I often write about the importance of managing your domain names and caution people about what could happen should they fail to do so.
I recently witnessed a chilling example of this. Thankfully, this story has a happy ending.
Erella Ganon is a Toronto-based artist whom I have known for over a decade. She also happens to be a friend of my wife. On Friday night, my wife asked me to look into something on behalf of Erella. A few days prior, Erella had lost ownership of her domain name, erella.com, and she was very upset.
Erella had first registered erella.com in October, 2000 with domain registrar GoDaddy, and had been using it since then for her Website and email address. Her Website, located at www.erella.com, is where Erella showcases her work and promotes her services. It is her primary means of generating employment.
An artist and single mother, Erella supports her teenage daughter by doing a number of freelance creative assignments. Sadly, for many years, Erella has also been battling brain tumours. 2008 has been especially difficult for her as she’s been in and out of the hospital for seven different surgeries. The good news is that she’s on the mend.
During the last few months, in between surgeries and post-operative recovery, Erella was unable to do a lot of her normal day-to-day activities, and due to a misunderstanding, didn’t renew her domain name like she normally did. The domain expired, and 26 days later it flowed into GoDaddy’s expired domain auction, where it was bid upon and eventually acquired by a domain name speculator based in Hawaii.
Since I work at Tucows, one of the largest domain registrars in the world (and, full disclosure, a competitor of GoDaddy), I am very familiar with the domain name lifecycle and expired domain auctions. I knew that the domain speculator had broken no laws when he acquired the erella.com domain name. It expired. He bid on it. He paid for it. He now owned it.