I've owned the d0ct0r lizard0 domain name since 1992*, among a couple of other, newer ones. I have always maintained it one way or another (renewing the site vs. renewing just the domain name, for example), though I haven't always [ever] really understood the arcane system Yahoo and their Australian IT company have for being related to one another and keeping track of all the malarkey.
Long story short, I renewed just the domain name again last November, but before it was up for renewal, just for the sake of uniformity with my other domain names. Come May, the Australian sister site began sending me "URGENT! Your domain is up for renewal!" notices, which I ignored as redundant and automated. I've had similar messages for the others, at times, that came to naught, because I had already renewed them! But then in August this year, apparently they sold my domain name to someone else.
My husband noticed it before I did, as I don't have time to play with web stuff these days (not that he does either, but somehow he noticed it.) At first I thought it was just one of those placeholder kind of pages, until the other day when for a different reason I was looking at my Yahoo business domains control panel (or whatever the heck they call it). I realized that not only was I unable to access that particular site, but WHOIS said it was registered to [identity screen] in Oregon and it was locked. So yay. But here I am, still paying $9.99 per year for it, in perpetuity.
Having a bit of insomnia last night, I had the brilliant inspiration to bill the current user. So I wrote out an invoice and emailed them a bill for nearly $900 dollars. I think $299 a month to use my domain name for their search engine is reasonable, don't you? I also emailed the Australian IT company and told them politely that I was doing this, and that if the current individual or organization was unresponsive, I'd be sending the bills to their company. Since I don't feel terribly emotionally invested in the site, I feel freer than I normally would to push the limits a bit and see what results I can get.
Heck, it was their responsibility to make sure they weren't double-selling a domain name. And Yahoo--they should have protected my domain name, so it's their responsibility, too. Maybe I'll write them later if I have further insomnia.
Yes, I should have replied to the emails about renewing--just this once--but how is a person supposed to know when to really do it when it's always been okay to ignore it as redundant before?
*2002. See my reply to my own post. Duh.