they could have before it expired. Even after that 45-day period, there is a further 30-day period in which your domain name may still be protected, although you will have to pay the standard rates that the registrar charges to ‘re-register’ the domain name. This process can be $10 to over $200 – whatever that registrar wants to charge. However, it will usually be less than you’ll pay some company who grabs expired domains for the soul purpose of turning them into cheap search pages or porn portals.

If you want more information on the rules, check out these articles:

ICANN – Auto-Renew Grace Period
How to Snatch an Expiring Domain – it actually has good material you can turn around to protect yourself.


3 Responses to “Domaination

  • That reminds of an email I had sent out back when I was working at Georgia Tech about my band playing our first gig. I linked to an article written about us on some MP3 website. I had inadvertenly mispelled the URL and unbeknownst to me that MP3 site sent all 404s to an incredibly nasty porn site. I sent the email out to family members, co-workers, friends, media people, etc.

    I had lots of explaining to do. It’s funny now, just now. 8 years later.

  • Yeah, I can see how that would be rather embarrassing. Luckily, I just had one of those stupid search term placeholders that tries to enter keywords based on what was on the site previously. It’s gone now, thankfully…

  • I was wondering what happened, and figured it must be something like this. A few years ago, I had a domain stolen in the way you describe above. Fortunately, I wasn’t even really using it for anything, so whomever bought it just wasted their money. I was done with the domain anyway and I’m fairly certain nobody else would want that particular domain name.

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