I take partial responsibility for the loss of the domain Seven Dogs and a Baby. I refuse to put the entire link in this website as the guy who purchased the domain is counting on any links to it, so I will refrain from helping him out.
I've been asked quite a few times in the last few days what happened? Well to make a long story short the domain did not get renewed. Why? Its debatable but basically the automatic renew function (from what Google is telling me now) was turned off. I have no clue how it could have gotten turned off as up till the domain being lost I never even knew you could log into your domain name through google to see it's settings. This is a total fail on my part as I did work for many years in webpage development and I'm well aware of the domain name consoles. The fact that I didn't know I even had one is partially though Google's fault as though I adore Blogger and I owe so much to my blog when you decide to register a domain name through Blogger there is a lot to be said about the lack of information you receive.
For that reason I want to help every Mommy Blogger I know and those of you that I don't from having to do what I've had to do in the last few days. Sure we will totally recover but what really kills me about this whole situation is honestly not the Google error but the man behind the purchase of our old domain. Now that I've had this happen to me I've heard multiple stories like my own and I do NOT want this to happen to you guys. So here is what we need to do. Everyone who owns a domain through Blogger stop what your doing right now and listen up, if this is information you already know, awesome, if not I hope this helps you.
Go.. right now to http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/index.html This is the URL you need to visit to log into your Google registered domain name. Technically your domain name is registered with Godaddy.com but unless you visit the Google Apps site you will not have access to your GoDaddy login info. Enter the URL of the domain you'd like to manage in the login and your login/password combo should be the same as the one you use to manage your Blogger account. Once your in check several things. The first and most important is that you click on manage your account and make SURE that the secondary email address in there is CORRECT and up to date. Then click on domain names and make sure that the automatic renewal feature is checked. Mine was checked the first time I logged in but at some point it got turned off (per Google tech support) and this is what caused my domain not to renew. While your in there you can also check out the advance DNS settings which will allow you to access your GoDaddy account directly as well which is VERY helpful if you have an issue.
The second thing I would really like to stress here is if you have a problem with your domain name and you do not own a Google Apps premier account there is really no way to contact Google's tech support. You can use the forums but if you need quick assistance the only way your going to get a live person is to pay the extra $50 a year to upgrade. If you blog is your heart and soul like mine is... then I highly recommend you just bite the bullet and pay the money. I will say that though Google was not able to resolve my problem they were certainly prompt about getting back to me. If it wasn't for the "little" mishap I would be very satisfied with the customer support.
I hope that information helps you guys using Blogger to not have the same issues and for those of you using other services the same rules apply.. make sure you log into your domain names at least every few months and update your information if needed. You do NOT want to be stuck with no domain even for a few hours as well time is money and if people attempt to load your domain and it does not work it hurts your overall stats pretty quickly. We are recovering fairly quickly thanks to Twitter and Facebook and thanks to the fact that we've just been around for a long time and I have a wonderfully loyal reader base whos really supported me even at the worst of times. I thank you all for that.
So here is where I need you guys to help me out... and I'm not even asking you to do it for me but so that this won't become an attractive option for link farmers. The guy who purchased our old domain is as far as I'm concerned a bottom feeder. He is a "marketing firm" and I say that loosely as he's the bottom of the barrel when it comes to marketing firms who's sole intent with our domain was to use it to build his client's page rank. Within hours of purchasing our domain he was busy illegally copying our website to his domain. This was not done by him having access to our blog directly and no he does not have any access to our RSS feeds our subscription bases. He simply was using a web crawler that was individually pulling every single post, picture, and blurp I've ever added to the blog and rebuilt it remotely on his server. If you went to the domain during that timeframe you would have noticed something odd about our URL as it read blogurl/blogurl (spell it out) instead of just the URL in your browser bar. Or you if you visited during the time frame he was ripping the site down or deleting it you would have seen the bare bones directories of what was my blog. He had my blog up on his site within hours of purchasing the domain so he obviously planned this in advance. The whole purpose was not to steal my blog but purely to add his advertisements for the sole purpose of drawing traffic and page rank to his sites.
What you may not know is that this is VERY illegal. Copyright infringement is enforced on the web and if this ever happens to you even in the smallest manner (say a dummy blog copies just one of your posts instead of your whole blog) you can track down the person in question and serve both them and their ISP a cease and desist order via the DCMA act. If you don't know what that is check it out and familiarize yourself. Though I've always been happy to lend my articles to valid press organizations and the owners of the companies I review (after they have asked for permission or notified me in the case of companies I review). I do not at all take kindly to random people ripping down some or all of my posts, lets not even begin to talk about the photos of my children and personal subject matter I've discussed on this blog. I think the moment I really lost it is when I saw my ultrasound video appear on his "fake" blog. That's beyond crossing the line, that comes down to a gross and very personal violation.
Mind you I did offer to repurchase my domain back from this person, who flat out refused me but did offer to "loan" me the domain in exchange that I host his links. IE he wanted me to continue to write on my blog, build more page rank, and in the end he would control what advertisements and links I could host out of sheer blackmail. This is not even remotely a valid option as far as I'm concerned. In many ways he was asking me to be his unpaid slave in exchange making him look good to his web design clients. Not to mention who's to say if he plans on linking up sites that are not family friendly. Would I jepordize my own repuation just for a domain name? No.. forget that... I have NEVER sold my opnions to a PR firm and I've always held myself at a high standard when it comes to reviews and products I represent.. and I inforce the same sort of standards in my advertisers. Though having advertisers and sponsors is fabulous, I've always been light on advertisers as quite simply I just wont take them unless I agree with the products or services they are attempting to sell my readers. Sure I could make more money for my family by allowing any text based add or advertiser to add something on my page for a little money, but it's not worth it to me if I wouldn't use their service myself.
So this is where you guys can not only help me out but show guys like this that mommy bloggers are not idiots. This guy purely bought my domain to use it for its backlinks. Backlinks that YOU guys gave me over the years. What is a backlink? Every single time you mention another blog in your blog and link to a post or the domain itself your giving that blogger a backlink. Backlinks are in turn part of what builds a website's pagerank though its not the only factor. So what I'm asking each of you to do is check out your blog. If you have ever linked to my old domain be it to a post, hosted our button, linked to one of our blog bashes.. either update the links to superheroboy.com (the new button is avaialble in our sidebar as well if you need it) or kill the links all together. In a way I'm asking you to literally butcher a website that took me three years to build but why give this guy the glory of all those backlinks when he didn't earn them? I worked hard for every single post I've done hours and hours of time.. 40 hours a week for three years with very little pay actually. The blog has not changed other than the domain so any link you have going to us will still work as long as you replace the sevendogs...com part with superheroboy.com.
Hell it might even be your blog domain that he goes after next time.. why let a bully get away with it? That alone would be a real tragity.
So do me a huge favor and check your blogs ladies. Leave me a post if you update a link or post our new button. I need to get my butt on track and I'll be happy to add you to our sidebar as well if your a mommy blogger!