All too often the Support Team here at DomainTools receives disconcerting stories from registrants who have no control over their domain names or websites. What is entirely surprising is how many registrants shift control of their business’ domain and/or website to outside resources without building a solid understanding as to how to manage their own domain assets.
With many trustworthy Registrars in today’s domain registration marketplace, with their volumes of Help and Support knowledge resources, it is mind boggling at times that people still blindly trust others to handle what may very well be one of their most crucial business decisions.
I have found that there are five basic tips that can be useful, to even the most novice domain registrants:
1. Registering your own domain name is simple. If you sign up for Facebook, you can create a user account at a Registrar of your choice. The information fields you will be asked to fill out are pretty basic and take only minutes to fill out. You should expect a confirmation email in order to verify your account. Again this is a fairly standard protocol in today’s online world. The verification email is also a great way to become familiar with how your registrar contacts you and so you can add them to any ‘safe’ lists you may have. This will ensure that you don’t miss any important communications from them during the registration lifecycle. Help and Support information links are usually provided with these communications as well.
2. Don’t let anyone else register your own domain name. Avoid the “I let my sister’s, in-law’s, brother’s aunt whose son’s girlfriend’s, sisters hair dressers, cousin who work down at the docks and dabbles in web design, register my domain name” scenario. Friends and family are great, don’t get me wrong. However, YOU should be the point of contact managing your domain assets. DomainTools receives at least half a dozen inquiries each day from registrants trying to access or reclaim their names because they allowed someone else to register it. One day a registrant is communicating with their ‘web person’ then the next they have disappeared into thin air, leaving them with no access or ability to manage their domain asset. By choosing to use one of the more popular or well known domain registration providers you can rest assured that they will be there when you need them. Many have 24 hour online and phone support and likely live chat with a real customer service representative.
3. Understand the WHOIS requirements. All ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) accredited registries must comply with the WHOIS database requirements. As such, when you register a domain name, ICANN requires your domain name registrar to submit your personal information to the WHOIS database. Once your listing appears in the online directory, it is publicly available to anyone who chooses to check it using a WHOIS search tool such as DomainTools. ICANN does a very thorough job of providing information on Registrant Rights & Responsibilities.
4. WHOIS privacy services are available to every Registrant. There is no disputing the potential risk of falling victim to hackers, spammers or other nefarious players by having your personal information made publicly available. However, you (and other registrants) should know the may absolutely use a privacy protection service to mask their public WHOIS data details. Most of the major registrars offer privacy services and if registrants. Not sure if your own registrar does? Ask and find out.
5. Get peace of mind through multi-year registrations. Just before submitting the final check out button to pay for your domain name purchase, many Registrars will offer you the opportunity to register the domain name for multiple years. This may seem like an upsell but in fact this is an opportunity for the registrant to lock in their name for years to come. Many will offer 2, 3, 4, or 5 years registration. The main benefit is that you will not have to worry about the yearly renewals and the possibility of missing the notification. If you decide to choose the single year option, a domain-monitoring tool such as Domain Monitor from DomainTools can be a handy tool in your management ‘tool box’. Access to Domain Monitor is free with a Novice account from DomainTools.