Pay your bill on-time! ... especially when there are a lot of people relying on your service!
I noticed that on Saturday, Gravatar.com, the service that provides global-recognised avatars from the hash of your email, went off line and can no longer be contacted. DNS won't resolve, so I fired up
WHOIS to check what has been changed. It turned out that the domain has expired, and the owner has not yet managed to renew it.
Gravatar is heavily used by blog and forum sites to display avatar images of individual authors. Its service is used here as well to display avatar image next to comments.
Why the domain is not automatically renewed? Out of many domains that I have purchased, every single one of them has auto-renewal turned on by default. I know, it might just be a strategy implemented by the evil registrars to keep their customers, but it really saved webmasters a lot of headache, when he/she has many expiry dates to remember. When it comes to renewal, just automatically charge my credit card. Easy.
I have just checked the
WHOIS again, and apparently domain has finally been renewed for an extra year, but I still have not been able to resolve. Such a headache waiting for DNS updates to propagate. It would be a much bigger trouble, if the domain gets snatched by a spammer who later on replaced all avatars with pr0n thumbnails. That would be a disaster.