Domain ownership is one of the most important assets for business owners to protect and yet it is something that often gets overlooked until it’s too late. One of the most unfortunate scenarios we run across as a web design agency is attempting to get a domain transferred either to the business owner’s account or to our account and an unethical employee or small agency is essentially holding the domain hostage. Most often when a situation like this arises, it ends positively for our clients with the domain safely back in their name. But the situation can easily turn sour for the business owner, potentially ending with the unethical person demanding money in exchange for the domain, interrupting email from coming through the website or worse, you losing your domain name.
Do you know if your domain is in your name?
It seems like a simple question, but sometimes business owners don’t know if they do in fact own their domain name. The easiest way to find out is try logging into your domain registrar account. If you don’t have the credentials for that, this may be the first sign that someone else has your domain in their name. Oftentimes, owners let their web developer set up the domain name and don’t think to obtain and change the login information or make sure that it’s in the name of their business and not the web developer’s name.
Another way to verify if you’re indeed the owner of your domain is to do a WHOIS and find out who is the Registrant and who is the Admin on the domain. Click here and see who the contacts are.
Often people leave only one person in charge of the domain name that is loosely tied to the business and this is a definite no-no. You want to have people who are legally bound to the company as the registrant (typically the owner of the domain) and admin (a person to handle the technical side) associated with the domain. In the event of a domain transfer, the domain registrar sends a code to the admin email only and it can get messy when that admin email is not you or someone you trust that is associated with the company.
Here are some best practices when setting up your new domain or changing the contact info on your current domain:
- Change the password for the domain registrar account and keep it somewhere safe. Do this especially after an employee who had access at one point leaves the company.
- Ensure that the registrant name is either your name or the legal name of your business.
- Make sure the emails are correct and are working.
- Consider using a Gmail as the domain contact email. That way you will be able to access your email if there’s something wrong with your domain, which would interrupt a @yourdomain.com email.
- Even if you’re letting a web developer or agency handle your domain, make sure it’s still in the name of your business and not theirs.
The take away is don’t ever let someone not associated with the company control your domain ownership. It could cost you time, money, stress and even your domain in the long run. Take a few minutes to check up on your domain and make sure it’s protected.