It started with not being able to get my email. When I tried checking the web site to see if it was up, I was greeted with a generic portal page. The uncommonplace.com domain name had expired. It’s pretty scary when this happens.
A few months back I had a similar problem where it was time to renew my hosting account, but I had neglected to update my contact email address - it was still the one from my ISP back in Salt Lake City. This got sorted out quickly enough, but it turned out my domain name contact address did not get updated, even though it’s all managed by the same hosting company. So just like before when I didn’t get the notices that it was time to renew my hosting account, this time I didn’t get the notices that my domain name was going to expire.
It reminds me of the iPod video out problem I had recently, where I didn’t realize you have to explicitly set it to use the video out instead of using the built-in screen. I might have saved myself some aggravation if I had been paying better attention, but there were also things that could have been done to make it easier for me. In this case, that would be having only one set of contact information. If some people do have a legitimate reason for having separate info for their hosting and domain names, the web site could at least remind you when you update one that you might want to update the other.
Using web hosting services can be very stressful because you have to be completely dependent on someone else maintaining the server and the domain name. If the server goes down, or if somehow my domain name were to get hijacked, there is nothing I can do directly to fix the situation.
A few years back I lost iconmachine.com because of basically the same thing as what happened today, and it took me too long to notice I had lost it because I wasn’t using it as my primary domain name. I haven’t bothered contacting whoever is squatting on it because I’m sure they’ll ask for some ridiculous amount to give it back to me, and I would consider pretty much anything more than the standard registration fee to be extortion.