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So I'm in quite a pinch right now - have a Wordpress site with over 3,500+ posts with an above average SEO ( niche content, so almost guaranteed Page 1 results )

I initially created the site with another guy and he bought the domain name - since I trust him and I know he's not dodgy at all, I never asked him to hand over the domain to me and ever since the site started in 2012, he's been renewing it without fail.

Fast forward to 2015, due to real life responsibilities, I had to make myself inactive from site development / activities - but still kept the site working in order ( maintenance, hardening, SEO, malware removal etc ) but the site was kind of in a hiatus state - I had no contact with this guy because I usually operate the backend and he does content.

During this time, he was also busy with his new job and stopped writing content, hence the site hiatus.

Now, the domain name is expiring soon and I tried contacting him but have no response after a few days. We have a password sharing service and I found the credentials for the Domain Manager there, but the password doesn't work anymore ( he must've changed it between 2015 and now, because it used to work before - I've logged in a couple of times )

I'm thinking of buying a similar domain name and just switch the site to that new domain, but without access to the old domain, I can't put a 301 redirect on the old domain - and without 301 I'm pretty certain that I will lose the page rank that I've accumulated since 2012.

What are my options? Help! :(

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    Firstly, you could backorder the domain with a reputable service, which will increase your odds of registering after it's released. After it expires, it might be redirected to the registrar's default expired page though, so you'll lose traffic and possibly your rankings during that period. You don't need access to the domain account however to redirect it; there's lots of questions here on how to do 301 redirects with your web server or server-side scripting. – dan May 28 '16 at 22:23
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    If you know the current domain provider, chat with them about your situation and whether a placing a backorder will bypass the quarantine period - although I expect not. Also ask if you can pay for renewal on behalf of your friend - they may allow that? – TBB May 29 '16 at 4:39
  • The domain provider unfortunately is in Japan, and although I have proficient conversational skill in Japanese - my writing is poor and I'd be hard-pressed to even explain to them what had happened ( specially with the technical terms ) - I will however, give this a go, as it looks like this is the only way to somewhat save whatever is left of my page ranks... – kevinMario May 30 '16 at 5:08
  • @kevinMario I think most people in IT should know a sufficient level of English and should be able to respond to an international user base, that including companies in Japan. So maybe you can try to see if English works with them as well. – xji May 31 '16 at 6:10
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If there is still time, and you have access to ftp "Worst case scenerio " solution is to buy another domain and redirect all movement using 301. And yes you can put 301 without access to domain.

To be honest , you should go in that direction in a moment that you realized that you lost contact with domain owner.

  • Thanks for the suggestion Michal - any suggestions re: where I should be heading next regarding 301 redirection without access to the old domain? Thank you so much. – kevinMario May 29 '16 at 17:52
  • How would you manage 301 redirects on an expired domain? – Andrew Lott Jun 2 '16 at 21:43
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Find out the registrar and contact them. They may be willing to contact the domain owner for you and get him to contact you.

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    I have found two things true in life; one, if you offer money, most people will take it, and two, no thief pays money for something that they cannot walk away with. If you were to offer to pay to extend the domain, it just may work providing you are convincing enough. Keep my two principles in mind. It may help your argument with the registrar. Also, once a pattern of payment is established, then your argument becomes much stronger. For example, I was able to pay the electric bill for a lady for 9 years. When she passed away, it was transferred to me without asking and not to the family. – closetnoc May 29 '16 at 17:21
  • I know that is an odd example, but it proves my point. Money, and pattern of payment works. In the end, I transferred the electric to the family of course. I was paying because the deceased was a dear sweet friend of mine and she showed me the love of a family member when her own family did not pay attention to her but to her money and property which they fought over in the end. Sad. Very sad. – closetnoc May 29 '16 at 17:28
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in some domains (for example .pl) there are possibility to buy "option" (option for registration) for domain.

This means that if current owner don't renew it - you will get that domain (afer quarantine period ) .

What kind of domain we are talking about ? .com ?

Also you can search for company that can catch (buy it first if current owner don't renew it) domain for you . It's called domain drop catch service - or something like that :) . Look at https://godaddy.com/domainaddon/domain-backorders.aspx

  • It is a .com domain - the problem is I don't want the domain to move into the quarantine period ( 75 days if I remember correctly? ) because there's a high probability that I'll lose my traffic & page rank... – kevinMario May 29 '16 at 3:16
  • if you want avoid quarantine - only option is to contact current owner :( – Michał G May 29 '16 at 11:53
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You can contact the relevant Domain Name Registry and ask about their process for dispute resolution. .co.uk for example has a Dispute Resolution Service which is relatively easy. .com follows the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy.

The process can be different for different TLDs, but contacting the registrar of the domain is probably the best start. They may be able to verify your claim to the domain and transfer ownership to you without even having to follow the whole dispute process.

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