Domain Name Registrar goes out of business – Millions effected

This article is mostly for the other web designers and web publishers in the Florida area and a few of my clients who have purchased their won domain names. I will try to keep the language simple enough that non-trained people will be able to read it, but it is an intensely technical subject matter so some “tech speak” will make it’s way in.

Registryfly.com is a domain name registrar, a company people buy domain names from. It seem it was run by some very unscrupulous people who had an internal power struggle over control of the profits of the company and how they were paid. Things got so bad during this struggle they stopped doing the actual work they were being paid by their clients.

   Here’s a little video that sums up the devastating consequences of RegistryFly.com failure:

As you know, you must renew a domain name yearly, some times, you need to transfer ownership of a domain name, and sometimes you have to change the location of where a Domain name points too (the address of the server where the files that make up that web site reside – aka; nameservers).

Each of these transactions costs a little money (it can add up if you have many domains). It seems registryfly was taking the money for these transactions and not performing the transactions. Including renewals! This caused peoples domain names to expire and the web site the domain name pointed to disappear. Clients of RegistryFly.com were also unable to transfer the management of the domain name to a different company.

There is even news of even more unscrupulous activities from this company. Things like changing the information about the ownership of the domain name etc.

On March 16 of 2007, ICANN (the non-profit group in charge of all domain names and domain name registrars), announced the de-accreditation of RegisterFly. This means RegistryFly.com can’t sell, renew or transfer domains any longer. No one knows what is going to happen to the domain names they still have.

ICANN also indicated that “ICANN intends to hold a forum to discuss the reform of the Accreditation policy and process at its Lisbon meeting in a week’s time.” What will come of this meeting is uncertain but there is no doubt that ICANN needs a far larger stick to wield at future companies like RegisterFly.

ICANN just makes the rules that govern how a registrar and individuals must manage domain names, the protocols used, the technical specifications etc. They don’t monitor registrars activities and their only recourse against n unscrupulous company is de-accreditation.

How can you stop this from happening to you?

Well it’s sorta like giving a credit card to a business to pay for your purchases, you can’t really stop them from stealing that number and selling it or adding additional purchases (hotels are famous for that last one). You can however, reduce your risk by following a few , albeit complicated, steps:

  1. Research the company you register your domain name with. Try typing in “sucks” or “complaint” after their name in a search engine. Ask others in the business
  2. Do NOT purchase web hosting from the same company you purchased the domain name with.
  1. Here at Dream Designs register our clients domains through a third party rather then resell them ourselves, always have, just for this reason!
  • The reverse is true as well, don’t register your domain name through your web hosting company, most of them are just resellers and web hosting companies are highly prone to going out of business, especially the ones that offer very inexpensive hosting.
  • If you must make your official “whois” information private, use a third party that specializes in this do it, and make sure you get something on paper that says it’s yours, because they are listed as the official owner of the website with ICANN
  • Do NOT EVER let your registrar have their name one any of the whois fields
  • Make sure your whois information is accurate, as a legit company will contact you before transferring your domain name to a new owner. This helps to stop people from stealing domain names.
  • Register your domain name for more than one year at a time.
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