Registering domain names the right way

Over the years we have transferred, hosted and registered a lot of domain names. Of all the issues we have faced the biggest is often the one which should never have occurred and at first glance seems to be the simplest of administrative errors, but can become the most difficult of problems.

It is important to note that domains are not bought and sold, so much as reserved for a fixed period. Registering a domain name entitles the registrant to have exclusive use of that domain name for the period of registration. After that period elapses the registrant has first refusal on renewal, else the domain registration lapses, and returns to the pool of available domains for someone else to register.

When a domain name is registered it requires several different contact elements to be completed, registrar, registrant, admin and technical. Each of these needs to be completed accurately, particularly in the case of ownership, the registrant section. This is the part of the record that defines the proper owner of the domain and is the part that is often not completed in the right way.

When we register a domain on your behalf we add your details to the registrant section. This means you own the domain. This is an important point as some parties who register domains on your behalf will put their own details into this section. This is not to dissolve ourselves of responsibility, this is because we believe this is how it should be. We have seen on too many occasions situations where a client thinks they own a domain only to later discover they do not, the entity who registered the domain on behalf of the client owns it and has therefore retained full control. Even though the client may have been charged for use of the domain, this does not constitute ownership.

As you can imagine this comes with its own set of issues, transferring a domain that does not belong to you is impossible and wrestling back control depends entirely on the parties you are negotiating with. In a similar vein to domain name squatters, companies can be held to ransom for what appears to have been a tiny administrative oversight. There are dispute resolution services for such events and thankfully New Zealand is one of the better places for this, but this is limited to domains specific to New Zealand. Step over an international border and things get a whole lot more complicated.

While we continue to work very hard to ensure we don’t lose clients, we don’t believe in tying anyone down either. Perhaps you need to transfer a domain away, perhaps you’ve sold a domain you no longer need, how much harder would life be be if you didn’t own the domains you thought you owned?

Insist on your domains being properly registered. If you have any queries or would like to discuss your domain registration or domain transfer further, please get in touch.