10 things you didn't know about domain names

Domain Name resistration

  1. It is essential to read the small print when signing up to a domain registrar. There are all kinds of pitfalls waiting for those who couldn’t be bothered to go through the terms and conditions with sufficient care and attention. For instance, hidden deep in there might be an agreement for a charge to be made to your account as a ‘transfer out’ fee if you want to switch your domain to a different registrar. What’s worse is this fee might be several times the price of your original registration.

  2. When you register your domain, the details get published in the WHOIS database, which is accessible to the public. Your registrar will be able to change those details. Some companies entice customers by registering a domain for a very cheap fee but then hit them with a high administration charge for editing the WHOIS entry.

  3. Another shady practice is locking down a domain for 60 days every time the WHOIS record is edited, thus preventing the domain owner from moving to a different registrar.

  4. As previously mentioned, your information on the WHOIS database is available for all to see, and this means it can be ‘mined’ by spammers and marketers. So bots could harvest your email, address and contact numbers.

  5. Unfortunately, as well as spammers, less-than-reputable registrars can mine your WHOIS information, leaving you vulnerable to domain ‘phishing’. You could be sent scam renewal notices with the intention of fooling you into transferring your registration.

  6. Because of the above problem, there are registrars who offer privacy services, replacing your WHOIS information with their own on the database. However, from a legal standpoint this means that they own the domain, not you.

  7. A way of avoiding your domain being transferred by stealth is a registrar lock – this is a special code which is required before any transfer can take place. However, if you don’t have full control over this yourself, it could cause problems should you want to transfer.

  8. Similarly, certain domains operate the ‘EPP’ protocol to guard against unauthorized transfers. A domain is allocated an eight-character ‘auth-code’ which is required for transfer to take place. The current registrar holds this code and should give it to the domain owner when they wish to transfer.

  9. Sometimes a good looking deal isn’t all it seems. Certain companies offer low registration fees because their aim is to make revenue from ‘domain parking’. This is when multiple domains are created from the original domain name but using various typos. These parked domains are usually low quality search pages carrying pop-up ads and the like. It’s big business and registrars can make a lot of money for themselves off the back of your domain.

  10. Another way for domain registrars to make their money while charging low registry fees is by selling pop-up and pop-under adverts on your domain. They might offer you free url forwarding but they could be making money from these ads, not you.