Renew your domain name – or you might be “out of business”

My spin: The Washington Post forgot to pay the bill to renew one of its domain names. Guess what happened – one of the Washington Post’s domain names, used for email, was not renewed and allowed to expire. This shut down email for several hours until the domain was renewed.
Lesson learned? When you get your renewal notice for your domain name – pay it real fast.
Washington Post: E-mail communication to and from The Washington Post was disrupted yesterday after its Internet address was shut down because the company failed to renew its $35 annual registration.
The outage did not affect the ability of readers around the world to read the Post’s news Web site, which resides at a separate “domain,” But the newspaper’s journalists and other employees, who rely on e-mail for communication with sources, advertisers and other clients, were without it for part of the day after was shut down.
Frustrated employees, who also lost some other internal Internet-based functions, were told that renewal notices from Herndon-based Network Solutions Inc., which registers domain names, went to a “drop box” that was not monitored.
But allowing domains to expire poses greater risks for some who let them slip. Entrepreneurs are constantly trolling for unused or soon-to-expire domains that they try to snap up, often to sell to other businesses that might want them.
Software packages are available to automate the process for do-it-yourselfers. Network Solutions contracts with a company that performs the service. A domain cannot be transferred until 45 days after it expires, and prospective owners must be sure that their use of the domain name would not violate another firm’s trademarks.
(full story)