The Story of Price Is Right Mini & RV Storage
aka: Let’s Talk Graphics lost domain name recovery services
In May 2017 Marilu at Price Is Right Mini & RV Storage (Price Is Right) was preparing to do month-end billing. She discovered that she no longer had access to the company email address that she had been using for years. Additionally, her company website had completely disappeared.
This was bad of course. Without access to email, Marilu was unable to send out invoices. Without a website, the ability to market her company was significantly impaired. How would potential clients find her business? In a few words, Price Is Right had lost their website; a big part of their web presence, their website address; aka the company brand, and more importantly, the immediate ability to manage their business.
The first person she called was her webmaster. The webmaster replied days later but was unable to resolve the issue. Marilu was unable to take care of business.
Then Marilu called me (Shane) at Let’s Talk Graphics. The reason was to get her website back up and running, but Marilu soon discovered that I am not just an average website developer. Within the first several days I was able to get Price Is Right back on track with their internal billing software. Within a couple weeks, I developed an entirely new website for their business.
Part of the initial conversation with Marilu was about regaining access to the company’s original website address. That website address was well-known to Google and other search engines. It was printed on marketing material — business cards and letterhead. Even the internal accounting software referenced it. To have to change everything to a new address (URL) would have been time-consuming and costly. Letting go of the original website address simply wasn’t an option, but regaining access to it would be problematic.
As is often the case, the previous webmaster sold website development, domain name registration, and hosting. Because of that, the hosting was in webmaster’s name. And because of that, the hosting plan (which included a working website), at some point, vanished. Furthermore, because of the confusion at the registrar about who owned the domain name, the hosting company and Marilu’s hands were effectively tied. Not a really great situation to be forced into.
(NOTE: It is very common for small web design shops to sell hosting. It’s a perfectly legit practice, but beware! The hosting is rarely their own. (LEARN MORE ABOUT RESELLING HOSTING AT THE END OF THIS POST)).
More calls were made. Additional research was done. The idea of filing a UDRP was floated, but given its potential cost, the idea was nixed and set aside as the “nuclear option”. When all was said and done, Price Is Right would simply have to wait for the domain to naturally expire. Once the domain name became available, they would try to buy it back before it went to public auction.
Time passed as Price Is Right played the waiting game. D-Day (D = deactivation) arrived and I started making phone calls to the registrar. It wasn’t difficult for the registrar to realize the domain name was rightfully Price Is Right Mini & RV Storage. The problem was, one doesn’t simply change the contact and ownership info of an ICANN record. Still, if you know the right questions to ask, it can be done.
A very long story made short: I worked closely with the registrar’s legal department. The registrar was able to release the domain name from its pending status and gave Price Is Right a clear path forward to recovering their domain name. It would never go to public auction. Golden! At the end of the day, I was able to help facilitate an orderly transition of the domain name back to its rightful owners.
Find Price Is Right Mini & RV Storage at:
The practice of reselling hosting
It is very common for small “boutique” web design shops to sell hosting. It’s perfectly legit, but beware of this practice! The hosting is rarely their own. They are simply reselling a product made by a different company.
A webmaster that resells hosting is a subscriber to a much larger infrastructure. For example, I could hire GoDaddy and brand their infrastructure – complete with 24×7 technical support – as my own. I‘ve never gone the hosting reseller route because it can be problematic. If I don’t pay my own bill, a client could possibly lose their website!
Reselling hosting packages is smart in a way. It brings all of a webmaster’s client accounts under one roof. This makes the webmaster more efficient. Efficiency allows a webmaster to get more done, more quickly. Shouldn’t a webmaster then be able to adjust cost downward? The answer is no, they can’t – they have to pay for their hosting reseller package. But you generally don’t know this. And, you generally don’t know their cost. In my experience, a boutique webmaster never adjusts the price of hosting to work in a client’s favor. They always add to their profit when reselling hosting.
There is one argument for host reselling that I can’t argue against. If you are a company that absolutely requires 24×7 technical support capabilities, then this type of service might be worthwhile. Being able to pick up the phone 24×7 to find out why your website isn’t working, is worthwhile.
Of course, you could hire Let’s Talk Graphics and just not have such problems. With over 30 years professional experience, I work with any registrar & hosting provider and can generally provide my own technical support.