As a domain reseller, I often purchase domains on behalf of customers. When the domain is due to expire (typically annually), those customers receive automated email messages warning them of the impending expiration so they have time to contact me and renew the domain. These messages are sent 90 days before expiration, then 60 days, then 30, 15, 5, and 1. In other words, there’s plenty of warning.

One of my customers ignored those warnings for months, and contacted me a few weeks ago wondering why his web site was down. I explained that the domain had expired, I hadn’t renewed it, and now no one on the internet could find him. He decided he wanted to go ahead and renew it, but it had been too long and the domain had entered what’s called the “redemption period”. There are strange rules about expired domains– the general intent is to prevent competitors from seizing a domain that’s accidentally expired and bad-mouthing a company or whatever. Anyway, late in that period (which usually lasts around 45 days) the domain enters a special phase where no one, including the original owner, can purchase it. You simply have to wait until the redemption period ends, and then buy it as if it was new.

Strangely enough, registrars don’t always know exactly when a domain will become available. The global registry, run by ICANN, has internal policies that aren’t very transparent. Long story. Interestingly, this has led to the rise of registrars who offer special services to pounce on a specific domain as soon as it becomes available by essentially requesting to register it every few hours until the magic (and unknown) redemption period ends.

Long story short: some Japanese company did exactly that and purchased the domain that had belonged to my customer. It was legitimate, although sort of confusing since the domain was pretty specific to this customer’s business. In any case, they put up their new web site and the word awesome doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Since I’m not fluent in Japanese, I ran this page through Google Translate and was pleased to discover that the web site is advertising…

wait for it…

an armpit hair removal system. If you wonder why the woman is so shiny and happy, it’s apparently because she has smooth, bare pits. And look at the way the little anime boy just adores his armpit-hair-less girlfriend. Amazing.

Unfortunately for my customer, his only recourse is to approach this company and ask politely if they’d be willing to sell the domain back to him. Good luck with that.