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“Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things” ~ Unknown
What would you say if I told you I know how an investment of under $10 can be worth one million dollars or more? Would you laugh? Would you be intrigued? Would you want to know more?
If you don’t believe me, then stop reading now. No need to waste your time or energy reading the rest of this column. But if you do believe me I encourage you to read on.
As many of you know, part of our business here at the Southern Jewelers Guild is dealing with customers and their digital assets. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, digital assets are classified as images, multimedia and textual content files, as well as things such as domain names, company social media accounts and the like.
Registration costs for a .com domain name currently run less than $10 per year. A small investment to make in something that is so important to your business, right? But imagine what would happen if you woke up one morning and found out that your website had suddenly disappeared and your company e-mail account has stopped working. Panic hasn’t quite set in yet, so you make a few calls and find out that a person you’ve never heard of is now the proud owner of your domain name. How could this happen to me, you ask? Let me count the ways…
#1) You’ve hired a “new” website company and they tell you they need “control” of your domain name. Tell them, “Fuggedaboutit!” Let me put it to you this way, would you give this “new” company the keys to your store and the combination to your safe? Most likely, the answer is no. Giving them control of your domain name is exactly the same thing. Think I’m exaggerating? Then I’m happy to have you talk to any of the several clients per week that have handed control of their domain names over without thinking twice, and then call us and say, “If I don’t get that domain back, I could lose a million dollars in business this month!” For most, this is a wildly inflated claim. For a small group, however, it is very near the truth.
#2) Some brainiac convinced you that you need “Privacy” protection on your domain name. Domain privacy is a service offered by a number of domain name registrars. The user buys privacy from the company, who in turn replaces the user’s info in the WHOIS with the info of a forwarding service. Now, ask yourself first off, why in the world would you need privacy protection on a domain name that belongs to your business? If your business is legitimate, you don’t! Second, go back and read the third line of this paragraph. The one that says, “The user buys privacy from the company, who in turn replaces the user’s info in the WHOIS with the info of a forwarding service.” Think about that for a minute. And if you can’t figure out what it means, I will tell you. It means, quite simply, that YOU are no longer the owner of that domain name. It now belongs to the person who has replaced their information with yours!
#3) You let your (pick one) nephew, cousin, uncle, aunt, daughter, son, or worst of all, employee register your domain name for you. And they did. And put their contact information into the database. So guess what? All of the information that proves that name belongs to you, it doesn’t exist. This is a common, and tragic, mistake made by many business owners, and we’ve seen it happen again and again, especially in our industry. We’re an industry that functions on trust. It’s the backbone of nearly every transaction we handle, from vendors to customers and everything in between. Never trust and always verify when it comes to domain name registration. If you have someone who doesn’t register you as the owner, administrative and technical contact for your website, then you don’t own the website. It can take years of frustration and thousands of dollars in a UDRP dispute (domain name lawsuit) to get back ownership of a domain, which again, originally cost you around $10.
#4) You “forgot” to renew your domain name. Yes, I know we are all busy – life is complicated and things like paying a small fee for your domain name registration just doesn’t seem important right now. Missing the renewal of your domain name can be a crippling blow to any business. An expired domain name can have a massive impact on lost finances, communications, public relations and more. Take heart, though. Those of you who have “forgotten” to renew your domain name are in good company. Here’s a link to a list of the top 5 “forgot to renew” issues when it comes to domain expirations, and the problems they caused: https://whoapi.com/blog/1582/5-all-time-domain-expirations-in-internets-history/
Have some thoughts or questions about domain name registration that you’d like to share with me? I’d love to hear your comments on this subject! E-mail me at Ann@SouthernJewelersGuild.com or call me at 504-615-1191.