As I've previously mentioned, I have a moderately successful website called FindMeATune. On Sunday, I noticed that there were very few visitors. A quick visit to the site showed that the domain was now pointing to one of Enom's page reservation services. Ooh-er. It turns out that the domain had expired on Friday; GMail had helpfully decided that the 're-register now!' notifications from Hosting365 were spam. In fairness, I can sort of understand why; they're automated, they have lots of links in them, and they use the word of doom, 'important'. It was also the only Hosting365 domain I have, and, to be honest, I'd forgotten it was still there.
Well, I'll admit it, I panicked. I mean, what exactly does happen when a domain expires? It's actually happened to me before, but that was before ICANN brought in their rather scary sounding 'redemption' thing.
Redemption, it turns out, is a process where the registrar, apparently, may or may not let you have your domain back on payment of a stupid fee; $160 for Enom (who Hosting365 resells for). That's right, they can if they feel like it, but they don't seem to be under any obligation to. Given the nature of the site, I'd be quite willing to pay, but it was a little scary that they might just refuse.
As it turns out, all was well. My domain was actually in some odd state between registered and redemption, and I was able to re-register through the normal process, for the normal price, with the help of nice helpful people at Hosting365. I know they get a fair bit of flack, but in this case at least they seemed to be quite reasonable.
The site should be back now, for most people. Interestingly, the Google AdSense price per thousand impressions for it is currently horrible; I assume their robots visited while it was a holding page and downgraded it appropriately. Hopefully, it will recover soon.
In summary, I feel terribly foolish, but at least I will never come so close to disaster again. I should probably register it for the next five years, or similar. And remember, check on the status of all your domains today!