We’ve spotted a couple of domain name stories in the last couple of days, both of which contain some salutory lessons for website owners and anyone who’s ever bought stuff online.

GMTV website disappears

Regular readers will be aware that every now and then we stumble across a story of a high-profile brand or company losing control of their domain name expiring. This generally results in a well know website going offline for a bit. It’s previously happened to Emirates and Comcast.

This time, The Register is reporting that the GMTV website was briefly replaced yesterday by a page containing links to other websites. It looks like this happened because the domain name gm.tv was allowed to expire. The GMTV site apparently returned to normal once the domain renewal had been paid for.

It seems incredible this keeps happening to well-known brands who have valuable domain names, when it’s really easy to prevent. Just keep your domain names set to renew automatically. You can do this in your 123-reg control panel, and it means you never need to worry about a domain name expiring again.

Ticket site domain name detagged

The BBC is reporting that a website called paperticket.co.uk has been shut down on suspicion of fraud. The site advertised tickets for gigs which were sold out on other sites. It looks like the tickets were generally priced a little over face value and if the experiences of people quoted in the BBC article are typical, plenty of people have parted with cash for tickets which are unlikely to show up.

The Met Police closed the site down on Friday, and it looks like being the latest in a line of similar sites to cease trading. Over the summer, loads of festival fans were left shut out of major festivals like Reading and V after their tickets failed to turn up.

At least it looks like the website’s host and Nominet acted quickly to shut the site down. The domain name has now been detagged, so if you do a WHOIS search it comes up as being registered directly with Nominet. And if you visit the site itself, you’ll just see a page advising customers to call Consumer Action for help.

This goes to show that when a suspect website is identified by the police, it can be shut down quickly. That’s not much consolation for anyone who bought from PaperTicket, but at least nobody else will be caught out. The lesson is, of couse, to only buy gig tickets through official agents. These should be listed on the band or festival’s website.

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