Your business relies on any number of service providers. You’re likely contracting for domain names, website hosting, data backup, software licenses, to name just a few. And that’s only your online presence! So, when a renewal notice comes in, you might just forward it on or file it away for future reference. Here’s what you should be doing instead.
First, when you get a renewal notice, you should confirm that it’s legitimate. This is especially true of domain names. Your business’s domain name and expiration date are publicly available. Anyone could look them up and send you an invoice. Scammers do. They monitor expiring domain names and then send out emails or convincing physical notices telling you it’s time to renew. They are not doing this as a civic service!
Instead, they will be trying to get you to switch your domain services to a competitor or, worse, hoping you’ll pay your renewal fee to their account, which has no connection to your domain.
- Look out for the following indicators that the notice is a fraud:
- The price is much more than you’d expect.
- The deadline is within seven days.
- You don’t know the business name.
- This business has never contacted you before.
- The notice requires you to send a check.
Handling Authentic Renewal Notices
Once you’ve determined the authenticity of the renewal notice, you’ll want to take stock. Putting your licenses or other online services on auto-renewal plans can be easier, but it may not be cost effective. Before re-upping your plan consider:
- Are you still using this service?
- Do you really still need it?
- Do your current needs meet your current plan?
- Should you upgrade or downsize?
You might also contact your provider directly and ask:
- Is there a better product available now?
- Are you eligible for a loyalty discount?
The company you’re dealing with wants to keep your business (hence, the renewal notice). That can give you some leverage in negotiating what you are paying or what service you are getting. You could treat an annual renewal notice as an opportunity to renegotiate terms. It’s not always going to work, but it can be worth a phone call as you try to keep business expenses under control.
Finally, you should pay attention to any deadlines on the renewal notification. Some are sent months in advance. That seems so helpful, but if you put it away to deal with later, before you know it you’ve missed an important date and the service is stopped.
You should always get a renewal notice for something like a domain name. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires companies to send reminders approximately one month and one week before your domain name expires.
Don’t leave your renewal to the last minute. With expired domain names, for instance, you can lose your website! Options and fees for renewing domain names, including expired ones, are going to vary, so be sure you know what your subscription involves.
Also, there are bad actors out there who monitor domain expirations to buy them up at bargain prices. Then, when you notice the subscription has lapsed, you have to pay a king’s ransom to get the Web address back. Yes, it can happen to you. In fact, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) handled a record 3,074 cybersquatting disputes last year.