#Domainers : Avoid meeting with Death, for as long as you can

Today’s news of Alton Leroy Flanders passing is a reminder of our vulnerable human side – it comes with an expiration date. Ironically, one of Flanders’ best domains is bidder.com, and it seems that it will be heavily bid on upon expiration.

As individuals we want to live a long, prosperous, happy life; as domainers, we want to maintain our domain assets, and secure them for after we expire as beings on this earth.

Roy Flanders is sadly gone, and with more than 3,800 domain names in his portfolio many domain investors wonder what to do, when faced with the same reality.

For the best advice, one should consult with an attorney, drafting a will, with plenty of technical analysis on their business.

Domain investor “Kate” has compiled a great task list in a post at NamePros, and it’s a good starting point for anyone:

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

  • Incorporate
  • Keep an accurate and up to date inventory of assets along with renewal dates
  • Add a column in your spreadsheet/DB to rank domains according to value ie LLL.com = 4 stars (so that an outsider can quickly figure out the portfolio and prioritize items)
  • Don’t be shy. Explain your activity to your SO, friends, a few trusted persons if they are interested, so that at least someone can advise others on immediate steps to be taken to protect your assets
  • Distribute company shares
  • Mention corporate assets on your will and recommendations for liquidating portfolio
  • Renew valuable domains for several years ahead
  • Maintain autorenew on valuable domains
  • If possible, add a backup funding source for example a second credit card (can be a prepaid card)
  • Leave logins and passwords in a safe place (I use a password manager so I only need to leave the master password – the contained logins/password pairs can and do change from time to time).
  • Choose a trustworthy registrar, one that will not seize your assets silently if they find out you ‘dropped’ out of this world. Do not assume that every expired name drops or goes to auction. Vultures are circling around ready to seize orphaned assets. Their motto: “If there is nobody around to claim stolen assets, there is no crime”.
  • Which brings us to the next item: document everything. Set up a dedicated folder in your inbox and keep every E-mail related to domain transactions, renewal confirmations etc. Leave an ownership trail.
  • Optional – Switch whois privacy off. But don’t expose your personal details. Use a corporate address + dedicated E-mail + virtual phone number. By doing so, whois data will be at least partially indexed on the web but it leaves some kind of trail which may be of help if an inventory is not immediately handy. There are pros and cons.
  • Last but not least: avoid death if you can. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • If you don’t care about what happens after your death, think about your loved ones and how they could benefit from your labor and investments. At the very least don’t make the job too difficult on them if they are so inclined.
  • Also consider the possibility that you may fall into a coma for some time, or be in a critical health situation.
  • You might be sent to jail (reasonable likelihood if you leave in the land of the free), and not be in a frame of mind to handle your domain affairs.

Stay healthy, and avoid meeting with Mr. Death for as long as you can – just remember, that in the end, death and taxes always arrive.

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