It seems pretty timely to talk about facts and alternative facts. In our case, those emails that you receive from various companies telling you that your church’s domain is about to expire. Accompanying these “helpful” reminders are usually convenient forms for you to fill out to prevent the expiry of the domain (so long as you provide your credit card information).
Of course the issue with this is that you do know your domain will expire, in many cases you will not have been the person who initially ordered the domain and even more likely the paperwork is going to be hard to track down given folks moving on, retirements, changes in staff, etc. So, how can you figure out if this is a legitimate request especially since it came directly to your email address or to the church administrators?
Step 1 to figure this out is: Be skeptical, very skeptical.
Step 2 is to do a WHOIS (pronounced “who is”) search to get the relevant information from domain registration authorities that aren’t trying to liberate the money from the restrictive confines of your wallet.
These types of searches are actually quite easy to do. Just open a browser window and enter “http://mxtoolbox.com/NetworkTools.aspx”. Then in the box labelled WHOIS (right side), enter your church’s domain name.
Click on the arrow and in a few seconds you’ll get all the information the registration body has for your domain. The information includes:
1. When the domain was first registered
2. When it was renewed
3. When it really expires
4. Contacts on record for administrative, technical and billing functions.
With this information in hand you will be able to evaluate whether the entity you received the renewal notice from actually can renew the domain for you. One last point it costs between $15 -$20 per year to renew a domain. The price fluctuates between different registrars. If you get a notice with a renewal price significantly higher than this it is in most cases not a legitimate company.