One of the first steps in getting your presence on the World Wide Web established is to register your "domain name" or address (URL) on the Internet. Typically, your domain name would look something like this: http://www.yourcompany.com.

There are several ways to go about registering your name. Perhaps your ISP (Internet Service Provider) has registered it for you; perhaps your hosting provider has registered it for you; perhaps you went to one of the several online registration sites and did it yourself. Regardless, if you are thinking of registering a name, or if you already have, there are a few factors to consider.

Of particular interest is the name listed under "Registrant". This is the organization who actually owns (i.e. has the rights to) the domain name. In most if not all cases, this should be the company which owns the website.

The "Administrative Contact" and "Billing Contact" are generally the same person. This is the person within your company who is responsible for matters relating to your website.  It is best to use a position within your company rather than a person’s name.  This way if that person leaves, anyone can assume a position.

The "Technical Contact" is usually, but not always, a representative of your hosting provider. This person is responsible for matters relating to the hosting of your site.
If a hosting provider or ISP registers your name for you, you should make sure that the name is registered in your name, not in theirs. The reason for this is that the "Registrant" holds all legal rights to the name and can do what he/she wants with it…. sell it, transfer it, etc.

To check on the status of your name, go to http://www.betterwhois.com.  Pay careful attention to the persons listed as "Registrant" and "Administrative Contact". If the names listed are anyone other than a representative of your company, you may not actually own your domain name.
Your domain name is YOUR presence on the Internet – make sure your rights are protected!

April 1, 2000

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