I was looking through some upcoming NameJet dropping domain auctions via FreshDrop, and I noticed something that I found to be appalling. Hosting companies either dropping the ball on renewals or not doing enough to help their current or former customers with their domain name assets.
I generally do a historical Whois search for domain names I might have an interest in bidding on at auction. From this, I can see who previously owned it and try to figure out why they either didn’t find the domain name valuable enough to keep or why the domain name may have been allowed to expire.
On four consecutive searches today, I saw that the previous registrant email was a hosting company. What this means to me is that the hosting company didn’t pay the renewal bill either because they didn’t realize it needed to be renewed, their client no longer works with the company, or, probably the least likely of the bunch, the client no longer wanted the domain name.
Since these were very good domain names I searched, it’s unlikely that the client simply opted to not renew the domain name. Another unlikely thing is that the hosting company dropped the ball. I presume they manage other domain names and they would certainly get emails, so it’s unlikely they simply forgot because there would be some severe liability for that I would think.
What is likely in my opinion is that the client no longer works with the hosting company, and the hosting company didn’t feel compelled to let the client know their domain name was going to expire. They probably just didn’t feel like going through the effort of ensuring a safe transfer. Instead, since they didn’t have orders to renew the domain name, and since they wouldn’t be compensated for renewing it without those orders, they took the easy way out and just let the domain names expire.
Of course it’s the client’s job to keep tabs on its assets. However, I think it’s irresponsible or a hosting company to register a domain name on behalf of a client and keep the Whois information in the name of the company – specifically the registrant email where renewal notices are sent. If a relationship ends, the hosting company shouldn’t have to pay for a former client’s renewals, but the responsibility shouldn’t become theirs either.