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Microsoft Forgets To Renew Hotmail.co.uk 375

Saint Aardvark writes "The Register is reporting that Microsoft forgot to renew their hotmail.co.uk domain. A Good Samaritan renewed it for them, but was unable to get a response from anyone at Microsoft. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it."
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Microsoft Forgets To Renew Hotmail.co.uk

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  • by epiphani ( 254981 ) <epiphani@ d a l . net> on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:37PM (#7407757)
    Good Samaritan my foot.

    "Hey, I save this domain for you. It'll only cost you $60,000".

  • You'd think.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rylin ( 688457 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:37PM (#7407762)
    You'd think MS would be clever enough to use a registrar that supports auto-renewal. Like any tucows reseller.
  • HA HA!
    That's awesome. Whoever renewed that domain should get a medal from Microsoft. That and a huge smack upside the head for not temporarily posting something humorous... like a huge image of Bill Gates's pie incident.
  • They're very lucky (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoshuaDFranklin ( 147726 ) <joshuadfranklin. ... .com minus distr> on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:38PM (#7407771) Homepage
    They are very lucky that it's not a porn site now, like russianhistory.org (not href for obvious reasons) and many others.

    Or maybe the porn squatters wouldn't touch it, considering that there might be a public outcry.

  • by mesach ( 191869 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:38PM (#7407776)
    It seems to me that the has happened at least 2 times. I hope someone loses their jjob over this.

    Then maybe I can find one, I can make sure that all the domains that microsoft owns are renewed every time they are due, I bet they own a large enough number to make it a full time job too.
  • by freerangegeek ( 451133 ) * on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:39PM (#7407783)
    It's too bad the individuals who legally registered these domains (hotmail.co.uk and passport.com) didnt' see fit to turn them over to the EFF or FSF. Even if only $35 was paid by Microsoft to retrieve them, the irony of making Microsoft pay those organizations would have been rich and wonderous.
  • by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:39PM (#7407789) Journal
    Is it really that hard to assign one person the task of being responsible for domain renewals?

    Jeez, even if that's all somebody did it would be worth paying someone $20,000/year just to avoid serious cock-ups like this one.
    • Jeez, even if that's all somebody did it would be worth paying someone $20,000/year just to avoid serious cock-ups like this one.

      This marks the second time I've seen the word/phrase "cock-ups" used in a sentence. The first time was when I read the article this morning.

      Is that some sort of across the pond thing? Because I can tell you what it means on this side of the Atlantic...
    • Better yet, why don't they just use a form of automated payment. I'm sure the domain registrar must have that option.

      Though if the domains were registered say, 10 years ago, whoever was responsible for that task has probably moved on, and/or it was otherwise forgotten.
    • Is it really that hard to assign one person the task of being responsible for domain renewals?

      Jeez, even if that's all somebody did it would be worth paying someone $20,000/year just to avoid serious cock-ups like this one.

      Hell, I'll keep all their domains renewed for only $15,000 a year.

    • "Is it really that hard to assign one person the task of being responsible for domain renewals?"

      That's an awfully presumptuous bit of +5 Interesting babble.

      How do you know a bill just wasn't lost somewhere? That kind of thing happens here in the real world, you know.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I mean, that would guarantee a response from Micro$oft....
  • by dnoyeb ( 547705 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:41PM (#7407814) Homepage Journal
    The major organizations have shown that major companies like MS are 'entitled' to domain names similar to their company name, bar none. Thus, their is no need to register for it, no one can take it anyway...
  • Hmm... (Score:2, Funny)

    by JoeLinux ( 20366 )
    I say it should have been redirected to the goatsecx guy...that'd be an interesting turn of events for some 8-year-old trying to check his mail, eh?
  • can we all agree that whoever snaps it up just keeps it for as long as we can? Put up a big Bill the Borg picture. I'd like that.
  • Right/left? (Score:5, Funny)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) * <skennedy@AAAtpno ... inus threevowels> on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:43PM (#7407828) Homepage
    Right hand, this is left hand, come in, over.
    • Can you hear me now? over... hello... hello?
    • Right hand, this is left hand, come in, over.
      This is Microsoft. The right hand is in their pocket playing with that big lump of... liquid cash. The left hand is trying to get into your pocket for your... lump of cash. Somehow, an extra hand seems to be holding gullable/unwitting companies by their lumps of cash in some sort of vise and won't let go. With the cloth and distance between them, it's no wonder they don't communicate.
  • Would life without Hotmail mean less spam?
    • Actually, I think your butterfly flapping its wings will only cancel out my butterfly if it is flapping 180 degrees out of phase with mine. Otherwise, me thinks that your butterfly and my butterfly may be additive, at least during various flapping cycles (if you are slightly out of phase with mine). YOU, with your flapping butterfly's wings, mis-timed in relation to mine is causing the drought in the Western USA and leading to the wildfire danger.

      I had my butterfly timed so as to increase the precipitat

  • Weird (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Yarn ( 75 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:45PM (#7407850) Homepage
    I was under the impression that Nominet [nic.uk] don't allow re-registration if a domain expires, only if it's explicitly released. My domain lapsed a year or so ago (registrar didn't renew it for me in time) but is still in my name, if inactive. They charge about 80 to reactivate a domain, such a money making exercise.
    • Yes that is what I thought, the domain is "detagged" for god knows how many years after it expires, and only then is put back into the pool.

      It is very very strange and suspicious that this was put back into the registration pool on the day it expired, when I am still waiting for domains I registered 3 years ago to drop out of detag status and become available for registration. (cypheria.co.uk, registered august 2000, expired aug 2003, still listed as detagged, cant detag it as I have lost the cert and can
  • for when fools will do it for you.....
  • hotmale (Score:3, Funny)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:47PM (#7407876) Homepage
    Prehaps someone should just register hotmale.co.uk and point it to them

    • Honestly, I sometimes think about registering Hotmial.com because when I manually enter the url, about 1 in 20 times that's what I end up typing.

      Then I think about how many other people with Hotmail accounts might be doing the same thing and how much smoke might start rising from my server, slap myself, and forget the idea for a while.

  • how difficult is it for a company to have database for all domainnames they have, and a field "exp_date"? or do they have one and it's accesss based, written in VB?

    • how difficult is it for a company to have database for all domainnames they have, and a field "exp_date"? or do they have one and it's accesss based, written in VB?

      They probably do.

      But the expiry search only looks for today's date....
    • Poster wrote:
      how difficult is it for a company to have database for all domainnames they have, and a field "exp_date"? or do they have one and it's accesss based, written in VB?

      Ah, there's the problem. That's probably what they have, and it BSODed on them.

      ... 'Cause we all know how hard it is to have a cron job that just does a "select domain_name from domain_names where expiry_date = date() + 1".

  • Webservices and XSD (Score:4, Interesting)

    by boatboy ( 549643 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:52PM (#7407941) Homepage
    I've often wondered about this as a potential problem for webservices and to a lesser degree, XSD specs and XML namespaces. Take for example MapPoint.NET - a pretty cool (if overpriced) service that benefits from a webservice model. But say MapPoint.net rolls back- even temporarily-to somewhere else. First, there's a potential security issue: the lucky individual would get tons of requests, possibly including security info. Second, any mission critical apps- would flop until things got squared away. I guess these could all be overcome by good design, such as creating fall-back domains that the client knows to use, but I've yet to hear much talk of doing this.
  • by NotAnotherReboot ( 262125 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:52PM (#7407946)
    Is there some kind of maximum renewal length on these domains? It's not like Microsoft doesn't have the money to pay for 20 years (or longer) of the domain, and not worry about it expiring.

    The microsoft.com domain expires in May of 2012, hotmail.com in March of 2010, so why aren't they purchasing all of their domains for long periods?
  • by jea6 ( 117959 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @12:55PM (#7407967)
    ...doesn't mean it's up for grabs. There is, at minimum, a 40 day period after the domain expires before it is actually made available for registration. It is usually 14 days after the expiration that the domain is deleted from the root servers and this is when outages can occur.
    • Uh.. that depends on the registrar. Last I checked, netsol/verisign didnt' run .co.uk.

      It also depends if the registrar in question decides to ignore the expiration of the domain and makes it available, not by checking the registry but their own local db.

      Just 'cause it doesn't get deleted till 54 days later doesn't mean the registrar can't sell the rights away.
    • From the article:
      A spokeswoman for Nominet UK - the registry for all .uk domains - confirmed that hotmail.co.uk had failed to be renewed and was placed back into pool of available domains.

      For Nominet's part, she confirmed that "all the standard renewal procedures were followed regarding hotmail.co.uk".

      ie it was up for grabs.

  • Anyone have any idea why the worlds biggest and worlds most influental company forgot to pay a simple check?
  • by siphoncolder ( 533004 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @01:03PM (#7408035) Homepage
    ... for Microsoft Outlook's "Reminder" function.
  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @01:04PM (#7408039) Homepage
    My wife noticed this the other evening - told me she was trying to go to Hotmail and ending up on Amazon. I thought it sounded ridiculous, but sure enough that's what happened when I tried.

    Had a laugh about it, then told her to use Hotmail.com. I forget if the site it was pointed to was amazon.com or .co.uk, but it was definitely at one of the Amazon sites.


  • by Shenkerian ( 577120 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @01:04PM (#7408042)
    Imagine having rights to read all the email to *@hotmail.co.uk.
    • That would be tons more spam than I'd care to have rights to...
    • Re: your sig (Score:2, Informative)

      "Whilst" is, strictly speaking, past tense. For example "I like to eat tacos while playing my gameboy" / "When I was young, I liked eating tacos whilst playing on my gameboy".

      Not that you have ever called me a pretentious jackass, but I tohught you might like to know.
  • -[root]-# whois hotmail.co.uk

    Domain Name:

    Microsoft Corporation

    Registrant's Agent:
    Dark Marketing Ltd [Tag = DARKUK]
    URL: http://www.darkmarketing.com [darkmarketing.com]

    Who would have ever believed that Microsoft would go over to the dark side?

  • Google cache of it is here []
  • Worryingly, no one in the UK could deal with the matter so it was up to the US to sort things out.

    Nobody in MS's UK division has the authority to reimburse $35?!?! Now that's what I call some serious centralized cash management!
  • Microsoft forgets to put out this week's recycling bin
    Microsoft misses the rinse cycle
    Microsoft forgets to buy lottery ticket this week
    Microsoft misses the ice cream truck

    anything else?
  • I don't see how... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moonboy ( 2512 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @01:23PM (#7408190) Homepage
    I don't see how this can happen. Network Solutions bugs the crap out of me to renew mine well in advance. They've been sending me renewal notices for a couple of months now for domains I have that will need to be renewed by March and May of 2004!
  • A free copy of Microsoft Money and MSN!! Oh boy!!
  • by sammy baby ( 14909 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @01:27PM (#7408252) Journal
    I keep seeing posts which run along the lines of, "Why give it back to them? Just take it and make 'em pay through the nose!"

    Stupid, dumb, dumb, dumb. On the one hand, Microsoft has more lawyers than God. For another, it's just wrong to register a name with the express intention of screwing someone else. And lastly, it's definied by ICANN as registering a domain in bad faith [icann.org].

    b. Evidence of Registration and Use in Bad Faith. For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:
    (i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name...

    And now you know.
  • They were trying to renew the domain, but IE kept crashing :D
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 06, 2003 @02:09PM (#7408697)
    Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

    I'm waiting for this sentence to be real funny tomorrow - when this story is being posted again.
  • by SomeOtherGuy ( 179082 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @02:32PM (#7409030) Journal
    Miscrosoft todo list:

    1. Fix bugs in IE CSS support
    2. Develop a hack proof Web Server
    3. Kill Linux
    4. Purchase OS X machines
    5. Fire guy that photos our loading docks
    6. Register all htomail domains
    7. Breakfast at tiffanies
    8. Laundry
    9. Supplies computers to 3rd world countries that don't even have electricity.
    10. Sleep
  • by Dominic_Mazzoni ( 125164 ) on Thursday November 06, 2003 @03:43PM (#7410014) Homepage
    I think that the real issue here is that it's impossible to contact anyone important at a large company like Microsoft. Suppose I discovered that one of their domains just expired, or I found a new security hole in IE, or found out the identity of someone inside Microsoft who had been "leaking" builds of Longhorn, or something like that. What do I do? All of their public telephone numbers and email addresses get routed to minimum-wage drones who wouldn't understand what I'm talking about, much less even have the authority to contact somebody who does.

    In the specific case of security holes, Microsoft has repeatedly complained when people publish exploits without contacting them first, and yet in many cases the researcher who found the problem had been trying to contact Microsoft for weeks without getting any response.

    I suppose the best way I could think of might be to send email to individual Microsoft employees I know of who might be willing to listen - there are some who post regularly to public newsgroups and mailing lists (and even Slashdot!) and one of them might pay attention. But how long would it take them to figure out who to contact to fix the problem?

    Not that it's better in many other large companies. Anyone know of any large corporations where they're actually handling this well?

In English, every word can be verbed. Would that it were so in our programming languages.