Register Domain Names in Your Name | DomainInvesting.com

Register Domain Names in Your Name

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I’ve been doing quite a bit of emailing to business owners seeking advertisements on my websites or domain sales. I have noticed that many sites only have a phone number on the contact page, which prevents me from emailing the company directly. When I encounter a website without an email address, I generally do a Whois search to find a good contact email.

You wouldn’t believe how many domain names appear to have the contact information for web developers and designers instead of the actual business owner. I am sure this is either because the developer sold a package to the business and registered the business domain name in their own company name or they just wanted to have control of the domain name so they wouldn’t have to rely on the business owner to make DNS changes…etc.

This can and does lead to problems for business owners. On a personal level, I bought a domain name at auction that was complementary to one of my developed websites. A couple weeks later, I received emails from the company and its webmaster informing me about  all of the marketing and advertising they have done for this generic domain name and asking me to sell it back. According to them, one of the designer’s employees had control of the domain name and no longer works at the company, so the name expired.

Whether it’s accidental or malicious, this type of thing happens quite a bit. Most domain investors don’t face this issue, but most domain investors know small business owners who might be inclined to do this, and there are more reasons why they shouldn’t do it than should.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (8)

    David J Castello

    Excellent post, Elliot. This is a huge problem with small businesses. We see this all the time and it ends badly when the webmaster parts company with the client and then tries to take the name for “payment of services due” or some other reason (which usually has to do with the fact they are angry at being fired).

    March 19th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Elliot

    @ David

    Yeah – doing this opens the door to possible accidental or malicious ways to separate a business from its domain name.

    March 19th, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Grant

    It works both ways though. I tell my associates that buy domains to always buy in their names, and I tell my web design hosting buddies to always try to buy the domain.

    You would be surprised how many designers/hosts get stuck with non payment. Even when they take 50%, they can still lose a bunch of they don’t get paid. Holding the domain gives them a little leverage.

    Even if your attention is not to hold the domain “hostage”, you can still get a nice upsell fee for registering the domain.

    March 19th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    David J Castello

    @Grant
    You actually tell your associates to do that? Legally, your playing with fire. Today, holding a domain “hostage” will get someone yanked into court and I don’t mean UDRP. If a designer/host gets stiffed it’s much better (and ethical) to take it to Small Claims Court or Mediation.

    March 19th, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Michael Carter

    i remember a seinfeld episode where george “borrowed” a clock in order to maintain ties to a woman – it didn’t end well – holding a domain name hostage might easily lead to theft – the domain name s/b property of the business owner.

    March 19th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Zak Muscovitch

    I get contacted all the time by small business owners that had their web developer ‘take care’ of their web site etc. only to realize years later that they don’t have control of their domain name and their web developer has left the country/cannot be found/won’t respond to emails etc. Often they only realize they are in trouble after the web site goes down or the domain is not renewed. I had one guy contact me to try and get his company’s domain name back after he realized that his web developer /domain ‘care-taker’ had left to the UK – permanently. It ended up cheaper and easier for the client to fly from Toronto to London and back, pay the guy off in person, and have him execute a transfer, than to deal with it through legal channels.

    And I see this kind of thing more and more. A lot of small business who have now been around up to 10 years on the net are only now taking a more active interest in their domain.

    March 19th, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Freddy

    bought a domain name at auction that was complementary to one of my developed websites. A couple weeks later, I received emails from the company and its webmaster .

    March 24th, 2010 at 10:30 am

    tiffany

    i remember a seinfeld episode where george “borrowed” a clock in order to maintain ties to a woman – it didn’t end well – holding a domain name hostage might easily lead to theft – the domain name s/b property of the business owner.

    April 10th, 2010 at 10:41 am

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