Just the other day I clicked on the link to my website that I’ve got set up on my browser – and got the shock of my life. Instead of my sexy spaceship-and-planet header I got a picture of her (left). With MY name all over the website that wasn’t mine. It’s not a good feeling.
Yes, of course I panicked. Need you ask? My first thought was that my URL had been redirected or somehow hijacked, so I asked the first computer-savvy person I could think of on Facebook (as you do). It wasn’t until somebody said ‘but if you own the domain how can they do that?’ that the awful truth started to percolate into my fevered brain.
Like many people, I have several email accounts. The one I rarely used was the one to which the reminder notices were sent about my imminently expiring ownership. Sure enough, the domain had expired. Bummer. Expletives deleted. Well, I sure as hell wasn’t going to pay any pirate money to get my name back. I girded my loins (how do you do that?) and changed from gretavanderrol.com to gretavanderrol.net. So there. Easy peasy.
I’d have to go around to every site I belonged to that had a profile and change the link. Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Author page, Goodreads, Savvy, TRR, Smashwords, Manic Readers… who else?
Then I’d have to contact everybody who had ever hosted a blog post of mine and then I’d have to contact anybody who had a post on my site (the link back to my site wouldn’t work any longer, you see). Then I’d have to contact owners of sites where I couldn’t update the info myself and ask them to make the change.
I was lucky; an online friend told me the smarmy tart at top left is a spambot that latches onto expired domain names and that the domain name itself was probably still hanging around with the people I bought it from and would remain so for a few month. Thanks to her, I went and recovered gretavanderrol.com and I also have gretavanderrol.net.
I’ve learnt a valuable lesson.
I’m off to document my online network. I have a spreadsheet where I record email addresses and resulting page references for sites where I have done guest blogs. I shall expand that SS to include every site where I have a profile and every guest post I host.
Take a tip from me – DON’T let your domain name expire. Even for a little author’s blog like mine, the amount of work in changing is much larger than you could possibly imagine.