I noticed a high profile domain name hit the expiry stream recently. The domain name is owned by a pretty big company, and if it is not renewed within the next several days, it will be auctioned to the highest bidder. When I saw the domain name in auction, I started to wonder if we will see more high profile domain name expiries due to corporate layoffs and furloughs at companies throughout the world.
If companies lay off or furlough employees, they will either no longer receive corporate emails or will no longer have an interest in checking their corporate email accounts. Domain name expiration notices that are sent to furloughed staff won’t be answered. Domain names that are set to auto-renew might not get renewed if corporate credit cards on file are canceled because those key employees are no longer employed.
My guess is that we will see some valuable domain names expire. Depending on the domain registrar, these domain names will either hit the auction block or get sucked up by the registrar’s portfolio company and kept by the registrar or a related entity.
I can offer four pieces of advice for larger companies that have an IT staff handling domain names:
- Use a generic corporate email address for domain name registrations, such as firstname.lastname@example.org or IT@corporation.com. These email addresses will not get deleted if someone on the IT team is laid off or furloughed. The forwarding of the email address should be of critical importance and known by multiple team members.
- Have a corporate credit card on file at the registrar that is not associated with a specific team member in the event a team member is laid off and the corporate card is canceled.
- Ensure all domain names are on auto-renew.
- Work with a corporate domain management firm like Brandsight, CSC, or MarkMonitor to ensure corporate domain names are looked after by a team whose primary focus is domain names.
Depending on how long the economic turmoil lasts, we may end up seeing quite a few valuable domain names come up for auction.