We imagine the people running the online branch of world famous toy shop Hamleys were feeling a little red-faced last week. Just as the whole world’s thoughts were turning to Christmas shopping and the festive lights in London’s West End were being switched on, the Hamleys website was looking a little, er, switched off.

Instead of being offered the chance to browse and buy a huge range of toys, visitors to hamleys.com were met with a standard holding page from a domain name registration company. The cause? The company let its domain name expire – meaning it no longer pointed to their website.

Although Hamleys seems to have acted fast to fix the problem and restore its website, a report in the Telegraph suggests it was still down for about a day and a half. Most of that downtime was probably caused by the time it takes for changes to a domain name to make their way through the whole internet.

Whatever the exact cause, for Hamleys, a day and a half’s worth of online sales must be significant, especially in the run-up to Christmas.

An elementary mistake?

Of all the mistakes to make, forgetting to renew your domain name seems like a pretty elementary one. Yet when you have loads of other things to worry about, it’s easy to overlook. The same thing happened to Emirates and GMTV in 2008, so it’s not only Hamleys who have suffered the embarrassment.

The solution? If your domain name is important, set it up so that when it comes close to expiring, it gets renewed automatically. All 123-reg customers can use this feature – go here to learn more about auto-renewal.

We can only assume Hamleys have learnt this lesson now. We’ll know for sure in October 2010, when their domain renewal will come round again.

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2 Responses

  • Keith Davis

    Oh dear… there but for the grace of God!

    You can see how these things happen but a day and a half can’t be too bad. I thought when I heard the news that they had lost the domain name for good.

    Fortunately you boys send me reminders for all my domain names in plenty of time.

    November 19, 2009 at 9:19 pm