Let this be a lesson to everyone… set your domains on auto-renew. You would be surprised just how often this happens. I worked at a company where the IT department let a very high quality domain lapse and get purchased by someone else because they didn’t bother to set it to auto-renew and nobody was receiving the many email alerts of the pending loss of the domain name. I have had very high profile clients let their e-commerce domains lapse and they had no idea what happened until I contacted them. They lost nearly a week of revenue while they resolved the problem.
It wasn’t an exciting enough event when the Dallas Cowboys fired head coach Wade Phillips on Monday. When such a move happens, one of the first stops for a fanbase is a team’s official website; it’s where first press conferences and press releases are posted, as well as any (team-filtered) ancillary news. But Cowboys fans looking for new takes in the wake of the news that Phillips was gone and Jason Garrett was the new interim coach most likely went to the team’s official site and saw something like this:
(H/T to Will Brinson of CBS Sports for the screencap)
According to the Dallas Morning News, the team forgot to renew the dallascowboys.com domain, and the site was left blank. The Cowboys’ marketing arm, led by one Jerry Jones, Jr., quickly renewed the domain, but that process can take up to two days to go through, and for a website to propagate on a domain – even if it’s been there before. The site is up, but up until Tuesday morning, there were people on Twitter reporting that they could still see the “fail” page on certain browsers.
The most alarming aspect of the failure to renew a domain (especially one of this magnitude – only the NFL’s official site is a more popular league-approved portal) is the astonishing lack of attention to detail it represents. Domains can be renewed for multiple years at a time, and Network Solutions (or whoever you might establish a domain name with) generally sends multiple e-mail notices as the renewal date draws near to the person listed as the primary website contact. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it process that takes about five minutes.