If you Steal From a Client, Don’t let your Website Domain Lapse.

By at 24 October, 2009, 1:17 pm


I’ve posted recently about the importance of branding and obtaining a domain namethat fits with your other branding efforts. However, registering your domain is just one step: you then have to insure that you keep your registration for that domain name current. If you fail to do so, someone else can purchase your domain and if you’re lucky, will sell it back to you for a reasonable price. If you’re not lucky, they will demand an exorbitant price or will use it for less than flattering purposes. Perhaps an even worse fate is to take an advanced fee from a client on the same day your license is suspended, cash the check and then advise the client they can pick up their file but make no attempt to return the fee. Then, allow your domain registration to lapse and have the client purchases it. Think about this and the possibilities it presents to someone who has a grudge. This is exactly what happened to former Illinois lawyer Michael E. Marsh.
I won’t bore you with the details but recommend that you read them for yourself as posted by the injured client on this  former lawyer’s website  .The bottom line is that former attorney Marsh allowed the registration lapse and one of the clients that he stole from then obtained that domain. The headline on the site now reads: Michael E. Marsh Cashed My Retainer Check AFTER He Was Suspended!!.
This appears to be an instance of he got what he deserved, but what about someone who doesn’t deserve this? What if someone obtains your domain and wrongfully post malicious or false information about you, your staff or your practice? There is no simple or quick resolution if the person who has now registered your domain decides to be unccoperative.
While there are procedures that have been put in place by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to deal with situations where someone takes a domain name with malicious intent, they are burdensome, slow and be expensive. Many folks just decide to get a new domain and take no other action since this is the less expensive way to resolve this problem. However, this old website may be listed on your letterhead, in email signatures, detailed on LinkedIn and other websites meaning that your old site is still out there for people to find, but now being controlled by this disgruntled party. Your best defense is to insure that you keep your domain registration current. Ideally, you register your domain for several years rather than only on an annual basis.



Categories : Branding | Hmmm! | Internet | Marketing | Public Relations | Tips and Tricks

Matthew Crider October 28, 2009

Great post. I’m aware of a similar situation happening to a lawyer in the geographical area where I practice: In the case I’m thinking of, the lawyer didn’t pay his tech person, the lawyer’s domain lapsed, and then the tech person started a campaign similar to your article.

Leave a comment