This article goes hand in hand with the tutorial here about registering your own domain name.  We get a lot of questions from people asking – why do I need to register my own domain name?  Can you do it for me?  Can I have someone else do it for me? It seems so hard, I don’t think I can do it!

In answer to those questions –

  • Yes you SHOULD register your domain
  • No, we don’t want the responsibility of managing your domain
  • No, you should NOT allow someone else to do it for you (reason why in just a bit)
  • It isn’t hard, just follow the tutorial

Believe it or not, having someone else register your domain can leave you with a liability later.  If it is in their account, even though you’ve asked them to register it, legally, they own the domain, not you.  It is a situation we’ve encountered again and again.  A customer, or client, asks a company to build them a website, but they don’t have a domain yet. The agency (a lot of times as part of their service) will tell them, it is fine, we will register the domain for you.

The problem with that? They OWN your domain, not you.  If something goes south with the agency, they can refuse to turn over the domain to you.  We’ve seen a number of cases of this happening, and none of them good. Things like:

  • the agency goes out of business and no one knows who has control of the domain account
  • the client terminates the agency and decides to go with someone new, only the ex-agency won’t transfer the domain
  • the agency holds onto the domain and demands an exorbitant fee to release it

Bottom line – if you do not personally register your own domain name, you will have problems later. You are just asking for trouble.  We’ve even seen cases where someone has a beautiful craft business going and someone decides to copy them.  They then realize the company hasn’t registered the domain, or set up shop on the web, so they go and register the domain name and scoop the business.

While you may have some protection if you are a registered trademark and have a registered business (just having a registered business won’t protect you, you need the trademark as well), it will still cost you legal fees to try and get your domain back.

The best prevention is to register your domain while you can.

For more information, and tips to getting your domain back, if this has already happened to you, see: Just Who Owns Your Company’s Domain Name? by Brendan Egan

And, be sure to Register Your Domain