Back when the sitcom known as Seinfeld was still on the air, Jerry Seinfeld used to joke that he was the master of his domain. That was easy for him to say. He was taking in millions of dollars at the time.
Me? I'm not even the master of my domain names. Years ago, I registered MarkPettigrew.com. But then I let my payments to GoDaddy.com lapse, so I lost that domain name. Now I find, when I try to re-register it, that it's already "taken" (although there are other variations in terms of domain name extensions).
The same thing happens when I try to register ArtisticChristians.com (in which I invested a fair amount of time, when creating an earlier website at that address). In addition, I lost the full site which existed at that address, when I fell behind on the hosting fees. I'd backed up all of the files for the ArtisticChristians.com site, but even if I were to start up another hosting account with GoDaddy, I'd have to do some substantial editing of the site just to update it so that all of the links to internal pages went to the correct new pages which reflected the domain name change. To say nothing of having to update the various blogs of mine which linked and still link to pages at the original domain name.
This is just one of the hassles associated with the period of unemployment and related poverty I've experienced during the past several years. It isn't as devastating as (say) losing one's entire home in a tornado in Joplin, but it's pretty frustrating, nevertheless. The more heavily one gets involved with various web-based endeavors, the more of a hassle it can be to keep track of all of the necessary payments (even when most of one's web content is on free services, as my Blogger.com blogs still are) and password changes, and to regularly renew all of one's subscriptions.
Apparently, the world is full of "domain name vultures" who have some way of finding out which domain names have recently become available again, just so that they can swoop in and buy them up and then try to re-sell them to the people who owned them in the first place. I assume that that's what's going on. I can remotely conceive of people wanting MarkPettigrew.com (since there are a few other people of that name in the world) and ArtisticChristians.com (since I'm hardly the only artistic Christian), but I think that the "vulture" theory is far more plausible in my case.
Thankfully, I hadn't put a lot of money into promoting those names via printed materials, TV advertising and the like. But even after my financial situation is back where it ought to be, there's going to be a lot of work involved in recovering, to the best of my abilities, what I never should have lost in the first place. And I may end up settling for domain names which aren't as good as the ones I had earlier.
This is just one of the reasons why I need to find a way to get a regular source of income sufficient to enable me to protect my domain names and the various sites associated with those names.
Maybe some company ought to come up with some kind of "domain name insurance" and "hosting insurance" to cover those times when one is on the verge of losing those things because of one's financial situation. (Hmmm, I wonder if one could protect one's domain name via trademarks, by simply including the extension in the trademark, so that if someone tries to take it, one can sue that someone for trademark infringement.)
I will try to be much more careful in the future, because I can't afford to pay money just to get back assets which were originally mine..