$3m cost when forgetting to re-register your domain.

Every couple of years I get a bunch of emails from my ISP. These are reminding me that my domain name is about to expire and that if I don’t contact them, they will renew it automatically. Auto-renewal, of course, is free service, but the renewal costs money. This regular refresh keeps the 1310nm.net domain visible on the internet and a viable platform for this blog.

Sophos reports in their NakedSecurity blog that not renewing their domain name cost Sorrenson a $3mn fine from the FCC.

What did Sorenson do that was so important that they received this scale of fine from the FCC? Sorenson provides video relay services to deaf, hard of hearing and speech disabled people.

VRS providers must comply with the Communications Act and FCC rules, which require that services be able at all times to handle any type of call normally provided by carriers, including 911 calls. In 2016, Sorenson failed to renew its domain name, and on June 6, 2016, Sorenson’s website’s domain registration was deactivated. As a result, consumers’ calls made through this domain failed to connect, resulting in a service outage. Service was not fully restored until June 8. The Commission’s investigation found the outage was preventable. – FCC, Sorenson reach settlement following outage of Video Relay Services

As the Video Relay Service was not available, Sorenson has to reimburse the FCC for some of the grant they receive to provide these services. The reimbursement amounts to $2.7mn of the overall cost, the rest being a $252,000 penalty.

Before your next domain renewal, make sure your calendar has a reminder. Put the reminder a month or so before the actual renewal, as it may also pay to check other providers. This allows you time to migrate if you choose to move.

NakedSecurity points out the other well-known companies have also had challenges with their domains, including Microsoft, Google, Foursquare, Heinz and the Dallas Cowboys. And anytime you relinquish control of your domain someone else could get hold of it.

You might not get a $3mn fine, but you will have a headache.