I have to take a break from my website design project to write a bit about the purchase of domain names. I’ve said it before and have to mention this again – Hiring a friend, neighbor, student, or any other person who is not a professional website designer or a company who is licensed to provide these services (preferably one that is local to you and one that comes with at least 3 good references) is a NO-NO. As well, do not allow anyone, EVER to purchase a domain name for you if at all possible for this could turn into a costly mistake.
Why? Take my word for it, allowing someone to purchase your name for you is a nightmare waiting to happen, especially if you are unfamiliar with the guidelines and procedures of purchasing or transferring domain names. If you want to purchase a domain name, log on to godaddy.com or networksolutions.com and use your own credit card and purchase it directly. If you need help, call their customer service representatives to walk you through it. All you will need if you will be hosting your website with another company is their name-servers ( usually an NS1 and NS2 prefix with company name following.) If you do not have this information, don’t worry too much. Name-servers can be changed at any time and in the meantime your domain will be “parked” where you have purchased the domain name, until you decide on a hosting company.
Here is a scenario to think about and one that recently took place.
You’ve allowed someone else to purchase the domain name for you using their credit card. You reimburse them for the amount which should not cost you anymore than what they have actually paid the domain listing company for the domain name that YOU chose. You decide to allow this person to build your website as well but as time passes, you realize that they were not capable of providing you with the expertise required to run your growing on-line business. You cut your losses (or so you think) pay them for their work and find another web designer and hosting company. You get a great website, great hosting and e-commerce solutions, everything is great. You’re ready to launch here and abroad.
Suddenly days prior to opening your on-line store, the disgruntled designer changes the domain name-servers and your website is no longer accessible. You have been disconnected. You don’t know what’s going on. Your new hosting company does a “who is” and looks at your underlying information. Changes recently were made but not by you and not by them. How could that happen? It happens because you may have reimbursed someone for the domain name but , you NEVER owned it. Why? Because you never received a formal domain name transfer. You didn’t even know you needed it. Why? Because you TRUSTED the person you were dealing with to do the right thing. Now, that same person demands money, lots of money to release the name to you. You’re launching your site’s shopping cart and you are at an “All systems go” for filling orders, shipping, etc. You’re website’s been live with a notice of when orders can be placed. The problem? You have to pay this scammer because you cannot obtain relief or take recourse in the time frame allotted you. You have to be up and running and this person scamming you knows it.
This is an actual client’s nightmare. Bay Area Graphics & Marketing often takes on clients with existing websites that are in need of a re-design and/or better hosting or e-commerce solutions. Yes, we have been hosting, designing and marketing websites for businesses in the Tampa Bay area since 2001. We have heard every imaginable horror story from clients who, in an attempt to save money by using someone other than a reputable website designer, have only lost time and money–not to mention basic trust for ANY designer or website design firm! Most always, they come to us with a story of how they had lost thousands of dollars on a website that was either unfinished or non- functioning. Other stories about not being able to make basic changes to their websites without being charged an arm and a leg are also common. But today, it was the “I just found out I don’t own my domain name story.”
If you think you have been a victim of this type of foul play, you can obtain more information, file a complaint or dispute the transfer of a domain name by visiting http:/internic.net as well as http://icann.org If you’re just starting out with an on-line business call us and we can walk you through the process of obtaining your domain name safely and on your own. It’s not difficult to do, don’t be afraid, we promise that you’ll be a “pro” at purchasing domain names the right way by the time you’re done!
Familiarizing yourself with the laws governing the purchase of domain names as well as some of the more well known “scams” shouldn’t be an afterthought. Doing business with a disreputable company can certainly end up costing you thousands of dollars and it may end up costing you your website.