Web site name game

Oops, I lost the company's Web site. And it isn't a technical error that has stopped the site from operating, but good old-fashioned human error (so what's new). While you may be thinking 'oh dear', I suspect the company's executives will use language a little more colourful and descriptive when they realise such a critically important communication tool is out of action.

And what if the problem is simply due to administrative neglect? Yep, that's right; you forgot to renew your domain name and pay the 24-monthly fee. Red faces all round when this little pearl of information emerges amid the frantic search to find out why the site has carked it.

Yeah I know: "it won't happen to me", but apparently it does. In fact, it happens to three or four IT managers in Australia every single week, according to the non-profit, self regulatory body that administer's Australia's domain names, auDA.

Even worse, some company's go weeks before they even realise their Web site isn't operating because domain name renewal isn't exactly a top-of-mind consideration for the busy IT pro.

Chris Disspain, chief executive officer of AuDA, says companies generally nominate the name of a person to be contacted every two years for renewal. Predictably, the person nominated changes jobs, relocates and in some cases, passes away so the notice ends up in a default e-mail box. However, before removing the site, auDA sends a written notice to the company's bricks-and-mortar headquarters.

More than 400,000 organisations are registered with auDA and the organization has become accustomed to the regular "what the hell happened to our Web site" telephone call from IT execs of often-large organizations. Although domain name renewal is basically administration, it seems most companies offload this responsibility to IT not the finance department.

Disspain calls this easy-to-forget but important task 'domain name management (DNM)'. He says IT needs to inject a little DNM into their routine and get their house in order. I have to admit it's going to sound pretty lame when you explain to superiors that the Web site is down because you're not exactly DNM-savvy. But hey, there are a hundred other reasons why your Web site could shut down, this is another one to consider. E-mail me your best Web site shutdown story: Sandra_Rossi@idg.com.au

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