Free Domain Names
Free Domain Names – What a Deal!
I just noticed a web designer ad on Palm Harbor Craigslist today, offering “free domain names” when you have them build your website. Some other ads had “Our price includes your domain name..” or words to that effect. Unfortunately, many people may not realize that this is usually a trap!
Domain Name Held Hostage
Over the years, I’ve had dozens of people call me wanting help getting a “divorce” from their recently fired web developers.
Here’s how that scam works – the web designer/developer will actually register “your” domain name so that they either own the name outright, or have total control. It’s worse than marriage because you won’t even get “joint custody” of the domain name if you ever choose to hire a different web professional!
You are entirely at their mercy unless you are willing to abandon the domain name and start over from scratch building your search ranking.
What is worse is now they can direct all your website’s traffic to a competitor, or even sell “your domain name” to a competitor.
Your Domain Name Solution
It’s a hassle dealing with Domain registrars like GoDaddy.com, NetworkSolutions.com or even the good ones like Hover.com. So what is a busy small business owner to do?
If at all possible – purchase the domain name yourself. It’s generally best to get at least two or more years. (I am assuming all the hard work of branding and keyword research has been done, with the help of your web professional, before selecting your domain name!)
If that is too bothersome for you, then have your web person meet with you and watch him carefully as he fills out the online form for your domain name. Be sure you are listed as owner and administrator, list them only as the technical contact. Many registrars have a way to setup your tech contact so they can move your site, if necessary (i.e.: change nameservers), but they can never sell or transfer the domain name.
Do not use an email account connected to your domain name. A reputable email account like Gmail is preferred. (Use a darn-good password!)
IMPORTANT: Whoever controls this email account will have primary control over the domain name!
Use your credit card to pay for the domain name!
Domain Name Recap
So whenever someone offers you anything sounding like a “free domain name” – run, don’t walk!
If you have problems getting control of your domain name from your ex-web professional or former employee, give me a call and I’ll try to help.