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Why Not to Let Your Domain Name Expire February 3, 2011

Posted by flutebrarian in Domain Names.
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What a day. A new client of mine expressed concern that their domain name had expired and their website was down. The frantic client had become the “accidental website manager” with no information about where the domain was registered. After a whois search, I determined the DNS owner and proceeded to make some calls.

The whois record stated gloom and doom (it had expired in early December) – “Pending delete restorable” , “Registrant ID: Domain-Resale”, and “Registrant Name: Pending renewal or deletion”. What did all this mean?

I learned that after a domain name expires, the owner has a grace period of 30 days to easily reclaim and renew the domain name. Beyond that, there is a 5 or so day period when the domain name goes into a redemption period. You can still get the name back fairly easily, but it will cost you.

Well, it’s been 60 days or so since it expired. The name was deleted from the domain name administrator’s database and returned to the registrar for the whole Internet. Oh great.

Fast forward about three phone calls and visits to as many registrar’s websites. Each one seemed to get harder to navigate and the friendly toll-free numbers began to disappear like the treeline of a tall mountain.

Finally, in desperation, I returned to the original DNS administrator’s toll-free line and found a helpful soul on the other end of the line.

He gave me a couple options:

  • Pay the steep redemption fee and they would do all the legwork with the forms
  • Backorder the domain and bid on it with the hopes of getting the name back

After conversing with the tech about the pros and cons, I decided to not gamble with the client’s domain name and take the first option. He told me there were no guarantees with either option, but the former would likely take as few as 6 or 7 days while the latter would only become available when the name was formally released to the public.

In either case, the client is still going to be without their site for at least a couple more weeks.

Moral of the story: Keep track of your sites. Record where they are registered with expiration dates. If you don’t set up automatic renewals, then make sure you keep the contact person’s email address current.

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Working for Google (without leaving Ohio) December 19, 2010

Posted by flutebrarian in Librarianship, Web Design.
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For the past 17 months, my real job work week has been reduced from 40 to 30 hours due to State budgetary issues. Many viewed it as a hardship but I viewed it as an opportunity and have enjoyed every minute of it. It was like working for Google, or getting a sabbatical.

Employees at Google are encouraged to take 20% of their work week to work on personal projects. This gives the employee the freedom to explore new territories, technologies, and ideas that will ultimately help Google develop new products and keep the employees from burning out.

Academics have also had sabbaticals available to them for these very same reasons.

However, in the public library field, this is unheard of.

So, with the opportunity to have 20% of my work week free for other pursuits, I took advantage of it to hone my web design skills and officially start a side business – Flutebrarian Web Design, LLC.

I took online courses in MySQL, web form design, PHP, web analytics, and more advanced CSS. The MySQL and PHP are still rather shaky, but I have managed to set up a couple of databases and get coding in place to actually make them work over the web. And one is for my day job (Gift and Memorials database)

After 27 years as a professional librarian, it was definitely time for a sabbatical. I return to my 40-hour work week on Jan. 3 with new and expanded tools in my belt. I guess I’ll have to leave the cat at home, though.