back to article Marketing giant Marketo forgets to renew domain name. Hilarity ensues

With a perfect dose of irony, a biz that sells automated marketing software online failed to automatically renew its dotcom. Silicon Valley-based Marketo started receiving customer complaints Tuesday morning that its reporting systems weren't working. Since the corp's marketing emails use "" links to track user …

  1. Steve Aubrey

    Note to self

    Don't fire (erm - "rightsize") the person who handles our domain name, ever again.

    Don't know if this is what happened, but it's possible.

    1. BillG

      Be Paranoid

      Every critical website I own and run, I make sure the domain expiration date is at least one year from now. When I renew, I renew for at least two years.

      You run the risk (it happened to me once on an unused domain) of a domain expiring and someone getting it immediately using a domain waiting service.

      1. Halfmad

        Re: Be Paranoid

        I waited 2 years to grab a domain I'd been wanting for longer than that. When it changed ownership and wasn't being used I thought it was just a matter of time.

        If you want to keep them, renew them. If you spend too much time shopping around someone like me may well have been waiting.

        1. druck Silver badge

          Re: Be Paranoid

          Don't rely on the Registrar to remind you either. Found an old club domain had fallen off the net in June, with not a single reminder having been sent. Luckily we got it back and running again, but a shared calendar entry has now been set up, so multiple people get the message.

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: Note to self

      My money is on them having autorenew active, but that the credit card had expired.

      Note to self: Check the credit card the registrar has on file every 6 months, and update if need be.

      1. DougMac

        Re: Note to self

        And the registered contact is a single person, long gone from the org, and nobody checks that mailbox. Nobody can figure out how to setup 'webmaster@' or something generic that everyone checks because it has to be that one guy doing it.

  2. Fazal Majid

    You can usually renew domains for ten years

    Of course the flip side is that by the time the renewal notice comes in, whoever did it the last time likely has left the company...

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Network Solutions – would be more than happy to sell the company its premium renewal service, where it will contact a specific person before any changes are made,

    And given the staff turnover (read as "layoffs") of way too many companies these days, what are odds the "specific person" will be gone by the next renewal time?

  4. TheElder

    Network Solutions starts notifying me at least two months before the renewal must happen. My e-mail is not on the same domain. I have e-mail on five domains elsewhere. Also, if one plans to stay in business one can pay for something like ten years in advance. The one I have on NS has been there for 20 years and has made over half a million dollars.

    Sounds like a real incomprehensible screwup.

  5. jake Silver badge

    This kind of thing will happen more and more.

    What do you expect when Marketing tries to do technical stuff without actually putting someone technically inclined in charge?

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: This kind of thing will happen more and more.

      Marketo is a tech company though, they fill a niche that Salesforce don't do very well. Possibly because they're small enough that their somewhat dubious data collection practices don't attract too much attention.

    2. Andrew Moore

      Re: This kind of thing will happen more and more.

      Just had exactly the same thing happen in my company- Marketing decided to push out a major IT change without running it by the IT dept. Half way thru, the project is a massive failure and we've been asked to come in to bail them out. I'm just going to management now with a break down of how much it is going to cost with licences, maintenance packages and a new Exchange server. And a stern reminder of why these projects always have to come thru IT.

  6. Anonymous Coward









  7. TheElder

    Better one (TITSUP)
















    befuddled inner stone like (type of monkey) mating

  8. luminous


    How lucky they are that a "friendly" renewed the domain for them. Imagine it had been someone else and they refused to give it back. Even if they eventually got it back through the courts it would be too long before they would have had to change the domain anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: Optional

      He paid the fee but didn't gain control of the domain. Hence he couldn't correct the DNS servers and it took them another few hours to sort it out.

      Registrars these days put the domain into a retention period rather than making it available for anyone to buy immediately after expiration.

  9. Your alien overlord - fear me

    The real crime here is NS charging $38 for a dotcom. Google only charge £10 ($13 ish) per year.

    1. RyokuMas

      ... and what else?

      Can't say I'm surprised - typical predatory pricing by Google. I'd rather pay the $38 and know that those visiting my site are not being tracked without their knowledge...

  10. Christian Berger

    People assume that success is correlated with competence

    It's not, it's mostly correlated with luck or inheriting money. Just because it's a 1 Billion company, it doesn't mean they have anybody who is good at what they are doing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: People assume that success is correlated with competence

      More to do with being less incompetent than their competitors methinks.

      1. Christian Berger

        Re: People assume that success is correlated with competence

        No not really. It simply doesn't matter.

        1. handleoclast

          Re: People assume that success is correlated with competence

          @Christian Berger

          @Christian Berger

          No not really. It simply doesn't matter.

          Almost, but not quite. It does matter, for some values of "matter."

          Business performance is largely a matter of luck. This has been confirmed by statistical analyses. The wunderkinds who get megabucks for supposedly making a business successful don't really deserve even a pat on the back. All they really managed to do was not fuck things up too badly at a time when luck happened to favour that particular business. To that extent, you are right.

          However, failure is correlated with incompetence. Failure can be caused by luck, just as success is, but it can also be caused by sheer stupidity. Ferranti buying International Signal Control as a poison pill to fend off a GEC takeover and poisoning itself comes to mind. GEC getting rid of its core competencies to concentrate on stuff it was no good at also comes to mind. Windows 8 and 10 also come to mind, although Microsoft hasn't gone bust yet.

          It's easy to fuck things up, it's hard to do things outstandingly well.

          1. Christian Berger

            Re: People assume that success is correlated with competence


            Well perhaps we can boil that down to, "from a certain level up competence does not matter". I mean clearly if they were to incompetent to set up any website they'd not have gotten to where they are now.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    You'd be surprised (or perhaps not) with companies employing 100s or 1000s of people, how often absolutely critical business and infrastructure matters come down to the expertise of a single person. It's as if the need for educated elders and leaders and hierarchy is hard-wired deep in the human psyche. I guess we were very much a pack animal in the dim and distant past.

    1. TheElder

      pack animal

      Apparently many still are. That is very obvious in the USA even if the top hot dog drools a lot.

      Some of us are a lone wolf though. That is why I own the domain

  12. Goit

    If everything worked 100% perfectly, most of us here would be out of a job.

    Don't be too hard on them, you have to give credit to the CEO for at least being honest and not mincing his words.

    Stercus accidit.

  13. MJB7


    Quote: A source familiar with the matter says Marketo has made a "substantial donation" to a charity chosen by Travis Pebble

    That's fairly classy if true. I can't decide whether not trumpeting about it is even classier, or whether it indicates it's not true, but they want some of the brownie points anyway.

    1. irishbucsfan

      Re: Classy

      Its true according to Prebble on twitter:

      "Okay, it's official! As a show of gratitude, @Marketo is donating $10K to @ProjectPinball ! Many MANY thanks to @nstevenlucas for this!"

  14. 404


    Has automatically renewed my domain for... 11 years now - never charged me for it and I'm... nobody really.

  15. BlackKnight(markb)

    SSL & DNS

    The 2 forgotten childern of service delivery. both have the power to inflict this level of damage.

    1. Donn Bly

      Re: SSL & DNS

      Quite true. Which is why I use Nagios monitor the internet-facing SSL certificates for all of my clients, whether they bought the certificates from me or not, and whether they host with me or not. More than once I have contacted a client or former client to inform them that the SSL on their ecommerce shopping cart at [insert-ecommerce-as-a-service-platform-here] was about to expire.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure it couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of people.

    That's one of the far too many phishy sounding spyware domains out there that, thanks to RequestPolicy and NoScript, I never allow to load on any website that I visit.

    To be honest, I'm very surprised that the activities of any of these sorts of companies can possibly be in compliance with EU Data Protection law, with regard to informed consent, "strictly necessary", etc, use of data, no matter what sort of Unsafe Harbor, Privacy Unshield, etc, smoke and mirrors the Wild West data badlands of the USA tries to cloak such activities under.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022