Surviving the Domain Name Business
The domain name market is highly volatile and very speculative. This guide will help you navigate
potential pitfalls in the domain name market and come out unscathed on the other side.
NOTE: Any problems highlighted below represent EXCEPTIONS. The vast majority of domain name transactions are carried out without a hitch. Nevertheless, it always pays to be prepared.
Reselling Domain Names
This issue frequently comes under discussion. It seems to cause a lot of controversy in that some people wonder why domain names can be bought or sold for vast amounts when they are only "worth" $100. The simple answer: there is nothing wrong with buying or selling domain names. As long as buyers and sellers are willing to form a market, domain names can be traded just like any other commodity.
Do not register or buy domain names that infringe on trademarks. Although there is no law against doing so, precedent in a large number of lawsuits indicates that the majority of the time the trademark owner will win and you will lose the rights to the domain name -- and possibly have to pay legal costs as well. Many domain name brokers and private sellers, wittingly or unwittingly, offer trademark-busting names for sale. Check before you buy, and you'll have no regrets later.
By the same token, do not give in immediately if you are sent a threatening letter or other legal document making a claim to your domain name. Some unscrupulous organizations may fabricate extremely dubious claims in an attempt to scare you into giving them a potentially lucrative domain name. Seek legal advice.
Domain Name Pointing
Some domain registration companies and at least one domain broker ask to be allowed to point your domain name at their site. This means that, for as long as you do not use your domain name [for example, name.com], visitors who go to www.newname.com will find themselves at the site of the respective registration company or broker. In effect, the company is "borrowing" your
name, and using it to "point" at their site. Note that in this situation you still retain all rights to the name. Companies often do this in order to resubmit their site to search engines again under a different domain name, and get listed again. If you don't mind, that's fine -- but be aware of what is going on.
Companies selling alternate domain names
A little perspective is needed here. Since there is already a great deal of doubt surrounding the feasibility of the proposed new "official" top domains, companies selling domain names under alternate top domains [such as .earth or .per, for instance] are one more step removed from legitimacy. Currently, the best they can promise is that a small percentage of web users will be able to access sites under such alternate top domains -- and with a ruling expected on
the issue of the official new top domains, these alternate top domains are unlikely to become legitimate any time soon. Approach with caution.
.Web domain names
.web is one of the new top domains that has been proposed. Currently, Image Online Design maintains a highly organized domain registry for .web names. Although they do not have a firm legal claim to the .web domain, they appear confident that such a claim will be granted soon. If this is the case, then .web names registered with them will be fully valid and accessible from anywhere on the Internet. If not, then .web names will just remain alternate domain names.
Domain registration companies with periodic fees
When you pay for a domain name registration, you should never need to pay an additional annual charge for a domain name you have registered. So many companies include additional service charges on top of the actual registration fee charged by the registrars. You should steer clear of these companies that only wants to profit from these unnecessary charges.
domain name registration services
All domain names are created equal. It does not matter if you register with domain registration company X or company Y. As long as they provide the necessary DNS and registration services then the domain name will be exactly the same. Therefore, the only way that domain name registries can justify increased prices is by providing additional services. Email redirection services and web site pointing are two such services but are free when you register your domains through us at http://www.domainphil.com . Others charge an additional fee for these services. Any more and you really should be getting additional services as well, else you are paying over the odds.
Domain Names that... aren't
It is important to realise that many alternatives to domain names are NOT themselves domain names, even if this is not made clear in the issuing company's promotional material.
For example, some companies offer names of the form:
Here, yourname is a subsidiary domain of that company's domain name, in this case xyz.com. The big giveaway is the second "dot", which is indicated in red in the examples above. Normal domain names have a single dot in them, except for certain country domains [such as .co.uk or .or.jp]. If you see a company offering .com or other names with two dots in them, you know immediately that what you will be getting is just a subsidiary of their domain name. This gives you much, much less control over the name than if you bought a normal domain name as basically they can have full control over the name and can revoke it or reassign it at any time.
TIP: This is a trick which you can play with any domain name. If you own xyz.com, then you automatically own EVERY expression you could possibly think of to go before xyz.com, such as car.xyz.com, future.xyz.com or golf123.xyz.com. These are called subdomains and are unlimited with free redirection when you register with us.
Other companies offer names of the form:-
Here, yourname is simply the name of a directory on their clevername.cleverending site. An example might be shop.at/yourname -- such names are very easy to spot as they have a "slash" character making up part of the name [marked in red in the examples]. This slash indicates a directory. These names are not real domain names at all, and have no resale value as they are fully controlled by the registering company.
The types of name detailed above can be used as alternatives to domain names, but you need to be very confident about what you are getting, what your rights are (if any) and how much these alternatives will cost when stacked up against a real domain name.
Preregistering New Top Domains
How much are you prepared to gamble? A large number of domain registrars would be delighted to take your money in exchange for a chance to register domain names under the new proposed top domains -- despite the fact that the implementation of these new top domains has been delayed and is now in some doubt. Even when the names arrive, there is no guarantee that they will be priced the same as current names, or issued under the same conditions. There is currently a bid for a non-refundable $50,000.00 fee if you would like to apply to get hold of the administration of the proposed 3 to 20 top level domain names issued bye ICANN up to October, 2000.
So if you are willing to put your money on a long shot, then if you register you just might get the name you've always wanted. On the other hand, you could get nothing at all -- and no refunds are offered.
Domain registration companies that steal names
A few cases have been reported of companies registering domain names on behalf of clients, but with the registrar's own contact details as the Administrative Contact. This is extremely dangerous as legally this makes the registrar the owner of that particular domain name. Always check that you are represented as the Administrative Contact for the domain name you registered. Don't accept any kind of song or dance about this; demand that the domain name is fully turned over to you.