I caught a news article on ClarkstonNews.com about the website for a small city in Michigan, and the City Manager shared a valuable lesson all municipalities and businesses should heed: Set up a single email address to receive important emails, such as domain name renewals.
The domain name that is home to the website for the City of the Village of Clarkston (also known as Clarkson) expired, and apparently someone from the previous administration was listed as the registrant. As a result, the domain name expired, rendering the website unreachable since it was in pending renewal status. Fortunately, they were able to get in touch with that person, and it appears that the website is now operational again.
Had the domain name been registered to an email address that is monitored by someone from the city, it likely would have been renewed on time, and there would not have been downtime.
Many cities and businesses see quite a bit of turnover when it comes to administrators. If the domain registrant’s email address is invalid or if the person is no longer responsible for domain name renewals, the domain name could easily expire. If an administrative email address is set up for important emails, there is less of a risk of a problem, especially if more than one *trusted* person knows the account login information and password. Another lesson would be to set the domain name to auto-renew and keep a valid city credit card on file so that it continues to renew automatically.
In the case of the website for Clarkston, Michigan, it appears that they were able to renew the domain name without much of an issue. Luckily, the domain name was not sent to auction before it was able to be renewed. There are plenty of instances of municipalities and businesses who weren’t as lucky, and losing a domain name can cost thousands of dollars in rebranding and possibly considerable confusion.
This lesson is probably common sense for most people in the domain name space, but for many companies and cities, it’s an important lesson they should know,