When it comes to registering domain names, most people will choose top level domains like “.com,” “.org,” and “.net”.

But there are so many other options. My domain registrar, Joker.com lists 23 other options. And there are definitely more!

Some sites have had a great time using the “.ly” domain like Letter.ly, the platform I use for my Fundraising Kick emails. Until last week, Letterly was found at http://letter.ly. Yesterday there site was inoperable. And today, I got this message:

hello letterly authors,

last week, the agency that we used to register the letter.ly domain was taken down as a side effect of the war in libya (.ly is the libyan top level domain). our domain registration expired, and we were unable to renew it. as the expiration propagated, the site appeared to be dead and emails sent to your subscribers probably bounced.

What a nightmare! For them and for their customers. (I certainly was scrambling to figure out how to get this week’s email out to my paying customers!)

Fortunately, they are now letterly.net. But now we have to go and find all the links using the old domain name and fix them!

Moral of the story?

  1. Take care when choosing your organization’s domain name.

    The ones with fun endings are often country domains like the USA’s “.us”, “.to” for the island kingdom of Tonga, and “.tv” for the islands of Tuvalu. You might want to think twice before using them as your main domain. For example, I use MarcPitman.tv as a site for my TV and video appearances but not for my primary sites. Those are still FundraisingCoach.com and MarcPitman.com.

  2. Figure out a communication plan

    Letterly really dropped the ball here. Many of us were left hanging. They just went dark. Not a great way to inspire confidence in Letterly customers. It would be wise to have said, “Hey, the war in Libya affected our service. We know the site is down and we’re working 24/7 on a solution. We’ll let you know as soon as we get it back up and running!”

  3. Back up everything

    Fortunately, Letterly.net was able to register as a .net and none of my information is lost. It was a stressful few days, but it’s nice to have it up and working. And if you host services on sites like these, you should back up regularly too. I can download the emails of Fundraising Kick subscribers…but I hadn’t for a month. So recreating it wasn’t easy this morning!

There are a lot of fun domain names available. If you’re going to go for a non-traditional ending, it would behoove you to find out what country it represents!

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