There has been a lot of sports-related news in the domaining world recently, starting with the Dallas Cowboys’ failure to renew their domain DallasCowboys.com the same week their head coach was fired (full coverage of that can be found at Elliot’s Blog). I also found myself in the middle of an expired domain issue last week, after I noticed that Seimone Augustus’ official domain, Seimone33.com, had expired.
The WNBA may not get as much coverage as the NBA, but Seimone Augustus is one of the league’s superstars. She was the AP Player of the Year and Wade Trophy award winner and led her team to several NCAA appearances during her college career at LSU. She was drafted #1 overall in 2006 and went to the Minnesota Lynx, where she’s been an All-Star and member of the Olympic team.
I first became aware of her talent when I was on the faculty at LSU in Baton Rouge, where Seimone was a much-beloved hometown hero.
I happened to visit her official site last month, and noticed it was a parked page. Out of curiosity, I looked it up on DomainTools, and it said it had expired on October 7, 2010.
I used to run a website for Israeli player Shay Doron – http://shaydoron.net -so I knew Seimone’s agent at the Wasserman Media Group. I immediately wrote an email urging her to renew the domain ASAP, as it would be at risk of ending up in someone else’s hands if they waited too long.
There was no reply.
Several weeks went by, and I didn’t think about it. Then, last week, I checked again, and the name still had not been renewed. It was still registered to a member of the Augustus family, but now it was also listed as a $65 Pre-Release auction at Namejet.
I sent a second email, and this time I copied several people from the Minnesota Lynx, WMG, and the email listed in the WhoIS. Within five minutes, I got a snippy reply back from the agent saying “My apologies to everyone who was inconvenienced by this email, I am working to get this fixed right now. The website will be back up shortly, and none of the content has been lost.” There was also a “thanks” sent directly to me, but that was it.
This was November 6th, and the deadline on the Namejet backorder was November 10th. While I didn’t think there was much of a chance that anyone would have any interest in backordering the name, I couldn’t be sure, since it was a name with traffic. By November 9th, nothing had been done, and I received a call from Kimberly Augustus, Seimone’s mom.
She thanked me for my email, and after talking to Hostgator support (it was an issue with the payment info not being updated), we were able to get the domain renewed for $15. I shared with her the story of how I mistakenly let a name expire that was #1 in Google back in 2007 and that eNom wanted to charge me $1900 for it several months later.
It’s remarkable how something as important as domain expirations go overlooked, especially in an industry with as much merchandising and ad revenue as sports. All of the people I spoke to had no idea the site was offline, and the player’s agent (who I’m sure is busy with a full roster of talent, because she manages most of the league’s big name stars) didn’t seem to care about the time sensitive nature of this at ALL.
If you are a public figure or have a site that’s tied to your personal branding and that you anticipate you’ll want to keep for years, go ahead and renew it for a minimum of 5 years. Set it to “auto-renew” and make sure the billing and contact info is updated.
It can save you hundreds of dollars and peace of mind.