What you need to know about domain name renewals

Buying domainsI’ve been messing about with websites both professionally and for fun for over 17 years. In that time I’ve registered many domain names including lots with the .co.uk extension. Until fairly recently i.e. 1st May 2012, the rules were that .co.uk registrations and renewals had a minimum registration period of two years. From that date however, they can now be registered for one year at a time instead of a minimum two years. That’s fine except that single year renewals apparently incur a registry surcharge, which is only slightly less than adding the second year.

The obvious conclusion is that a single year renewal is not very cost effective (unless you definitely only want to keep the domain for one year).

My domain registrar charges a mere £2.79 per year for a .co.uk registration.

I don’t want to renew for just one year (especially if there’s a surcharge) so imagine my surprise when a couple of domains auto renewed for one year at £4.99 each, which is £2.79 plus a £2.20 surcharge. The annoyance was that every previous auto renewal had been the (now defunct) statutory two years.

I contacted my registrar, Domain Monster, to query their logic. Initial reactions were not good and they claimed that once the domain names were renewed they couldn’t do anything about it. However, after a follow-up email from me expressing my disappointment but praising their previous customer service, they re-considered.

Domain Monster stated that it is their standard policy in all Domainmonster.com accounts to set the default auto renewal term to the least expensive option. In most cases, this is a reasonable approach but DM agreed that in this case it was not the most cost effective way to renew the domains. As a consequence DM agreed to revert the renewals and the domains were renewed for a two year period at the standard rates. Result.

It is to Domain Monster’s credit that they not only understood the sense of the argument but they also acted upon it immediately within the working day. Experience has taught me that this sort of efficient and helpful level of customer service is a rarity.

For any domain registrar that you may use, make sure that your auto renewals are set to two years for all domains ending in .uk including co.uk, me.uk and org.uk, if you want to avoid paying a surcharge. Also make sure that you check for inflated renewal prices when buying cheap domains and the policy for transferring to another provider. On both these counts Domain Monster are excellent.

Domain Monster provides a full range of services for domain registration and management and remains my favourite domain registrar. Their prices are very competitive and their customer service is outstanding. Their website claims to offer “the best support in the industry” and I don’t disagree. I highly recommend them (and I’ve tried quite a few other providers over the years).

Domain Name Registration

HMRC Gateway Filing Trojan

Today I received an email which appeared to come from the HMRC Gateway with the email address gateway.confirmation@gateway.gov.uk.

The message states:

The submission for reference 485/GB9807963 was successfully received and was not processed.

Check attached copy for more information.

This is an automatically generated email. Please do not reply as the email address is not monitored for received mail.

and it includes a zipped file attachment.

This is a concern for those of us that use the HMRC Gateway for filing our annual tax return but although the email may look genuine be aware that this is a scam, it’s not from HMRC at all and the attachment contains a Trojan that will harm your computer if opened.

I use Norton Internet Security Suite which caught the email and junked it. If your security didn’t catch it delete the message and buy Norton.

Norton Internet Security Suite

35 million ‘sort of’ free images from Getty Images

Finding the right image to include in your website just became a lot easier and without the fear of infringing copyright. Getty Images, the world’s largest photographic agency has made 35 million of its images free to use (with caveats). Users will be allowed to embed images onto their site for free.

2014-03-12_163016The catch for users is that Getty Images may collect data from your website on which images are popular and push adverts to it through the viewer. The Getty Images terms of use state:

Embedded Viewer
Where enabled, you may embed Getty Images Content on a website, blog or social media platform using the embedded viewer (the “Embedded Viewer”). Not all Getty Images Content will be available for embedded use, and availability may change without notice. Getty Images reserves the right in its sole discretion to remove Getty Images Content from the Embedded Viewer. Upon request, you agree to take prompt action to stop using the Embedded Viewer and/or Getty Images Content. You may only use embedded Getty Images Content for editorial purposes (meaning relating to events that are newsworthy or of public interest). Embedded Getty Images Content may not be used: (a) for any commercial purpose (for example, in advertising, promotions or merchandising) or to suggest endorsement or sponsorship; (b) in violation of any stated restriction; (c) in a defamatory, pornographic or otherwise unlawful manner; or (d) outside of the context of the Embedded Viewer.

“Getty Images (or third parties acting on its behalf) may collect data related to use of the Embedded Viewer and embedded Getty Images Content, and reserves the right to place advertisements in the Embedded Viewer or otherwise monetise its use without any compensation to you.”

Anyway, here’s a cute rubber duck picture from Getty as an example.