This is an experience a client related to us from late last year.
After being sold on the value proposition of outsourcing design and development to India our client contacted a very friendly sales rep via an unsolicited email they received. After doing some basic due diligence they agreed to have their website developed by the aforementioned company. As is customary the project also included the acquisition of a .com domain name and a hosting account.
The project went pretty much to plan though the client noted that there was a small increase in the final bill and the timeline did bloat by a couple of weeks. However, on launch he did have a site that he was relatively happy with, for which he paid about AU$2000.
Three years went by and his business prospered.
One day he received a call from a prospect who tried to visit his site but found it unavailable. Naturally he rang this web company who politely informed him that his domain name had expired and that it needed to be renewed. Relieved he said “Great let’s get it renewed. How much will it be?” The reply he got certainly did not make his day.
“$10,000…” was the reply.
Unbeknown to him the company had registered the domain in their name and were presumably waiting to pounce on a successful company with a strong cash flow.
In summary, If you instruct your web company to purchase domains for you ensure they use your details as the registering entity and ALWAYS take a regular back-up of any development undertaken.