Who Owns My Domain Name

So many companies don’t own their own domain name. They think they do, but they don’t.

Very often the owner of the domain name is not you but rather your web designer. And if you fall out with your web designer, one day you might wake up to the fact that your company’s website is switched off.

This might not happen straight away, but it might happen a couple of years after you terminate your relationship with your web designer who would simply not pay the renewal bill any longer. If you ever need to defend your web domain against infringement, you will need to first make sure that you are in fact the registered owner of it.

To gain ownership of your website could prove to be not such an easy task. This will depend on whether your name is registered as a contact with WHOIS (which is an Internet utility that returns information about a domain name or IP address. For example, if you enter a domain name such as microsoft.com, WHOIS will return the name and address of the domain's owner.) A WHOIS database is a database maintained by all registrars that list pertinent information about all domain names issued by the registrar. Each registrar's WHOIS database may be searched online. Even if you are not registered as the owner of the domain but only as a contact with WHOIS, you will normally have the power to change the name under which your domain name is registered, but if you are not registered as a contact with WHOIS, then you will need to first get in touch with your web designers and request that they take steps to change the domain’s ownership with WHOIS and provide you with a user name and password for you to be able to access and change registration details about your domain. In reality, your web designers will have to agree to do this.

To find out if you are in fact the registered owner of your website, go to
http://www.allwhois.com (for a details of ownership of a .com domain) or to http://www.nic.uk (for details of ownership of a .co.uk domain).
The search will reveal the following information:

1. Registrant: The "owner" of the domain name.

2. Administrative Contact: The person who is listed to receive communications from the registrar related to administration of the domain name.

3. Billing Contact: The person who is listed to receive notices from the registrar concerning renewing.

4. Technical Contact: The person listed to receive communications related to technical matters associated with the domain name.

5. Record Expiration Date: The date the domain name will terminate and be revoked unless the renewal fee has been paid 6. Record Creation Date: The date the domain name was first issued to the registrant or the registrant’s predecessor.

You must make sure the people who are named as administrative, billing and technical contacts are correct and trustworthy and this will avoid the possibility of them using their power as designated contacts to adversely affect your domain name. If any information is not correct or if you want to change any or all of the contacts, you should initiate the changes on your registrar's web site. Your Domain names are valuable assets.

It would be time well spent to check the ownership records of your Domain as this may prevent the loss of your domain name in the future.

Pinder Reaux & Associates