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Ensure You Are Master Of Your Domain Name

March 26, 2018

A case in Canada of domain names reportedly being held hostage has lessons for registrants in Australia as well.

DomainNameWire has reported on the case of Canadian airline that had domain names for the company registered by a contractor. However, instead of the airline being noted as the official registrant on the registration record, the contractor reportedly used their own details. When the relationship ended, the airline discovered the names were not in its control and has now filed a suit to regain control.

It's not uncommon for web developers to register names of behalf of their clients This doesn't necessarily indicate future bad intentions such as using the situation as a sort of insurance policy - but an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure, it's something that should be avoided. As Murphy's Law states, if things can go wrong, they invariably will.

Careful thought also needs to be given as to who in the company is recorded as the registrant. We're aware of situations here in Australia where a partnership has gone sour and then the partner continuing on with the company doesn't have control over the domain name as the other partner is listed as the registrant.

While these issues can often be sorted out through the courts, that can be a very lengthy, messy and expensive process impacting on business operations while it's being addressed. For example, if a business wants to change web hosts, it will need to repoint the name to the new hosting service - and that requires being able to access the registrant interface to update nameserver details. 

In the case of the Canadian company, it had to register a new name; but without control over the other addresses, this means they weren't able to redirect traffic to the new one - and this impacted on revenue.

Who is the registrant on your domain record? You can find out using our WHOIS application. Don't put it off, check it now. If it turns out it's not who it should be, don't delay; act on the situation as soon as possible. Quick action, however inconvenient, could save a lot of heart-ache, headaches and expense down the track.

On a related note, pick up some tips on domain name security.

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