Checklist - Confirm Your Domain Name
Do You Really Own Your Domain Name?
Yesterday, I discovered one of my clients was NOT the legal owner of her domain name (the URL that points to her website, such as 'AmazingAndrea.com' or 'Facebook.com'). This is not as uncommon as you might think. Some web hosts or designers will register a domain name under their own name when they first sell you web hosting services. That makes them the legal owner of your domain name, though they don't usually disclose that at the time.
The legal owner, the Registrant, can do anything they want to with the domain name without your consent. This includes redirecting it to an website that is entirely not connected to you or your business. In an instant, you can loose your brand, your customers, your traffic, all without warning.
In other cases, you may decide you want to change web hosts or platforms, but since you don't own the domain name, you may have to pay an "exit" fee to be able to continue using the URL you've come to think of as your own.
So, if only as a favor to me :-), please take a few minutes today to confirm you are the legal owner of your domain name. If you are NOT the legal owner, you should immediately take steps to change the ownership into your name in order to secure your business and protect your customers.
Checklist to Confirm Domain Name Ownership
1) Go to: http://who.is and enter your domain name (e.x. AmazingAndrea.com) and click the "search" button.
2) On the next page, scroll down to the "REGISTRANT Contact Information". This should not be confused with the REGISTRAR Information.
3) Is the REGISTRANT your name and information?
4) If it IS your name and current contact information, celebrate! You are the legal owner.
5) If it is NOT your name and current contact information then either:
A) You may have WHOIS Privacy enabled, which hides your public information as a protection. In that case, log into your Domain Name Registrar or Web Host where you'll be able to confirm the un-hidden Registrant information.
B) If it literally lists a business or individual's name and address they are the legal Registrant. If you recognize them as someone you do business with, you should contact them immediately to have the Registrant Data updated to YOUR name and contact information.