Jan 20, 2015

Own Your Domain Name!

When we help our clients launch and manage their websites, we often discover some problems regarding ownership of online properties such as domains, hosting accounts, email, or other internet-related services. As a general guideline, every service critical to the business should be owned by you, the company. Below is a list of common issues we encounter during a site launch or during a transition:

  • The domain, e.g. MyCompany.com, is owned by someone else outside of the organization
  • The domain is controlled by an employee who is no longer with the company
  • The new website needs to launch, but the necessary preparations can't be made without the involvement of the domain owner
  • A prior vendor either goes out of business or a relationship sours, and nobody is available for contact with domain issues

Why does this happen?

Typically, domain registration is one of those "nerdy" tasks not high on the list of a business owner. Therefore it is left to a friend, business partner, or techie. These individuals, however, aren't officially part of your organization but they are likely listed as the owner of your domain. More often than not, no act of malice is intended. Like signing a lease for office space or signing up for internet service, once the paperwork has been signed the entire process is forgotten. Unfortunately, many companies unknowingly separate their organization from domain ownership in the interest of simplicity.

To be clear, it's not a bad thing to trust registration of your domain name to a 3rd party. In fact, many of our clients trust us in that capacity. But the all-important domain name should definitely be under your ownership. Be sure your owner or leadership team is tied to the domain name, and be sure the registrar (GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc) account is under your ownership as well.

To see the current owernship of your domain, use a tool such as http://whois.sc, followed by your domain name. That is, http://whois.sc/example.com. Unless the domain registration is private, you should be able to see who are the administrative and technical contacts, as well as the registrant. The output will often appear as follows. We have colored the key information you should review in red:

  1. Domain Name: MYCOMPANY.COM
  2. Registry Domain ID: 2240836_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
  3. Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.enom.com
  4. Registrar URL: www.enom.com
  5. Updated Date: 2013-10-09T21:00:08.00Z
  6. Creation Date: 1994-01-13T05:00:00.00Z
  7. Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2021-01-12T05:00:00.00Z
  8. Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.4252982646
  9. Reseller: NAMECHEAP.COM
  10. Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
  11. Registry Registrant ID:
  12. Registrant Name: JOHN DOE
  13. Registrant Organization: MY COMPANY
  14. Registrant Street: 123 ELM AVE. S
  15. Registrant City: MINNEAPOLIS
  16. Registrant State/Province: MN
  17. Registry Admin ID:
  18. Admin Name: JOHN DOE
  19. Admin Organization: MY COMPANY
  20. Admin Street: 123 ELM AVE. S
  21. Admin City: MINNEAPOLIS
  22. Admin State/Province: MN
  23. Admin Postal Code: 55488
  24. Admin Country: US
  25. Admin Phone: +1.6125551212
  26. Admin Phone Ext:
  27. Admin Fax: +1.6125551213
  28. Admin Fax Ext:
  29. Admin Email:
  30. Registry Tech ID:
  31. Tech Name: JOHN DOE
  32. Tech Organization: MY COMPANY
  33. Name Server: AUTHNS1.QWEST.NET
  34. Name Server: AUTHNS2.QWEST.NET
  35. Name Server: NS1.MYCOMPANY.COM
  36. DNSSEC: unSigned
  37. URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System: http://wdprs.internic.net/

How do I reclaim ownership?


Not owning your company's domain name is like driving a vehicle without a title. Get this important asset under your control ASAP, so you don't have to deal with the transfer process during times of transition or strife.

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