COMPANIES often spend thousands of dollars registering a domain name but many remain unaware that it can be lost overnight through simple administrative errors.
The loss of the intellectual property – your domain name – can even happen if the authority for registering the name is deferred to a third party.
WA-based Australian Drivers’ Rights Association lost its URLwww.adra.com to the Australian Dust Removalists’ Association recently because its domain registrar, Internet Registrations Australia, a reseller to Melbourne IT, did not renew the domain name by the required date.
The Australian domain name industry body, auDA, recently handed down a judgement in favour of the Australian Dust Removalists’ Association, citing it was within its legal rights to register the name.
And while the Australian Drivers’ Rights Association is considering legal action against Internet Registrations Australia, such action will not lead to the web address being reissued.
Registering a domain name is like registering for a driver’s licence – it’s your responsibility.
But, unlike with a driver’s licence, if you forget to renew the domain name it will be available within 14 days for another business to purchase.
According to auDA accredited domain registrar Explorer Domains sales consultant Eddie Pedini, not enough people realise the importance of domain name registration.
For example, if a contact person’s direct email is given and that person leaves the company, the renewal form may never turn up.
“When you register a domain name you are required to submit contact details that include an email address. If that email ceases to exist then it could cause problems,” Mr Pedini said.
“There is the facility to make changes to details but if people forget to do it, or over time those details are incorrect and its not possible to contact the company, then the domain name could get deleted.”
There are numerous domain name registrars and resellers offering registration from $65 up to $200.
It is important to check that the registrar or reseller is auDA accredited.
auDA is the Australian domain space regulator and can prove useful should you run into trouble with domain registration. The regulator cannot, however, protect you should your registration lapse.
auDA also provides consumer information and warnings regarding domain name registration.
Operations manager at Cygnet Interactive, a web design and search engine optimisation company, Antoinette Fisher, said there was a lack of awareness of how important a domain name was to doing business in the current marketplace.
“It’s your shop signage. You will not attract much by having m-2053.com. It’s like holding a party and not putting the address on there,” she said.
“About half of the market uses a search engine to find businesses
and you need to have a list of domains to help them find you.
“You cannot own too many domain names.
“There is no limit to the number of names you can register.”
Ms Fisher said a big mistake made by companies was to register the business name but not the type of business.
“You may have jackandsons.com but if you do not register that its bricklaying, say jackandsonsbrick-laying.com, then people may not be able to readily find you,” she said.
“People also buy abbreviations of names but they should really put a key word in there.”
Mr Pedini said it was important for companies to monitor the use of the password issued with the domain name.
“If a lot of people have moved in and out of the company and have had access to the password then it may be a good idea to change it,” he said.
“It has been known that unscrupulous employees have used the password to hijack websites. Under the new registration system it’s a bit more complicated but if someone has access to the password they can steal domain.
“They can turn off emails or anything related to the site. They can instruct the registry to direct all the information to a different computer.”
Mr Pedini said it was important to retain all documentation of domain registration.
“They should make sure they have the paperwork handy. That way if there is a problem you can lay your hands on the information,” he said.
Ms Fisher said companies needed to be make domain name registrations a priority.
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