Published December 16, 2010
One of Australia's largest hardware chains is reported to have lost a prime keyword domain name to supermarket giant, Woolworths. The situation is yet another reminder to registrants of the importance of keeping track of a domain portfolio.
The Herald-Sun reports Woolworths paid $33,333 for an expired domain name, hardware.com.au; which had previously been registered by rival Bunnings. While Woolworths is better known for selling groceries, the company has expanded into other areas in recent years, including petrol sales and hardware. The auction on Sunday saw spirited bidding to acquire the name.
The article says the domain name slipped from Bunnings' grasp after it apparently expired. While Australian domain name expiry processes do allow registrants some leeway in regaining control of a domain name after expiration, after the grace period the domain name is purged from the registry at a random time on the next business day and can then be acquired by another party.
Making matters more complex for a previous registrant to capture a name once it is made available again is there may be many other parties, using "drop" services, wanting to register the name as well. Drop services essentially try to grab a name on behalf of another party using automated tools as it "drops" back into the pool of names that can be registered. However, if more than one party has registered an interest in acquiring the name through that particular service, then an auction may be called - as was the case with hardware.com.au. In those situations, it can be very difficult for a small online business owner with limited financial resources to compete.
Aside from simply forgetting to renew a domain name, the most common reason for losing control of a name is having outdated administrative email contact details on the name's record. This is the email address that renewal reminders are sent to.
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