The Bluff City Police Department in Tennessee learned a valuable lesson after a speeder snatched up the domain name rights to www.bluffcitypd.com. It wasn’t that the Bluff City PD had failed to register the domain name; they’d been operating the domain name for years, rather the Bluff City PD let the ball drop when it failed to renew its registration of www.bluffcitypd.com.
This is a common problem faced by domain name owners and a common loophole exploited by cyber-squatters. Typically, a domain name will need to be renewed every year. If the domain name owner fails to renew its registration of the domain name, the registrar will usually treat the domain name as if the owner no longer wants it and will re-insert the domain name into the pool of available domain names.
This is exactly what happened to the Bluff City PD in this case. They hosted the domain name www.bluffcitypd.com on the registrar giant GoDaddy. Furthermore, it is not as if GoDaddy didn’t give ample notice to the Bluff City PD that its domain name was about to expire and required renewal if they wished to continue to hold onto the domain name. It is GoDaddy’s practice to send 5 warning emails to customers before a domain name expires; at 90, 60, 30, 15, and 5 days prior to expiration of the domain name. Also, GoDaddy sends 2 reminders after the domain name has expired; at 5 and 12 days after the domain name has expired. On top of all of this, there is an automatic renewal option, which the PD of course failed to employ; the Bluff City PD could have used this option to make sure their domain name would be automatically renewed before it ever expired.