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How to Secure Your Domain Name
As a general rule, owning a domain name that fits your business is imperative to your success on the internet. Unfortunately, there are some universal URLs on the internet that can apply to many businesses. If you own one, you may be at risk for domain name theft.
If the name you register is something that a competitor may want, be sure it's secure.
It could be a target!
There is a very lucrative market for the sale or lease of domain names that are timeless and short. Some of these names include simple things like Homes.com or Loans.com, and more complicated things like misspellings such as "gogle.com", a misspelling of google.com.
In the last few years there have been several cases involving the theft of high-level domain names. In most of the cases, these names were transferred from the original owner to a new owner through fraudulent contact with the domain name registrar. While this practice is somewhat rare, you should take special care not to let it happen to you, because, after all, you are your name.
Steps to Take During Registration
It is important to find a domain name registrar that is recognized by the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). You can find a list of these sites at www.internic.net or at www.icann.org.
When registering your domain, you are asked to enter four separate types of contact information for your organization. By using separate individuals for each role, you create a system of checks and balances for your account that can prevent potential disaster.
Four Roles of Domain Registration
Registrant: The name of the "owner" of the domain name. This position carries no authority to modify the domain and is often the name of a company instead of an individual.
Administrative Contact: Controls changes to the account including changing the IP Address assignment
Technical Contact: Also has control over account changes.
Billing Contact: Notified by post or email of any money owed to renew the domain name. This person (or you accounting department) could default the domain name back to the open markey by not paying the renewal bill in a timely fashion.
Checks and Balances: If the Administrative or Technical Contact requests a change, an email is sent to the other individual, who has veto power over the change. If that party does not register an objection, the change will go into place.
A useful function that is offered by many ICANN-approved domain registration companies is called Domain Locking. This feature helps to prevent changes to your domain from someone who managed to gain your log-in information. When a domain is "locked" it cannot be transferred, and requests to change it to another address will be rejected. In order to lock or unlock your domain, you will have to contact the registration service.
It is a good practice to look for domain name registration sites that offer additional security measures. The plethora of registration sites on the web offer several additional types of security, such as TransferLock, NameSafe, or private domain registration by Domains By Proxy. Carefully read the details about these services to be sure they are offering what you want before registering with them.
If your domain name has been stolen or improperly redirected, you can find information about filing a report with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).