Imagine, you are the entrepreneur of a successful online business and you have a fully developed website that is the backbone of your business. But one day when you log on to your website, you see advertisements and irrelevant pages. You panic and think your website has been hijacked. Panic-stricken you call your website design company and they tell you that your domain name has been registered by some other company. Your online business is finished. All the hard-work and money you had put to develop and promote the website is now void.
You are not alone. This happens each and every day with lot's of businesses. Studies show that, every day approximately twenty thousand names become available for resale as the owners didn't had the information that their domain names was up for renewal or they didn't care to update their email address and phone no. with the domain registration company or they registered the domain for a very short period and forgot. This typical habit of most of the businessmen gave birth to “domain drop catching” practice.
Domain drop catching or domain sniping, is the practice of registering an old name immediately after they expire without permission and desire of the owners. This gives a chance to outsiders to buy these domain and resell them at a premium to you or your competitors or place advertisement links on the domain.
You can easily avoid becoming a sufferer of this practice by enhancing your knowledge about how the domain registration system works and how you can protect your domain name from sniping.
Your website contains a unique IP address, which is a series of numbers. Actually, it is the address of your site with which web server recognizes your site to open it whenever requested by the users. But it is not convenient for most of people to use IP addresses to access the sites as they find it difficult to remember long series of numbers. To provide user-friendly names to the visitors, domain names are used. Domain names are unique English based names given to the websites with which people can access the websites.
You have to register a domain name to avail ownership rights. The name can be registered for a year to a maximum of ten years. Before the expiry of the registration period, the domain owner has to renew it again to keep the same name.
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) also provide some days of grace period after the expiration date of the domain to the domain owners. The grace period may vary from 0-40 days depending on the domain extension. If the owner doesn't renew their domain even during the grace period, the name is deleted by ICANN and is finally made available for everyone to register on first come first serve basis.
So, always register your domain for multiple years and if you have not done so, then renew your domain name for multiple years now. Today most of the domain registration companies provide “renewal alert” facility through email/sms/phone. So make sure you keep the email and phone no. updated with your domain provider and also make sure your domain registration company offers these facilities.