Domain Name "Slamming"

We have discussed in past months the importance of keeping your domain name registration information current. This month, I felt the need to reiterate just how important your domain name is to your business, and how important it is to make sure that you understand who your domain name is registered with.  

I will not rehash the details of how to register a name. More information on that topic is available in our May 2001 newsletter. Instead, this article will focus on which company your domain name is registered through.

Selecting a domain name registrar (the company your domain name is registered through) is much like selecting a long distance telephone carrier. There are several companies offering domain name registration, and they all claim to be the best... much like long distance carriers. However, a disturbing trend in recent months also mirrors the "long distance" analogy - what I like to refer to as "domain name slamming".  

What happens is this:  
You receive an email, or a letter in your mailbox, telling you that it is time to renew your domain name. There are all kinds of dire warnings about how failure to renew will result in your losing your domain name. Of course, this concerns you, so you immediately call in your credit card number or send off a check so as to not lose your domain name.

However, if you read the "fine print" on the notice, you will find that (1) your domain name may not actually be expiring for several months, and (2) the company that sent you the "renewal" notice is not even the company that you registered your name with. By "renewing" your name using the "renewal" notice, you are actually TRANSFERRING your domain name from your old registrar to a new one. Typically, the fee that you are charged is used to extend your registration period for a year or two. However, your name is now registered with the new company - not the one you originally chose.

Is this a problem? Other than the fact that it is blatantly misleading (remind you of the long distance carriers?), I assume that there is a reason why you chose your original registrar. The new one may have terrible customer support, may be more expensive, or may be harder to deal with.
The moral of the story: ANY decision regarding your domain name should not be taken lightly. Your domain name, like the rest of your website, is your identity on the Web. This is not a place to "learn as you go" as mistakes and bad decisions will be very time-consuming and expensive to fix. If you are not absolutely sure what you are agreeing to, ask your website design or hosting company to explain. Or, give us a call at Virtualtech and we would be happy to answer your questions.

May 1, 2002

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