A domain name is one of the most important assets an online business owns. For many customers, the domain name is the business. It’s how people blogs and eCommerce stores on the web. It’s the name that comes to mind when people think of a business. Online businesses invest a substantial proportion of their marketing budgets promoting their domain.
That’s why it’s surprising that many new online businesses are so cavalier in their approach to managing and securing their domain. Although a domain name is a small expense for a new business, its value isn’t represented by how much it cost, but by how much is invested to promote it and the damage that would be done to the company if control over the domain were lost.
Domains grow in value as the company grows and its brand becomes more recognizable. Founders should have a clear understanding of the status of their domain at all times.
Who Controls The Domain?
If you’ve been in the web hosting world for any length of time, you’ll have heard stories of site owners and business founders who asked an employee or friend to register a domain for them. That person registers the domain in their name. They then have a falling out with the business, which loses control of its domain overnight.
It is difficult and time-consuming to have a domain transferred from one person to another without the permission of the original registrant. In most cases, it isn’t possible. If a business loses a domain in this way, the most likely resolution will involve throwing money at the person who registered the domain until they agree to transfer it.
The lesson: make sure you know who registered the domain, who controls the account with the domain registrar, and ensure that the company retains control over the domain if a founder or employee leaves.
Who Gets Domain Renewal Notices?
When you register a domain, you rent it for a period of time. When that time is up, it goes back into the pool and can be bought by someone else — if this happens, your business is in the position we discussed in the section above.
Domain registrars try to let you know when your domain is about to expire: most send multiple emails beginning a couple of months before the domain expires. That only helps if the emails are being read by someone who is trusted by the owners of the business.
Try To Register Equivalent gTLDs
If you register a domain name, try to register the equivalent .com, .net, .org, and other alternatives among the most popular TLDs.
With the proliferation of new top-level domains, it’s not feasible to register all alternatives. That’s fine, because it’s unlikely anyone will mistake “mybusiness.fish” for the legitimate site of the business usually located at “mybusiness.com”.
But if your business becomes popular, its reputation can be damaged if a malicious third-party registers a domain that could be confused for the legitimate domain of the business.
When you first start a business, the domain name might seem like small potatoes, but as your business grows, you’ll wish you’d paid more attention to verifying your control over its domain.Posted in: eCommerce