Controlling Your Domain Name
Article from: Kevin Montroy, Frontrunner Professional
Picture this scenario: Just as you go to register your firms Internet address—or “domain name”—you quickly realize it’s gone! It’s been taken by another firm with the same name, a disgruntled former employee, or your competitor down the street!
Those who had the foresight and were proactive enough to properly register their firms Internet address some 7-8 years ago, know what a sound investment it has been for their firms future. For others who “thought” they did everything right in purchasing their firms domain, often they quickly find out that the domain is registered owner of the website developer they hired, the large vendor they trusted or in the legal name of the website hosting firm they chose.
Many companies simply do this to apply pressure tactics on the client in an effort to force them to stay as a client. Sadly, the companies which commonly practice this unethical strategy, are often the ones that have low-quality solutions that do nothing to help firms position themselves for the future. And finding out that your domain name is being held hostage because you are no longer a loyal customer can be devastating.
In the worst case scenarios, many funeral homes have reported that their website provider not only registered the domain name in their name, but threaten to delete all the funeral homes emails attached with the domain, if they decide to leave.
It is imperative that you keep ownership of your domain name’s registration. You will soon learn that it is destined to become your most valuable asset in the future.
Why is This So Important?
The Internet gives funeral homes a newly found way to better serve their families. It provides funeral firms with a convenient “information portal,” where they can educate their community about funerals, disposition options and related costs. And let’s not forget the Internet gives a funeral home thetremendous opportunity for new online profits.
The rewards of a secure Internet presence are numerous; with surveys indicating that the public now has a greater sense of trust in those firms which choose to provide quality information and products online. And with the advent of new, integrated Web systems that offer complete self-administration, as well as complete scalability, at very affordable prices; the barrier of entry for any size firm has been removed. But, here’s the unfortunate truth: even the best website solution can fail without the right domain name strategy.
Here are Some Valuable Tips
Make every effort to purchase the domain that matches your firms name, brand, or “the way you answer your phone”. This is intuitively what people will expect your domain name to be. Any other name can lead to an expensive uphill battle to try and educate the public differently.
Always try to acquire the “ .com” extension because of its global universality. It really is the extended families and friends from around the world, who will be looking to offer words of sympathy and support to the family you are serving at a time they need it most, not two to three weeks later when a letter arrives. Also, having the .com extension after your domain name is often perceived with professionalism and having been forward thinking enough to probably having acquired it years ago.
Most importantly, make sure you check the registration record of your domain name to ensure that you are, or your firm is, the legally registered owner of the domain. Two great sites which you can use areInternic or WhoIs. The first step is to enter your domain name in the search box. Within just seconds, you will see the record of the legal registrant’s name, when the domain was first registered, and when it is set to renew. Click here to learn, step-by-step, how to look up who registered your domain name.
If you are not listed as the registered owner, it’s best to take action immediately. However, it is not recommend that you engage the registrant yourself. Contact your lawyer or a reputable third party firm who specializes in Internet matters and allow them to act on your behalf to attempt to get the records changed. Many reputable website development companies can provide you with a legally-binding letter that places the company on notice that you do not wish to be contacted, pressured or harassed, and assigns them to handle the transfer process for you.
Once you own your firm’s domain and have a professional, functional website ready to “go live”, make sure that your domain name is advertised on every piece of newly-printed stationary, as well as any online or print ads you run. Here’s why.