Domains are automatically renewed and charged for two years unless the domain owner requests otherwise. While the internet domain name strategy aims to reduce the number of domains to a minimum this may, in practice, still mean that for a single website many different domains are registered. Domain renewal is an opportunity to assess the necessity of each registered domain.
Domain owners should consider the following points when deciding whether to renew a domain or let it expire:
- Is the domain in use? If not, has the domain been in use since the last renewal? Or are there concrete plans to use the domain for a specific project in the near future?
- Is the domain the key domain in terms of the domain name strategy, i.e., is it a company, product or campaign name?
- Were there legal reasons for registering the domain? Or was the domain obtained only after legal proceedings?
If, after assessing a domain name, you are unsure whether to renew or not then you should discuss it with the relevant Domain Management Officer.
If a domain is no longer required then you must inform the relevant Domain Management Officer of your intention to do so and co-ordinate with them. While subdomains (e.g., sitename.bayer.com ) can be deleted at short notice, requests to delete root domains (e.g., .com, .fr, .co) must be submitted at least eight weeks before the next renewal date.
Special consideration should be given to domains that, as a result of brand or portfolio changes or divestments, are no longer required. Domains associated with the core trade names should not be allowed to expire (e.g., schering.de or bayer-schering-pharma.com).
Even if it is no longer desirable to publicize a particular domain name, the domain registry must be updated to redirect to the new domain name and applications configured accordingly. This ensures that no one experiences an unpleasant "site not found" message if they continue to use the old address.
As described in the directive Domain Management (available only on the Bayer intranet), there are various reasons why the ownership of a domain must be transferred to Bayer:
- a domain may have been registered by a Bayer employee;
- a domain may have been registered by a third party;
- or a website may have been acquired as part of a company acquisition.
The domain transfer process is handled by the Domain Management team (available only on the Bayer intranet).
However, before requesting a transfer, please check with the relevant internal stakeholders whether the domain should be transferred at all, whether and the timing is right. This is particularly important for domain transfers within the context of acquisitions and divestments.
Website domains are in users’ bookmarks, search engines and in printed materials. Therefore, any changes to domain names must be carefully managed and coordinated with other brand-related activities. With this in mind, the migration from one domain to another can be expected to take at least 18 months to minimize any disruption.
The plan to migrate a domain should follow these steps:
- Register the new domain in accordance with the domain naming strategy.
- Configure the new domain so that any visitors are redirected to the old domain.
- Actively start communicating the new domain. This includes ensuring that all new communications materials use it.
- Configure the old domain so visitors are redirected to the new domain. In addition, it might be desirable to inform visitors still using the old domain that there has been a change and that they should update their bookmarks.
- Check whether other websites are still using the old domain and update any links accordingly.
- Once all communication has been adjusted to use only the new domain, and there is little relevant traffic using the old domain, then the old domain can be allowed to expire as detailed above.