Thursday, February 20, 2014

How I Lost My Web Domain & What's Next for EM&I

If you are reading this, you've already read plenty about my blog-domain drama in the last 24 hours, and still went out of your way to find me here, so THANK YOU!.  I'll try to spare you my sob story and just share a couple of the facts in case you are interested or worry that this could happen to you.  Then, we'll talk about where we are going from here.  Sound good?

(P.S. I kind-of just need to write all this out too.  Sorry if you are already totally 'over it' and/or think I'm being ridiculously dramatic.  I'm fully aware that I probably am being silly, but it's just where I am, and writing is how I process.  Y'all know me well enough to expect it by now...)


Part I: The Unnecessarily Long Story of a Lost Domain

E, Myself, and I has been in existence since June of 2009.  (If you're doing the math, that's almost five years ago.)  Of course, when I started this blog back then, I never expected anything to come of it, and - frankly - I figured it would die out like most of my other hobbies/habits in no time. BUT - much to my surprise and delight - I really liked blogging; and, even more shocking, it seemed that people kind-of liked reading what I had to say.  So, about six months in to this little gig, at the recommendation of my husband and a close tech-savy friend, I decided to switch out the standard "blogspot" web address for my own personal domain - www.emyselfandi.com.  (Incidentally, my blogspot address - yes, the one you are reading this on right now - also included my last name, and Jeff and I decided that probably wasn't the wisest idea either... So, it made sense.)  I had about 50 "followers"/regular readers at the time, and since blogger easily allows you to "redirect" from your blogspot address - it was no big deal.

At the time (and, let's just be honest here, still today) I knew VERY little about the technical side of blogging.  In fact, I probably said something very close to "just do it and tell me when it's done" to our friend regarding buying and making the move to a new domain... And, that's what he did.  I have some vague memory of him telling me that it cost $10 a year to keep, and that was that. I had no idea where the domain was purchased, how it was maintained, etc. As far as I was concerned, some little internet fairies were in charge of it now, and I honestly never gave it another thought.


Ok... Fast forward four years.

For four years, I had zero problems with the web address.  I never received a single bit of correspondence about the domain at all.  Like I said, I had nothing to do with it.  (Yes, in hindsight, I realize that isn't the best "management" technique.  I am young and stupid and never had any business playing with the internet in the first place... What else can I say?)

Around November of this past year, I started receiving email from Google saying that my custom domain would expire on January 7th, 2014 and that my account was not set for auto-renew.  January 7th felt like a long time away (and, if I'm really being honest, I also kind-of thought "I've never had to renew my subscription so far, why would I need to start now?"), so I made a mental note to look into it and kept blogging away... Finally, some time around the end of the year after receiving my 2nd or 3rd notification, I DID actually take some action and went on Google Apps to change the setting to automatic renewal - or so I thought.  Then, once again, I didn't give it another thought.


Ironically, about two weeks ago, I casually mentioned to Jeff that "I guess my auto-renew worked because it's long past January 7th and the world hasn't ended yet."  #insertfootinmouth  Also, in hindsight, a couple of different people had said things to me over the course of the last month or so that indicated that my website wasn't working normally (things like not being able to get there one time, but then the address working the next); but, since I don't typically access the page through my browser (I usually go through Blogger), and - when I did - it always worked for me, and I'm totally computer-ignorant, I didn't worry about that either.  *Basically, this is all just proof that I SHOULD worry a lot more in life. ;)

Then, randomly, yesterday the site just stopped working.  Kaput.  When you typed in the web address, a message came up saying that the "server is unresponsive" and several of you confirmed that this was happening across the board via Facebook etc.  #uhoh  

(Can I just be vulnerable for a second and admit that for a tiny minute yesterday, I thought to myself: "Ahh this is it! Your blog has blown up so much that you have officially broken the servers!  You've MADE it!!"  Then I remembered that my most recently published post was a recap of The Bachelor and determined that was probably unrealistic. Ha.)

***This is the part to read if you just want to know what happened and prefer to skip all my meaningless commentary***

I spent the better part of yesterday investigating and worrying (making up for lost time I guess) and ultimately learned the following:

- My domain was originally purchased (back in December of 2009) and paid for four years. #noidea

- I had not completed the full process for setting up auto-renewal on Google Apps, so as of January 7th, 2013, the domain was officially "suspended."

- This basically took all matters out of the hands of Google and gave them back to GoDaddy - the company where I originally purchased the domain (who knew?).

- GoDaddy gives a month or so grace period and then opens up an expired domain to "auction" for anyone that may have placed it on "back-order" - which basically means someone was waiting for my account to expire so they could purchase it.

- That "grace period" apparently ended yesterday, and my custom domain was sold (I think pretty much immediately) to an unregistered/private source. (i.e. I have no way of getting in touch with the person)

- IF my domain had NOT been purchased, I could have pretty easily just "bought it back" from GoDaddy for a small fee.  BUT, since it technically belongs to someone else now... I'm plum out of luck. Nothing anyone can do for me... Except the new owner of the domain, of course. ;)

Which brings me to...

Part II: How I'm Feeling

Sad. Frustrated. Stupid. Disappointed. And a tad bit silly for feeling all of those things over a BLOG - it's not like someone stole my dog!!

Mostly, I'm VERY thankful that - thanks to Blogger - I still have all of my blog content and was able to immediately switch back to blogspot with little to no change content-wise.  Losing the last five years of writing would have been DEVASTATING; losing some Followers, ultimately, is not.  It's not the end of the world, and it will be OK. 

BUT, of course, I'm sad.  I've spent a lot of time (not to mention money) building that little brand (ugh all those beautiful business cards from Blogher!!) and have made commitments to sponsors etc. that I feel like I can't fulfill right now.  THAT part is hard to swallow.  That part is a bit (ok, a good bit) overwhelming to me right now.  But, still, it is not the end of the world. More than anything, it is inconvenient, but really that's all. Life - even my own - will go on with or without emyselfandi.com.


As of late last night (yes, I kept checking because I'm a freak) there appears to be a new blog going up in that space by the same title - E, Myself and I.  There is still no contact information for the author, but I did leave a comment there asking him/her to contact me ASAP, and I have a tiny spark of hope that he/she had no idea they were purchasing a domain that was already "home" to someone else, and we will be able to work out some kind of deal.  *Person, if you happen to be reading this, please email me! I'm nice and will give you a SWEET deal.  Thanks!

To be clear, I am NOT mad at this person (I honestly believe he/she probably just has a name that starts with an E and thought the title was catchy.  I know I didn't spend time Googling things like that before I settled on a blog name).  Whoever it is did NOTHING wrong.  They bought an expired domain more than a month after it expired. That's all.

I'm also not mad at Google or GoDaddy.  Yes, I wish they had been a little more specific/clear in their emails and instructions for renewing - something like a humongous posterboard in hot pink letters probably would have been helpful - but I really can't fault them either.  Ultimately, this was/is my fault, and I'll own it. If I'm mad at anyone, it's myself. (And, really, if I've learned anything from the blog world in the last five years it's to show myself grace too; so, really, I'm not that mad at anyone.)

Part III: What's Next?

The quick answer is that I really don't know.  Yesterday, I had a lot of thoughts about just throwing in the towel and calling it quits all together - letting myself fall off the Internet for good.  BUT, when I'm being reasonable, I know that's not what I want.  I still really love writing and - ESPECIALLY - you all.  This has become an incredible support system for me.  It is like my "home" and emyselfandi.com was just the "house" you know?  Plus, I don't want to be someone who just gives up when the going gets tough.  Some day, I assume, it WILL be time to give up the ole blog; but, when that time comes, I want to do it because it is TIME - not because I was dumb and let my domain expire.

So... As I've said on Facebook and Instagram already, I'll be making a decision about where to go from here in the next few days.  Basically, right now, it's a toss up between simply switching to emyselfandi.net or something like that and keeping everything else virtually the same OR using this as an opportunity for growth and change and starting off my 30th year (one more month to the BIG birthday folks) with a new name and a new internet "identity" so to speak.  I'm just not sure yet.

In the meantime, THANK YOU for taking the time to read this epistle and for traveling with me back to my old stomping grounds for a few days.  You are my dearest and closest blog friends, my "people," and I could not be more thankful for you!


And finally, a little business to wrap up:

- Along with my domain, I also lost access to my email account through it.  SO, if you need to contact me directly for any reason you can reach me at emyselfandiblog@gmail.com temporarily.   If you have written in the last 24-48 hours or so, please accept my sincere apologies and send your message again to the above address!!

- To my amazingly kind and patient sponsors: Please know that I have not forgotten about you! I will do my best to right any wrongs that this may cause you and will happily reimburse your sponsorship costs etc. as soon as I get things figured out a little more. For now, feel free to email me with any special concerns or questions.  Thank you in advance for your patience with me in the coming days/weeks.



So... Has this happened to any of you before?  How did you recover?  

In general, I would LOVE any feedback you have to offer - ideas/suggestions/etc. - on how to proceed from here.  I value each of your opinions SO much! 

Thanks friends!!

15 comments:

  1. Ugh-- this is SO sad!!! I don't blame you a bit for being traumatized and despondent over the whole thing. But I will hunt you down and torture you (think Huck on Scandal...) if you quit blogging, so take that for what it is. No shame in bringing back the ol' .blogspot.com for awhile. I'm still hanging out there myself, ha!

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  2. I can completely relate to your frustration! I spent Tuesday night resetting passwords and trying to keep my usernames straight for WordPress, Hover and the host I use for my blog. I also wondered if it was time to throw in the towel on blogging - couldn't do it though. Contributing to the blogosphere, even if it is in my own small way, makes me feel like a part of the community I enjoy so much! I've been reading your blog for quite some time and I'm glad you've decided to keep blogging!

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  3. I literally want to cry for you! I missed my renew once but thankfully got it renewed in time! I hope that you can some how get it back. *fingers crossed big time!*

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  4. E, I have never commented on your blog, but I have read it. For a really long time. You mentioned in this post that you started writing in 2009 and I think that I started reading not long after that. I can't even remember where I found you! Regardless, I really enjoy your blog and I will follow you wherever you go! Just wanted to offer a quick encouragement that your writing is appreciated!

    Callie

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  5. E,

    So sorry to hear this happened to you. Sounds like you did all the right things afterward. Hopefully you will get a positive response from the new owner and it all works out. Let us know if we can do anything for you.

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  6. I can't even imagine the headache and heartache, I think anyone who blogs understands why it means so much and why it saddens you. I have been toying around with the idea of dropping the .blogspot, but after hearing this and another big blogger going through the same thing this week I am so reluctant. Hope it all works out!

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  7. Oh my gosh, that is terrible. I'm glad I found you here and look forward to seeing what's next!

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  8. This happened to another blog that I read (Pink Lou Lou) a few months ago and I felt so bad because it is such a simple mistake that has such a huge impact. I'm sure you get so many e-mails that it's hard to know what is actually important and I would have probably not taken them as seriously either.

    Good luck deciding where you want to go with the blog, no matter what you do your readers will still be here to support you. :]

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  9. Don't go!!! I was so sad when you mentioned possibly quitting blogging! You're such a good writer, have a great sense of humor, and I love reading your stories! Keep it up!!!

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  10. I wanted you to know that this happened to me. However, the only reason I got my domain back fro go daddy was because no one purchased it during the month long grace period. So I guess I was lucky. Just know that I think this happens to a lot of unsuspecting people. But I know how upsetting and stressful it can be! I'll follow you wherever you go :)

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  11. ugh. i'm so sorry. i can't imagine how upset i'd be, and my blog is no where near as established as yours. i also don't really understand why this is possible. it seems sorta shady that you can be put on a waiting list for a url. there should be more steps involved, right??
    i love the idea of an overhaul to go along with your 30th birthday! (it's not that bad, promise!)

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  12. Elizabeth, I'm so sorry about all the mess you've been going through. Glad you didn't lose all your content! Excited to see what's next!!

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  13. I'm so sorry this happened to you and I want to say THANK YOU for all the hard work you've put in redirecting people! I can't believe you found my blog (that's not even really a blog, but just something I have to keep for an education class) where I mentioned your blog as a resource and commented to let me know where I could find the new site. It really does mean a lot and I'm so grateful I can keep reading! :)

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  14. It is a good blog..
    It is better to check domain value ot increase website worth.

    websites value

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  15. DreamHost is definitely the best web-hosting provider for any hosting plans you require.

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Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!


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