Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Website Woes

Okay. So maybe this isn't a common problem. And maybe this isn't even something that you, reader, can even relate to. But this is a true story about something I'm dealing with right now...

The short version is simple (which is all I will give you, unless you ask for the gruesome details):

I forgot to pay the domain name renewal fee on one of my websites, and the name got purchased by another party. This other party is now, essentially, trying to con me in to paying a very high price to buy the name back.

I know this all probably sounds very abstract; but, in a nutshell (if you're not familiar with this sort of stuff), you can buy website names just like you would buy real estate. If the demand for a certain lot is high, the seller can ask for more money. The same is true for websites. And, just like with real estate, people can (and *are*) investing in the domain business - buying domains they have no intentions of using, and selling them for more money than they paid for them.

Is it a scam? Well, maybe only because it's happening to me. I made an honest mistake in not renewing the domain name. The company that I use to renew names with is notorious for sending unmanageable quantities of emails to its users, and I just assumed that the several emails I deleted from them were just loaded with advertisements and junk I didn't need to read. Unfortunately for me, they were trying to tell me that they were putting my domain name back on the market.

Though I should have read those emails, I do have one more very good excuse: I have three credit cards on file with my domain name renewal company, it is difficult, using their website, to navigate to the "my account" credit card info section, and once there, users can't even delete old credit cards that don't work any more! Furthermore, I received a letter in the mail from the company that simply said "your domain will renew on 11/22/2008" - with no information about payment method. And finally, I have used two credit cards to pay for domains, but the company chose to use a third card - one that I haven't even used with the company since 2007! My most recently used credit card should have been used to make the purchase.

Alrighty, folks. Let's here your thoughts. Is this whole thing my fault?

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