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Don’t Forget to Renew Your Internet Domain Name Registration!

Businesses and public authorities often spend millions developing their websites, but such investments can disappear in a puff of smoke if they fail to renew registration of the domain names on which they are based. In one case, a local authority did just that and lost control of a website it had used to promote tourism in its area.

Between 2006 and 2014, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council had used the ‘visitrct.co.uk’ website to attract visitors on behalf of local businesses. However, after the deadline for the domain name’s renewal came and went, it was snapped up by a businessman and it was subsequently pointed at a business ratings website.

The council complained to Internet watchdog Nominet, accusing the businessman of using the domain name to confuse Internet surfers. In dismissing the complaint, however, Nominet found that the council had failed to prove either an exclusive right to use the domain name or any improper motive on the businessman’s part. Arguments that the domain name was an abusive registration in his hands were rejected and Nominet refused to direct its transfer to the council.