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I'm worried about the possibility that sooner or later one of the many domains will lapse and I will loose it on behalf of a client.
With more and more websites doing active work on internet marketing, loosing a domain which has garnered many links and traffic streams, would be a massive blow. A huge loss of business for the client could be attributed to it, and that could mean the end of my business.
It's one thing writing some contract/agreement, but I would not want to have this mark against my reputation if it did go wrong.
What's the best approach? Are many people out there recommending to their clients that the client creates their own domain hosting accounting and manages it themselves? I think the potential problems might outweigh any revenue that domain management could bring in.
Advise new clients, especially ones that have an intention to "be in business for the next decade", that it's good policy to register/renew their web identity domain for 10 years ahead . . and then to consider "renewing/extending" the domain every year after that.
For ~$100 they can buy a good chunk of piece of mind - about 10 years worth - when it comes to the thought of losing one's brand . . by mistake.
The "10 years + 1 a year" approach is like buying an insurance policy. They buy insurance, don't they? They pay a goodly sum for it, don't they, hoping that no one will ever make a claim? So, 10 years of "domain peace of mind" - for ~$100.00 - for their crucial web identity?
Geeesh . . I oughta be in sales . . :P
.uk domain name registrations are sold for a period of two years and need to be renewed every subsequent two years. So it's not as straight forward.
I agree about the potential for things to go wrong with the autorenew service. From what I've seen, errors with email addresses and expired payment details both mean it can be a bit risky.
With just a two year period being available I'm still wondering if it's worth handling the client's domain...
managing domains and hosts comes with the job if you are a website designer. You must remember that clients are focused on their business core. Managing its domain and host is not and they will assume that you are managing it or at least checking everything is under control. In theory nothing can go wrong if you are organized. Buying a domain and host for a 10years time frame is a great policy.
Although you should write down that 3rd parties issues, problems, technical difficulties or whatever can not be attributed to you.
I remember that last year (or the year before) all my clients sites went down, and it was because my main host provider had an explosion, some of them had shopping carts and for days they didn't make any sales but I explain them and because there was a clause about 3rd parties issues. I was saved.
Good luck and I suggest to keep offering domain and host management, it is a good post-sale service, and it will expand your services portfolio.
But when it comes to hosting, I hate dealing with lots of different companies, so I do all the hosting on one service. I don't charge much for hosting so it's just as cheap to rent my space; then I bill clients annually. I tell them that if they hire another hosting service, they have to call tech support themselves when it goes down, and that's usually enough...!