Expired domain names: there are more risks than appears

Allowing domains to lapse is ordinary: a one-time marketing operation, an amended project or simply a portfolio optimization usually justify lapsing a domain. While it is natural for companies to maintain a reasonably sized domain name portfolio, allowing a domain name to lapse can have consequences beyond what was initially imagined.

Obvious: service interruption

The most rapidly identifiable fallout of an undesired domain lapse lies in the website or email services being shut down. Domain name registrars usually alert their clients of that danger.

There are numerous examples of web services interrupted due to a domain name lapse. Tech giant Microsoft forgot to renew hotmail.co.uk years ago (read the story here). French TV operator TF1 encountered the same issue with its domain name wat.tv twice in 2009 and 2014.

Since the effects of the lapse are almost immediately visible, it is often easy to restore the domains thus getting the services back online in a timely manner.

Costly: cybersquatting

This is one of the most renown consequences of lapse. As the domain market resolves around the .com and is clearly saturated, domainers place backorders on domains which their owners do not wish to renew.

Whether the domain is used with a mirroring website or fake email addresses, the previous owner will likely wish to act to make the infringement to its brand stop. This will evidently incur much more important costs than the simple renewal of the domain.

However, it is not always possible to act against a cybersquatted domain!

Risky: data theft

Data theft is rarely foreseen by domain owners, but the risk is real. With an email address associated with the domain, the owner will open an account on third-party services, say a payment provider, a mass-mailing service or a client database hosting.

When the domain expired, the new owner will be able to recreate such email addresses, easily recover the passwords and put their hands on data that the previous owner did not think to erase.

That risk is even more important when personal or confidential data are concerned, which the new owner will be able to use as they see fit.

With over 17 years of expertise in corporate domain management, IP Twins can help you secure your brand online. Please feel free to contact us for any information.

About IP Twins

IP Twins is an ICANN-accredited domain name registrar with 15 years of experience in domain name strategy and management. We represent trademark holders in UDRP proceedings.

We deliver security certificates tailored to your needs in order to ensure the safety of visitors to your website.

IP Twins also offers anti-counterfeiting and anti-cybersquatting monitoring services. Detective, our monitoring software, identifies online counterfeits and cybersquatting. We collect evidence and remove references to counterfeits from hundreds of marketplaces, social networks and the web in general.

Should you need to complete these investigations, our team based in China can help.

Do not hesitate to contact us.