What to Keep in Mind When Buying a Domain
Posted by Leisa Redmon | July 30, 2021
Purchasing a domain is a big step for a new business. It should cater to your business’s objectives and also be memorable. However, as of July 27, 2021, there are over 1.87 billion websites (and counting) already actively in circulation, which means finding a URL that matches your exact business name can be difficult.
And that’s just the process of nailing down a domain name.
Buying a domain is a big step for start-ups and new businesses alike for more reasons than the name, and with those additional obstacles comes more opportunities for important details to fall through the cracks.
We’ve put together the top considerations to keep in mind when buying a domain.
Purchasing a domain isn’t really like purchasing to own. Purchasing a domain is more like owning a house – unless you’re willing to shell out Bezos-esque money and time, you don’t own the address, just the property on the address.
Because buying a domain is often considered more like “renting”, it's easy to be enticed by low prices ($0.99 anyone??). And, to that point, if you’ve found yourself guilty of these dollar store deals, you surely aren’t the first business owner to be lured in by these too-good-to-be-true transactions.
However, now that you know better, you do better, and it’s time to be aware of the bait and switch tactics of domain registrars more commonly known as hidden fees.
These hidden fees come in a variety of sheep’s clothing, but a few of the more common ones to look out for are:
- Inexpensive domain sign-ups are usually hiding high renewal rates in order to recoup costs lost. Simply stated, reputable registrars should be clear about their renewal rates and not try to coerce consumers into paying more than they believe they are.
- Transfer out fees
- Many businesses will transfer out their domains down the line, and unfortunately, there are registrars that take advantage of these transfers by wrapping up the process in heaps of obstacles and red tape. This violates ICANN policy. Make sure to read the fine print in your Terms of Service to see what the process of a potential transfer looks like and to also ensure you won’t be charged two or even three times your rate for this action.
- Cost of editing WHOIS or RDAP listing
- Registrars should not charge you to change these details whenever you need to. Watch out for those organizations who require fees to change these in their fine print.
Piggy-backing off of the hidden fees consideration, it’s worth taking a moment to hone in on the importance of transparency.
Any registrar worth its weight in value will be open and honest about their renewal rates, what the process of transferring and canceling your domain looks like, along with full, open, and clear terms of service to prevent any confusion down the road.
WHOIS is a public, online database that supplies information regarding the organization or individual who owns a domain. Many people who purchase domains, either for themselves or their business, will opt out of providing personal information during the initial registration process primarily because the idea of publicly offering up personal information opens one up to scammers and hackers, alike.
That being said, every domain purchased is required to be registered in the WHOIS database and privacy should be included with your domain registration.
However, even to that point, many domain registrars still charge an admin fee in the range of $10-20 to provide this necessary service.
So, if you’re looking for a simple tip to find a reputable domain registrar, seek out those who offer domain privacy protection for little to no cost at all.
Support/ Customer Service
Buying a domain can be tricky enough, evidenced by this article. But add in the unknown and unknowable like servers crashing and power outages, and your business can encounter even more chaos and disruption.
That’s why it’s incredibly important for you and your team to analyze the level of support provided by your domain registrar.
Unfortunately, again, many low-cost registrars use it when individuals find themselves in the dark, to their benefit. And they do this by swapping out support for sales members.
What do I mean exactly?
For example, if your domain email address doesn’t happen to be working properly and you NEED to communicate with your business base, a less than reputable domain registrar will most likely try to upsell you on support services to resolve the issue, capitalizing on your time of need.
Point blank – the type of business that bakes in hidden fees and a lack of transparency or safety is not deserving of your time and business.
So, when looking for a registrar to buy your domain do a little research and find the one that is open with their terms of service, delivers on privacy and security, and offers up the support your team is entitled to.
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