Managing Your Cash Flow

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Domain names: when is yours up for renewal?

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Let me set the scene for you: it’s Monday morning, you arrive at work (a little bleary-eyed, truth be told), you turn on your computer, then open up your email to find… very little.

You’re a little confused by the lack of messages pouring into your inbox but think nothing of it. Maybe you’re just not that popular today. Then you get a text message from a friend asking if you’ve been fired because messages to your account are bouncing.

You look suspiciously at your work colleagues, wondering if they’re not telling you something.

Satisfied that, no, you haven’t been sacked, you get on with your work. You check your website. It’s disappeared.

It’s now time to march over to the IT department and have a conversation that goes a little something like this:

“Good morning IT department. How goes it?”

“Switch it off, then switch it back on again.”

“Ha! IT department humour! Very funny! But seriously, it’s not my PC that’s broken; it’s my email. And my website has disappeared from the world wide interweb.”

“Oh.”

A couple of minutes later, you hear the start of a lengthy, frustrated conversation between the IT department and the company that hosts your website.

It turns out that someone has forgotten to re-register your domain name. So your website is no longer. Your email, which is connected to your website, is no longer.

Cue: panic.

This isn’t an uncommon situation. Nominet, which is the national registry for .uk domain names, did some research last year that showed 14 per cent of companies don’t renew their brand name until the day after renewal is due.

Thankfully, we got Real FD up and running eventually without too much hassle. But Nominet warns that if you’re unlucky, your online brand identity can be snapped up by someone else.

Hopefully you’re part of the 86 per cent of companies that are on the ball with regards this sort of thing. But if you wear the Head of IT hat, it might be worth making certain of it.

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