You Need To Own All Your Domain Names, Passwords and Access Codes
Do you own the rights to everything in your business? Particularly, do you own the rights to your domain name? Do you own the rights to your website server? How about your Google My Business page? Are all of your business social media accounts under your control? These are serious questions with potentially serious consequences should you answer any of these questions with a “No”. You need to own the keys to your castle as a business owner and here’s why.
First of all, what is a domain name? A domain is what is used to assign web addresses to servers. Your “URL”, or web address, uses your domain name. Example, abccollisionmytown.com. Know this, no one actually “owns” their domain name, in reality you own the “rights” to use that domain name. Or you should. But our experience has shown that someone else often owns the rights and that is a problem. If YOU don’t own the rights to your business domain and everything else related to your business online, you could be setting yourself up for heartaches. Consider these examples of what can go wrong…
Tennessee Shop Pays Through The Nose To Regain Control of Their Domain Name
A shop in Tennessee wanted Optima Automotive to build them a website. They told their former developer of their plans to move on and no longer enlist their services for online marketing. Unfortunately for this shop, the former developer owned the rights to this shop’s domain name. This developer told the shop they had no interest in releasing the rights to the domain name to the shop, that is unless the shop wanted to pay a ridiculous amount for it.
Owning the rights to your domain shouldn’t cost more than $10-15 a year. I tell shops to purchase their rights in 5-10 year blocks of time so they don’t have to worry about it for a long time. Unfortunately we’ve heard where some developers will penalize you for as much as $1,000 or more to get the rights to your business domain name. Even worse, some developers will “rent” the domain back to you for way more than $10-15 a year. For this shop in Tennessee the former developer threatened to shut down the website simply by telling the domain registration company that there was no website associated with that domain name. That sucked for the shop because not only did this impact their website, it also shut down their email which was under that domain name as well. I’ll bet many of you have email associated with your domain name too, and if you don’t own the rights to it you could find yourself in their shoes someday if your developer has ethics like this one did.
Hawaii Shop’s Domain Registration Lapsed
Several years ago a shop called us and said their website was down. We hosted their website so of course we jumped right in to see what the issue was. The website was on the server and there were no issues, so something else was awry. We checked their domain registration because that must be current and paid for in order to have a website show up. That was the issue, the domain registration had expired. The owner of the rights to their domain had been a personal friend of the shop owner and he had unfortunately passed away. Renewal notices had been emailed to a deceased person who, not surprisingly, didn’t take action on these renewal notices. When that happens, the domain registration company (through their domain name servers) no longer tells computers where a website is hosted. As a result it appears that the website is down. Each day that passed by the website wasn’t online and their emails weren’t working either. Missed opportunities to fix cars. All because they didn’t own the keys to their own castle.
Own the Keys To Your Castle
Again… You need to have ownership rights to your own business domain unless you completely trust the person or company that registers it for you. Even then it would be better if you owned it. It’s your castle and you should have all the keys to it. Chalk this up to what you don’t know that you don’t know if you find yourself in this situation. Who owns the rights to your domain? When does it expire? Check here: https://www.whois.com/whois In addition, if you pay your registration services a little extra, you can have your registration information hidden from public view. This will cut down on getting annoying and confusing solicitations and protect you from falling prey to their tactics.
If anything, give these keys to your castle to a trusted attorney who is in charge of the owner’s estate should something happen, with strict instructions that these be given out ASAP to a specific person in the shop in the event of the owner’s demise.
Learn from the above and take control. Doing so will potentially save you major headaches and money.