The most important component of your web presence, don't lose it!! When starting out on the Internet, the very first thing in every case is to register YOUR Domain Name.
There are literally hundreds that will do this for you or provide the service anywhere from $3.95 to $70.00 /year.
But as this is the most important point of your web presence forever, proceed knowing all the facts and not just the price.
If you need to get the cheapest service, you will get lost somewhere along the way. If you need to save $20 on the value of your business?? not sure how to complete that statement without losing you!
However, if you want some honest advice please read on;
Ever since the domain registry was de-regulated and opened up on the open market it has been a feeding frenzy to gain as many as possible. Let's face it a domain registry list is a great tool to build a contact list for sales and other marketing needs. The most important factor on the Internet today and in the future is traffic and if you can own or have access to many domains, result? Traffic. It's like gold.
The rules are quite simple:
1) If you are registering a new domain on your own, make sure you research a reputable registrar/host who does not provide a $3 service and ends up owning your name. Make sure that YOU are listed as the REGISTRANT and ADMINISTRATIVE CONTACT
2) Make sure the email address you use for Administrative contact will be alive for a long time.. Don't use a temporary hotmail account or your spouses' work email as in one or two years from now they may no longer be valid and believe me the work involved in changing the administrative contact email address from an obsolete address is a major task and with a bit of simple pre-planning, can be avoided when you need to renew, make hosting or other changes.
3) You will need a place to park the domain. What this means is you will need a server address where the domain will reside either temporarily or permanently. You hosting company can provide this (they can also take care of domain registration on your behalf)
4) If you have someone else registering on your behalf, make sure they use you as the Registrant and Administrative contact. In some cases it may be okay for the third part to use an alternate email address for administrative contact to manage the technical items that come up during registration and renewals. But the main thing is do not let your business or family name be lost to others, make sure you will have full ownership and control.
Below is an example of how the domain information should look. It is for our domain and as you will notice there are no third party names or information, so that means that no-one can sell, move or disable our domain name.
Even although my name (Parker, John) is listed as administrative contact (below), the email address is webmaster@ which is company owned address which can be assigned to anyone the business decides. That way if John gets mad/fired or decides to leave the company, the ownership remains with the business.
Whois information for rightfast.com
1403-1011 Upper Middle Road
Oakville, ON L6H 5Z9
Domain Name: RIGHTFAST.COM
The worst case is when you register through a hosting company, without following the safety rules and after a year or so you decide to move to a new host, then you find out they have a lock on your domain and you have no way to make a simple change. Note, the only one who can authorize a change is an Administrative Contact so if it is an address outside of your control, it could be a complicated change. You may be happy today, but why wait for a time when you have a disagreement with your supplier only to find they have a lock on your domain!
Another very important reason for control of the admin contact is that when the domains come up for renewal notice is sent by email to the admin contact. If you or someone acting on your behalf are not getting these notices and forget (which you will) your domain will expire and your website and email will stop!
There are many prowlers looking for domain names that expire and services that provide watch services for this very thing. Let's look at an extreme example if someone at GOOGLE.COM forgot to renew their domain name and someone managed to register after it expired, can you imagine how much traffic they would inherit!! Okay yes an extreme case, but only because Google registered the name and have control of the ownership and administration as it is their business.. (Google also paid about $35/yr to register and renew, but I bet they are not looking for a cheaper registrar!!).
One of the tactics we get most of our problems from are companies who, in my opinion, deceive domain owners by sending renewal notices either by regular mail or email. When you read the small print they explain what they are about which keeps them above the law, but let's be honest, how many of us deal with domain name registration more than once in a blue moon and usually the notice ends up in accounts payable who assume it is a genuine renewal as all the information is accurate and now we have a problem as your domain is about to be transferred!!
Luckily legitimate registrars have introduced safety measures to block unauthorized transfer, but there are still many who are taken advantage of by these predators who take advantage of a marketplace of individuals and businesses who are not fully aware of the domain name registration process and possible consequences.
Rightfast.com is not a registrar, I point that out now so that it is clear we are not selling domain registration. We are providing this advise as over the past 10 years we have helped many customers recover their domain names from hawks and prowlers and services that just wanted to maintain control of someone else's property under the pretence of "don't worry I will take care of everything"..
If you would like some unbiased advice on how to proceed with your domain name either new or how to manage an existing domain name please do not hesitate to contact us.