How To Avoid This One Costly Brand Mistake

Next time you get an email from the registrar of your domain, don’t ignore it. That’s what two of the largest players in web analytics and marketing automation seem to have done.

Recently we noticed some issues with one of our hosted sites. Pages were loading very slowly (if at all) and contact forms from the site were not being sent out. Upon investigation, we noticed a number of http errors surrounding the download and implementation of tracking and analytics code for Marketo. Further investigation showed that that all of our hosted sites that utilizing Marketo were throwing the same error.

It turns out the errors were being thrown because our sites simply couldn’t connect with the Marketo domain to do what they needed to do. The issue? Marketo’s domain was down; someone failed to renew it.

This kind of thing happens all the time, especially with smaller companies where one person might be in charge of many things. However, a well-known company experienced the same scenario in 2005… a little company called Google let their domain name lapse that year. In a stunning act of oversight expired and was briefly up for sale. Ironically, it was purchased for $15.00 by someone perusing Google Domains, Google’s website-buying service.

Thankfully, in both instances, there was an alert and a magnanimous engineer who noticed and saved the day before too much damage was done.

No end users were affected by the great Google kerfuffle, and they were able to reinstate their domain quietly and go on about their business. Marketo’s issue was largely resolved as of 12:00 p.m. PDT on July 25th. Some DNS propagation can take longer in different locations, based on network setup.

In an age of automation, machine learning and all around digitization, you may be shocked to learn this happened. So pay attention to registrar notices, look at human governance and/or process issues and run the occasional domain management audit.

Was your company using Marketo? If so, click here for an in-depth FAQ on ways your business might have been impacted.