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Australia's Prime Minister (Briefly) Loses His Domain Name

October 22, 2018

Not even Australia's Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, is immune to domain name expiry - the PM lost control of his own name last week after the registration wasn't renewed.

Someone dived in and picked up the name, then on Friday, the home page only showed an image of the PM with an option to play a song - 'Scotty Doesn't Know' by Lustra.

The issue attracted a lot of attention and at some points the new site was unavailable due to the number of curious visitors accessing it.

It's understood the new registrant of the name then attempted to transfer it back to the PM. It's likely the party would not have held on to domain name for any length of time anyway as Australian eligibility rules are reasonably strict with regard to who can register .com.au domains - and what names they can hold.

As of Sunday, the domain was redirecting to ScottMorrisonMP.com.au, which appeared to be Mr. Morrison's new official site.

Mr. Morrison was quite fortunate. If someone with more mischievous or malicious intentions grabbed the name (it was acquired via a drop catch service for the princely sum of $50), what was displaying on the PM's site could have been far more embarrassing and potentially had other serious implications.

Failure to renew a domain name is quite common and is often a result of procrastination, as multiple notifications are sent out prior to a registration renewal falling due. However, what can also occur is the contact email address on the domain name record is incorrect, leading to the registrant not receiving the renewal and expiry notifications.

Even for a period after the expiry date, the domain can still be renewed for up to 30 days. During this period the domain name is removed from the DNS, meaning the site shouldn't be accessible - this acts as a wakeup call to the registrant. The odd thing about the ScottMorrison.com.au situation is during this period, it appears the site was still active up until the domain dropped.

A situation such as this is why it's crucial for registrants to check their domain name record regularly to ensure contact details are correct. Registrants can do this by logging into their account at their registrar or a quick check can be carried out through a WHOIS search. If a registrant has forgotten which registrar manages their name, WHOIS can be used or this application.

Related: Domain Name Expiry Processes.

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