Projects RH

Domain Drama: When Your Domain Isn’t Yours

Domain Drama: When Your Domain Isn’t Yours

A dedicated team is crucial for business success. Projects RH's expertise saved our website name and email accounts. Understand when your domain isn't yours.

 A cautionary tale

Having the right team is very important for a successful business. A smart group of people at Projects RH quickly fixed an issue to avoid losing our website name and email accounts. Be sure to ask: ” is your domain NOT your domain?”.

Out of boxes

It was 4:00 on a Friday afternoon when a client rang and said I had not commented on the latest draft of their information memorandum. I went to my inbox and saw the last email received had been sent at 2:55 PM. My immediate reaction was our Internet host must have been down for maintenance and I asked the client to send a copy of the document to my private email account.  I responded to their proposed changes and my outbox was not working.  By that time clients and friends alike were texting and calling to tell me their emails to me were bouncing back. It looked unprofessional and it was a deep surprise. I checked: we paid all our subscriptions, and they were up to date. Carmenza checked the “providers” online system, and we were in credit. I then called whom I thought was our web host and there were “no problems with our account”. The reality would prove to be there was, but their systems hadn’t alerted us.

No Chatbox help, please

Back in 2017 when Carmenza Hoyos Llano formed Projects RH she used a registration company to register and host the domain name. In late 2017 I joined her. Over the years we had added several domain names to our collection, including those for clients with special projects and for divisions within Projects RH. Despite our efforts over time, we could not buy

I eventually was able to get a response from our “provider”. Their response was that we were in credit and there were no problems at their end, but they needed to check with their supplier in case the server was down. In the next 24 hours it would prove, to our surprise, that our “provider” was simply a reseller and that all the power rested with our true provider; except the reseller owned our domain name. Both the reseller and the provider where in pains to explain to me there were no issues, and I should be talking to the other party.

Saturday in Australia was still Friday in Ecuador and one of our team, Francisco, woke up to my cries for help. They called the 24-hour hotlines at both the franchisee and the true provider and got the same response – voicemail and the promise of a call back.

Time is money

Francisco first called both the franchisee and the provider but both organizations´ 24-hour help desks went to message bank, so he started talking to their respective Chatbots. Later he was able to find something had expired and the quick solution was to pay a further AUD 30 to the true provider. Francisco, called Carmenza and naturally she said yes – it was a real case of “time is money”. 

Clearly, we were now more trouble than we were worth to the franchisee, and they offered to transfer all our domains to the true provider. This required we get code numbers from each and we needed to communicate what should have been done seamlessly by secure email!

The reseller transferred our business account to the real provider but in this process, they abandoned ownership of our website and our domain appeared for sale with no notice to us!

Our Domains are not ours

Not only did we have Franciso in Ecuador, AnnaCris in Colombia, and the other members of our IT and marketing team online but fortunately Carmenza (in Sydney) was reviewing our websites when she found  was available for sale and with great presence of mind she immediately purchased it for USD 30. She followed by purchasing   We had always understood that we owned our own domain, and it was simply paying someone to host it and someone to provide an email service. We were quite surprised at the concept that someone could have bought our domain, a key communications tool to the world and the basis of our business which today is truly global.

We were equally surprised that was available as we had been told in 2017 and repeatedly thereafter it was owned by another party.

Today we now own the domains, we have appointed a new company to host them, and we are working directly with Microsoft to manage our email accounts. Francisco is now in charge of the process. Our plan is to move everything to whilst reserving for our Australian business. We will have all email centrally co-ordinated.

I promise I will never laugh for somebody who uses a Gmail account for business again. I was truly embarrassed by the idea that someone else could have bought our domain name. Even our own technical people said that this would not have happened with Gmail. 

A good team will save the day

We are exceptionally fortunate that ProjectsRH had a skilled and articulate team who could step in and deal with the problem immediately. Their willingness to work as required was critical. If we had waited a further 24 hours, we could well have lost our domain name and our email accounts. Fortunately, our team had a backup of our websites, but this would have been a little use if we had had to start again the process of tracking inquiries to a new domain name and would make our marketing activities based on the use of that domain name almost redundant.

I am sharing this story because I don’t want any of our clients or friends to go through the same experience.  The first thing to do is to check who really owns your domain names and websites.

Our key learning is having the right people as part of the team is the crucial to a successful business. The right people care and are prepared to work 24 hours a day to make things happen across time zones and for that we need to be grateful. The quality that our team displayed is what they bring to every project.


If you have any questions or +61 451 523 547.

Paul Raftery , CEO Projects RH

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