Are You Master of Your Own Domain? by Kate Smalley

This is an important topic for anyone who currently has a website and domain name,
as well as for anyone interested in building an internet identity. I am sharing not only
from personal experience (I have five active websites online at this time) but from my
business, Connecticut Secretary, and the projects I have been involved with in creating
and building websites for my customers.

Oftentimes customers will approach me after they have already chosen a domain name.
What I investigate first is who actually owns that domain name. I no longer ask the
customer directly, because 99.9% of the time the response is always “I do!” when in fact
many of them unwittingly do not. Determining this is an easy step; you simply go to an
independent domain registrar such as Register.com, http://www.register.com, and type in
the domain name and choose whois when the results pop up. Feel free to go and type in
connecticutsecretary.com and choose whois.
You will see that I, Kate Smalley, am listed as the owner and administrative contact for
Connecticut Secretary. The technical contact is simply the hosting service I have chosen.

The problem we run into is when individuals have chosen to purchase their domain name
through a hosting service at a discounted rate. The hosting service is the company that
purchases and owns your domain name, and in essence you sometimes just end up renting
it along with your hosting service. This is a great way for the hosting company to ensure
continued business. Think about if, in the future, you decide to change hosting services.
Who do you think you will have to contact to have your domain redirected to another
hosting provider? How anxious do you think they will be to provide service to you?

How quickly do you feel they will redirect your url? What will happen if they forget to renew
your domain name and someone else obtains control and ownership of it? What happens if
that hosting company goes out of business? I have seen it happen. To take this
conversation one step further, there are now hosting companies that will purchase the
domain in your name, so you are the official owner, but they
still retain control over your usage of the account. An important point to remember is that
ownership of an account as well as having the ability to use the account are important
features when deciding how to purchase your domain name.

“…in essence you sometimes just end up renting… ”

I am not saying this is a fact with all hosting companies; I only ask you to consider it for
your own well-being and future viability on the internet. Purchasing a domain name yourself
is only a matter of spending a few extra dollars per year, and is well worth the security of
knowing you are the owner and the one in control of your domain. Consider the amount of
work that you have put in to targeting and obtaining traffic through the search engines on
your keywords and search terms. Think about all the business you will loose if you have to
start over again with a new domain name from scratch.I have changed hosting companies
for Connecticut Secretary once. As my traffic increased, with my other hosting company,
they limited my services and at times shut my site down because of server load. This was
an important issue for me, as it resulted in lost sales and potential customer dissatisfaction,
to say the least. Because I owned my domain independent of the hosting company,
changing hosts was a very simple procedure. All I had to do was start services with a new
hosting company and redirect my URL to that hosting company. Once the transfer was
complete I was back in business without a hitch. There was work involved with rebuilding
my site of course, but I was prepared for that. If I lost my domain name I would have lost
a tremendous amount of existing traffic and potential business, not to mention my business
identity that I had worked hard for.

“…ownership of an account as well as having the ability to use the account are
important features… ”

There are so many topics that we can go into regarding domain names and your business
on the internet: Cyber squatters and your responsibilities with regards to trademark
policing, dispute resolution, the increase of typo squatters on the internet, choosing a
relevant domain name, how to promote your business on the net through domain names,
and so much more. With this article on domain name ownership, Connecticut Secretary
wants to convey the fact that a domain name is a valuable asset, and I suggest that you
take the time now to check and verify who actually owns your domain name. If you are
about to start the process of obtaining an internet identity I suggest that you take the time
to consider the future ramifications of the decisions you make today.
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Copyright 2003
Kate Smalley, President
Connecticut Secretary
Specializing in Transcription and Freelance
Secretarial Services
http://www.connecticutsecretary.com
kms@connecticutsecretary.com
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About the author:
Kate Smalley, President – Connecticut Secretary, Specializing in Transcription and Freelance
Secretarial Services
www.connecticutsecretary.com
kms@connecticutsecretary.com

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