Can You Prove That You Really Own Your Website?

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property-titleWouldn’t it be scary to think that you may have signed the ‘title’ of your web domain over to a stranger? I’m not trying to scare you, but a little healthy respect is good for your business. Do you think you’re too small an operation to think about this now? Could you have already given it all away? Maybe you don’t think you have. Are you sure? Can you prove ownership in a court of law? Do your really own your website? Does the ‘title’ have an expiration date? If it does, do you know when that is? If there’s a typographical error in the company name, or address, do you know how to fix it?

What to do?

First priority for you as a current or future domain owner; SAFEGUARD THE ‘title’ to your internet property! Because no-one else can do that for you as well as you can. Given the opportunity, there will always be those aiming to steal it out from under your very nose. Even the folks that aren’t out to ‘get you’ can make a mistake that can cost you hours-and-hours of work to repair.

Reg·is·trar: an official recorder or keeper of records: as

a: an officer of an educational institution responsible for registering students, keeping academic records, and corresponding with applicants and evaluating their credentials

b: an admitting officer at a hospital.

Let me explain; your internet home on wheels IS the domain name for your business website. A domain registrar holds the public record of your ‘title’ to that home. The registrar entry is the legal record of domain ownership and shows who is legitimately involved with each domain name.

Think of your domain name registration (at NetworkSolutions.net, ICAAN.net, Register.com, etc.) as a unique and well known 1-800 phone number and the hosting of your website as the lot where your home on wheels is parked. The phone number is able to go with you from lot to lot, address to address, state to state and everyone recognizes it. Indexes that the search engines have created will point to your 1-800 number no matter what lot (web host) it’s located on.

There are at least three offices/titles associated with any registered domain name. They are the Administrative Contact, Technical Contact and Billing Contact. What do these mean to you as a domain owner?

  • Administrative Contact – indicates the recognized owner (think of this as the official deed holder) of the domain name. This is the only entity (organization or person) that can make changes to the other contact information.
  • Technical Contact – In most cases this is the company that is hosting the site. Think of this as the building superintendent that keeps ‘your building’ in working order.
  • Billing Contact – This information tells who is supposed to get the invoice/bill for the domain registration fees. The billing period may be annual, bi-annual or longer. This is probably you.

There are several well written articles about this on the internet.

Be aware that the email address recorded as the Admin Contact is very, very important. This is the recognized and accepted channel through which the Registrar will confirm anyone’s authority to request the changes to domain records. If incorrect, there will be some very difficult steps ahead to correct this.

We recommend that you closely monitor the expiration date of your domain record. Every domain registrar tracks this and you can easily find out what that date is. Watch for it and don’t let it lapse. This would be an open invitation for the ‘bad guys’ to snatch it up and do anything they want with the domain. A direct competitor of yours could now direct all the traffic that would arrive at your site to theirs. Someone could turn your site into an online casino, a site for some get rich quick scheme or worse; a porn site. Just think of all the existing links to you from other websites and search engines that will then point ‘your’ visitors to someone else’s new website!

Learn to read your site traffic reports. It is important that your web host provides up-to-date and clearly understandable statistics. Without this skill, how are you going to be able to monitor the effectiveness of your website efforts? Ask us to help you with this, we’d love to teach you how!

Make the website part of your overall business strategy. Make sure everyone that answers inquiries, knows what functions and information the website has and how it is organized so they can direct inquiries to the website for the latest and greatest. This will increase visits and repeat visits. Referring a caller to the page with the right answer will also reduce time-consuming “frequently asked question” phone calls.

We cover details about your domain in our Free Evaluation. If you are visiting our website and feel you need more information, then please give us a phone call and set up a face-to-face meeting so we can review your situation to help you become an online success. Then we can discuss the next steps to improve your web presence and your bottom line.

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