It’s a bad dream for a lot of web-based organizations: someone forgets to renew a domain registration and you face days — or perhaps permanent — disruption of your service.
That seems to be what has happened to the City of Berkeley, at least for people who visit its cityofberkeley.info domain. Visitors to that site today find a standard page for Register.com, where the old domain was registered. A WhoIs search for the cityofberkeley.info domain suggests that someone in the city administration was alerted today about the expiration, since the newest record for the domain was lodged today. Information on Internet domains is stored on domain name servers, and the data is generally updated daily. With the renewal of the cityofberkeley.info domain today, most users should be able to see the proper site within the next 24 hours.
Berkeley’s other domain, ci.berkeley.ca.us, was not affected by the registration snafu.
The website might not be such a big problem, but city councilmembers as well as Mayor Bates have recently switched their public email addresses from the ci.berkeley.ca.us domain to the .info domain. Emails to those addresses today were being returned with the message, “Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently”.
Google searches for “city of berkeley” return the working domain, not the .info domain. All city information and services should be available on both domains.
Update According to Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, public information officer for the city, the IT department is aware of the problem and is checking to see if any customers were affected by the website failure. The department is also looking to see why the disruption occurred.