Everyone wants a piece of the big world wide web pie. But many business owners just jump into it, without knowing what they are getting into. Many Domain Registrars, Resellers and Web Designers / Developers take advantage of this lack of knowledge and exploit domain name holders. Many business owners are scared to transfer away their domain name, because they were told at the time of purchasing the name that if they want to switch their provider, then they will lose their domain name. This article tries to bust some myths about registration of domain names.
When you switch registrars can you keep the domain name?
Yes ofcourse. While this may sound like a silly question to people who have been dealing with domain names since a long time, this is a very important questions, which many business and website owners are not sure about. The Domain Name is your Trade Mark or Intellectual Property which you have registered with the Registrar. The Domain Name becomes an integral part of your business and many people name their corporate entity after their website. Just because you change your Domain Registration Provider, does not mean that you lose your domain name. You can migrate your domain name and switch your registration provider without losing your domain or having your website go down during the transfer. The transfer is a semi-automated process which happens between the Registration Providers, on the approval of the Domain Owner.
Who owns the domain, the person who booked it or the person for whom it was booked?
Many people get the domain name booked by their website designer or an outsourced development agency. For convenience and quick booking, the person paying or registering the domain may register it on his / her own name. This maybe an employee of the designer, an agent of the company, an independent web host, or maybe even an employee of the company. At the time of registration, the contact details of the registrant are required to be entered, which is mostly the details of the person or organization who is booking it. However, to save on time and bureaucracy, the WHOIS Registrant details maybe left to the name of the person who booked it and changing it to the real Registrant is forgotten. This may pose a problem in future when there is a need to update the domain name settings or transfer the name to a new provider. If the person whose name it is registered on is traceable then it is fine. If not, then a lengthy and expensive legal process needs to be followed to get the domain name back. Whoever is booking the domain name, is only holding the name "in trust" for the real owner. The person whose name is filled in at the time of Registration (if he is not the real owner) is merely a trustee who is the custodian of the name on behalf of the true owner or company for which it was booked. Just because the domain name is in the name of an ex-employee or an ex-web designer, it does not mean that he owns the domain name, but just means that it will make it more difficult to regain control of the domain name.
Can I book a domain name similar to some other company or brand name?
The answer to this question depends entirely on what your intention is. The intention can be determined by your actions i.e. how you are going to use the domain name and what type of business are you going to run from it. If you aim to mislead or defraud visitors into believing that you are somebody else who you are not, thereby impersonating some other brand or website, then your domain name can definitely be taken away from you. If you have just taken the domain name to prevent the real company or brand from taking the name, then also the domain name can be taken away from you. However, if you plan to start a business which is totally different from the renown brand name and if it does not mislead the consumer, then you have a good case for registering it.
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