Protecting your domain name
How to avoid losing your domain name… a cautionary tale.
One of the first things you do when you start a new business, is to register your domain name. You logon to your provider of choice, select an available .com or .com.au domain name and pay your fee. It’s pretty exciting when you first do it, and it will go on to form a critical part of your business identity.
The problem is, that after you’ve registered it, it’s easy to forget about it.
You forget where it’s registered and who to call if you’ve got questions. Then you forget to renew it… Before you know it, your email has stopped working, your website is down and in the worst-case scenario, someone has jumped in and stolen your domain name from you!
Now, someone can’t actually steal your domain name. Because you don’t actually own it. When you pay for your domain name, you’re actually buying a license to use it, and this is why you need to renew your domain name on a regular basis.
So, how do you protect your domain name?
Make sure you’re registered with a reputable domain name host or technology partner.
Setup auto-renewal. This means that your domain name renewal will happen automatically via your credit card and you won’t have to remember to do it manually (and risk losing your domain name when someone else claims it).
Know who to call. Keep record of who manages your domain and how to get help with it should you need it.
Finally, beware the scammers.
A common question we get asked is, “I got this renewal notice in the post about my domain from ‘International Business Internet Directory Services Inc’. They tell me I need to pay $799 to renew my domain, should I just go pay that?”
This is a scam that’s almost older than the fax machine. These companies send out what look like legitimate domain name renewal notices for domain names that are the same as yours, or similar to yours in order to either have you unknowingly transfer management of your domain name to them (instead of your trusted partner) or to have you register for completely new domain names that you think belong to you because they are similar to the domain name you actually have registered (you probably don’t want to register to be the proud owner of yourbusinessname-bolivia.co.uk).
Just like scam emails, these letters usually show the common signs of a scam. The addresses are slightly or sometimes wildly different from your actual domain name. Or the “International Business Internet Directory Services Inc.” that sent you this is so obviously generic that they may as well have called themselves “ACME Inc.” We’re always here to help advise you and your staff on what likely constitutes a scam, but scams are something I recommend your educate all your staff about on a regular basis.
Your domain name renewal will come from your known and trusted provider or partner and will actually have YOUR domain name on it.
Don’t be the business that loses your domain name.
It has huge ramifications, not just for the brand you’ve worked so hard to build, but for the systems in your business that rely on it, like your emails and your website.
And if you need help to register your domain name, or have many assets that you’d like someone to manage for you in a central place, then talk to your trusted IT partner.
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