Domain Responsibility

Another site that I look at often had a complaint from a reader about losing their domain name when it expired and wasn’t renewed. The reader said that they didn’t get the renewal notices, the automatic renewal didn’t work, and they had to pay quite a bit of money to get it back.

When a domain expires, it reverts back to the registrar (in this case GoDaddy, but this is common practice). The registrar can then do what they want with the domain name, often making it available for anyone else at a premium cost. If the original owner wants to get it back, it will cost much more than the original domain cost. Again, all of this is common practice among just about any domain registrar.

The owner claimed that GoDaddy didn’t notify them of the expiration. The Security Dawg has just about all of our domains registered through GoDaddy. That puts me on their mailing list. I get several emails a month from GoDaddy about their latest promotions, in addition to renewal notices.

I am the owner of record for those domains. You are required to have a valid email address (and other contact information) for all domains you own. And, once a year (or more often), you will get a notice from the domain registrar about verifying your contact information.

The reader claimed that they didn’t get any of those notices. I find that difficult to believe, when I get multiple emails a month from GoDaddy. I suspect that those notification emails were either ignored, or got routed to the person’s spam folder.

The reader claimed that they had the domain set up for auto-renewal, using an on-file credit card. If the renewal didn’t work, as when the credit card expired or was invalid, the registrar would have sent emails about that. That has happened to me: I have let a few domain names purposely expire, and I get multiple notices for renewal along with notices about expiration.

So the reader was quite incensed when they realized their web site with that domain name was no longer working. No more email (all email went through the same domain name). And then they had to pay a big premium to get the domain back.

They thought that was quite unfair.

The Security Dawg disagrees. If you are the owner a domain name (for any reason), then you have a responsbility to protect that domain name.

  • You need to make sure that all contact information is proper for the domain name
  • You need to make sure that the email addresses associated with that domain name work properly.
  • You need to ensure that the billing information (credit card number) is current.
  • You need to ensure that you get emails from the registrar – that they don’t get into your spam folder.

If the domain name is important to your business or for personal use, then you have a responsibility to ensure that you properly manage that domain name. This applies to domain name registrars, web site hosting companies, your web site code (do you have backup copies of your web site?) the whole works.

If you fail to be responsible, then you can’t complain when your domain name goes away.

The domain name belongs to you (and maybe your business). Treat it like any other valuable asset.

If you own or manage a domain, you might consider verifying that all your contact information is current. And keep an eye on expiration dates. This applies to web site hosting. And backups – you should be able to reconstruct your web site if something goes wrong (that’s another post).

We’re Mobile Friendly

Google is implementing a search ranking protocol this week that will penalize web sites that are not mobile-friendly. If a site is not ‘responsive’ (able to adjust to varying screen widths and devices to keep the screen readable), then it’s search results ranking will be demoted in favor of responsive site.

The Google have been warning about this for a couple of months, and have provided guidance to web developer dweebs on how to make sites responsive.

This page https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ will allow anyone to test the responsiveness of any site. And the page also provides the guidance and information on how to make a responsive site.

But many sites might see their search rankings (and therefore traffic to their site) get demoted for visitors using a mobile device for searching. Note that a desktop search will not result in affected ranking, although I suspect in the future.

I do a lot of web sites. This site passed the test: it shows that the page is “mobile-friendly”

But anyone that has a web site that relies on search traffic (and revenue) will see reduced search visitors because of this new ranking algorithm for mobile searches. They will need to scramble to get into a responsive mode.

Two New Web Sites

I’ve finished two new web sites, and continue with updates on a few more. I am also working on a WordPress plugin to prevent spam-bots from abusing comment forms. That one is a bit more tricky, but useful knowledge.

The two new sites are WordPress-based.

John D Brown Author Site : this is the author’s official site. I found his site when I read his book “Bad Penny”. It is a thriller, with a “Jack Reacher” type character. I enjoyed it, and went to his web site to see if there were other books in a similar vein. While on his web site, I emailed him to suggest a few design changes for his site. And ended up doing a customized rewrite of his site into a ‘responsive’ site that looks good on any device – laptop, phone, desktop, etc. Along the way I increased my WordPress customization expertise, creating changes in a child theme plus adding additional customized functionality. He and I were pleased with the results. And it let him concentrate on writing the next book with the same character as “Bad Penny”.

The Hot Box Grills site is an e-commerce site that sells a nice tailgate/picnic portable grill. Well made and sturdy, and works quite well as a portable grill, according to his satisfied customers. His previous e-commerce site wasn’t working well, and was hard to manage. The new place has a responsive theme, and I am working on his SEO stuff. If you are looking for a great portable BBQ grill for picnics, camping, or sporting events, check it out.

Web Sites

With all my extra time (now that I am retired), I have been working on various web sites. Most (if not all) of the web sites are for my own amusement, but there are a couple that are more widely read. (You could count the readers of my personal blogs – or visitors to my web sites – on the thumbs of one hand.)

I helped Dr. Jerry Pournelle launch a reboot of Chaos Manor Reviews (at www.chaosmanorreviews.com). This is a continuation of the computing columns that he started at the now-defunct Byte magazine back in the 1970’s. I have enjoyed reading them over the years (yes, I am that old), and rebooting the columns into a new format was fun.

I also maintain his “View from Chaos Manor” site at www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor . Both are WordPress sites, with a minor bit of customization.

I have been increasing my knowledge of WordPress theme styling with a relaunch of the “FoodieFeeds” site (at www.foodiefeeds.com). This takes RSS feeds from enrolled food blog sites, and displays excerpts of their content. I only grab the first 50-odd words from the site (along with one picture, if available), and then link back to the food blog site. The site uses the ‘masonry’ design, which is similar to what Pintrest uses, and I think it looks much nicer than the previous incarnation of the site.

The FoodieFeeds site is using a ‘child theme’, which allows me to more easily customize a theme. This is turning out to be a good thing to do on my various web sites.

I also have another site that amuses (only, apparently) me. It got a redesign also, just in time for the fall/Halloween season. It contains rules that you will need to know during the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse. The site is “Rules for Zombies” at www.rulesforzombies.com .I am amused by the content, and also the blood-splattered design.

I am also working on an update to the Form Spammer Trap (at www.formspammertrap.com), which is a form spammer bot-blocking technique that I have developed. I think it is quite successful in blocking form spam content. (It is implemented on this site.) Wherever I have put it, the form spam stops immediately.

I also modified the commenting system of the Chaos Manor Reviews site to include that Form Spammer Trap functionality. I plan on figuring out how to implement that as a WordPress plugin.

So, I am kept easily amused by the various web sites I have. Along with changes to my personal lifestyle (no, not that) due to my recent Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis. You can read all about that on my personal blog site at the Digital Choke site here http://digitalchoke.com/digitalchokeblog/ .