Domain name hassle
June 22, 2005 1:37 PM   Subscribe

A friend paid to have a web site designed and a domain name registered. The web page designer registered the domain in their name, not in my friends name. The domain name just expired and the designer has dropped off of the face of the earth. My friend wants to take possession of the domain. How should she go about this? Will there be a huge delay/big hassle?

My friend is willing to use the same registrar so that should avoid some of the trouble.
posted by vapidave to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Depending on the registrar, your friend may be able to just register the domain in his/her name now that is has expired. Some registrars will put a hold on newly expired domains for a limited period of time (a few days to a few weeks). If the designer does not turn up to re-register the domain name within that period of time, the name will be released to the public where it can be registered by your friend. If your friend is concerned about getting the domain name after it's released from hold, some registrars offer "backordering", which would give your friend preferred access to it once it's available.
posted by geeky at 1:54 PM on June 22, 2005

This is probably best dealt with through the registrar directly. If she has any documentation of paying the person for the site, and any other indicators that she is, indeed, the owner, she should be willing to provide those to the registrar's customer service people.

Of course, if the domain expired, just re-register it with the registrar using the new contact information. After all, this is how people 'steal' domain names all the time, and it's technically legal.
posted by odinsdream at 1:56 PM on June 22, 2005

Good luck. As I understand it, there is a time period (90 days or something...) where only the original owner can renew an expired domain. After that it is on the open market and anyone (you, or someone else wanting it...) can snatch it up. The best thing to do is to find this guy, pay him to renew it, then have him update the records to show you as the owner. Good luck.
posted by pwb503 at 1:59 PM on June 22, 2005

If this is a company site, most registrars just require that you send them something on letterhead, requesting an official change of technical and billing contact. However, this is sort of a pain, so yes on that count.
posted by CaptApollo at 2:02 PM on June 22, 2005

Thanks everyone, I'm going to proceed on all fronts and I'll mark as best answer whichever one(s) work.
Lessons learned:
Get domains in your name (duh)
Renew before renewal date
Do not use as registrar (unresponsive customer service)

Thanks Again
posted by vapidave at 2:27 PM on June 22, 2005

A similar thing happened to me a couple years ago. Lesson learned, indeed. I waited for the domain to come up for renewal, and then BAM! some scummy company snatched it up and turned in into one of those generic ad-filled "search portals."

(It was kinda funny, because it was a site for kids and for a while the new guys put up a bunch of (text-only) porn links...yeah, that pissed off a couple parents when their kids tried to go to the site. Oops.)

You can sign up for services that will notify you of changes to a domain's status/registration info and let you know when it's free to be registered again and even automatically register it to you ( offers this), but since there are so many stupid companies that scoop up previously-registered domains as soon as they become available, the automated service quite likely won't get your domain before someone else does.

Basically, try really, really hard to get this designer guy to get the domain back to you before you lose it to some jerk.

Have you tried calling the registrar for help/advice? They might be more responsive on the phone than via email.
posted by katieinshoes at 2:53 PM on June 22, 2005

"Have you tried calling the registrar for help/advice? They might be more responsive on the phone than via email.
posted by katieinshoes at 2:53 PM PST on June 22"

Unfortunately the registrar ( is in France and Je ne parle pas la langue. I just found out that a lady at my friends work does though so maybe she can give it a try give it a try or hope they speak english. I'm optimistic everyone will make an effort since money is involved.
posted by vapidave at 3:17 PM on June 22, 2005

If the person that it's registered to really has dropped off the face of the earth, you could just pay for the renewal yourself. I'm sure the registrar doesn't really care where the money is coming from. IMHO, this is preferable to letting the domain expire completely.

Also, if the domain name is a trademark, you may be able to pursue action under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy
posted by trevyn at 3:59 PM on June 22, 2005

Do not use as registrar (unresponsive customer service)

Huh? Gandi has been fantastic for me.
posted by intermod at 7:53 PM on June 22, 2005

1. Gandi has been great for me, but I have all my domains registered in my own name.

2. If the domain name is the name of a business, consider an ICANN proceeding. Of course, that can be pricey if it's just a personal domain.

3. As a prev. poster said, try just renewing it. The problem is that, IIRC, Gandi requires you to login with the "user id" of the registrant.

4. What do you mean "Disappeared"? Is he dead? If not, you ought to be able to find the SOB somewhere. He's a web designer; he can't be totally off the grid.
posted by mikewas at 5:17 AM on November 21, 2005

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