Things You Must Know Before Registering Your Domain.
How to Avoid Trouble and Ensure You’re Not Scammed
Playing the Gotcha Game with your Domain Name
“Domain Transfer-Out” Fees
Buried in the fine print of that agreement most if not all of us just click right through when buying a domain name from a reseller or a registrar could be a little gem hidden in their “Terms of Service” authorizing them to charge your credit card or require that you pay them a “Transfer-Out” or MOVE fee for moving your domain to another registrar.
Here is the worst part, the organization that it tasked with protecting our right on the information superhighway is asleep behind the wheel! The policy of ICANN has an overly vague clause in the rules that states in answer to the question can they charge you a fee? As Yes, they can! So, that means there is no limit, NONE, ZERO, ZILCH, NADA! Keep in mind this is for those that are Registrars a fancy name for those companies that ‘Register your Domain Name’. You would know them as Go Daddy, Network Solutions and the like. Make sure you ask about this fee, do whatever you need to do to make sure you understand the fees.
What’s a Domain Reseller?
Now unfortunately it gets worse! Yep, how you could it get worse? Well there are resellers of domain names. These are NOT Registrars they are just people maybe even just a single person who takes your money and buys and registers your domain with an actual Registrar. BE SUSPECT of these ‘Resellers’ why are they re-selling a commodity item?
If they are providing other services like website design or optimization or marketing they could be legitimately trying to help you with the techno babble and providing a service for a higher fee than you might pay if you did this directly with the registrar. However many businesses don’t know much about this and are happy with the ‘package’ they get and never give it a second thought. This is not necessarily a bad thing but be sure to read your agreement or ask for a copy to read before you make a decision. Check for those hidden fees ask questions, then ask more questions!
Resellers are not governed by ICANN if you have a dispute with them it’s just you your attorney and theirs and a judge. They are betting you will not go to the effort of suing them and you will just pay the fee. They are right most of the time. The bottom line here is stay away from resellers and deal with the large registrars. This does not guarantee they will perform well but if you do get fed up with them they are not going rob you on your way out the door.
The Multi-Year Domain Registration Scam
This is where you pay a reseller or registrar for say 5 years of registration after all you don’t want to bother with having to deal with registrations and renewals every year and it’s normally less expensive. However in some cases all you are doing is giving these companies a multi-year interest-free loan! Here is how it goes: You register a domain with them for say the 5 years in this example and you expect your domain name is registered for 5 years, who wouldn’t right? After all that’s what you paid for right? Think again, some registrars will pay the registry for 1 year and pocket the rest of your money. Some reseller’s will do the same; pay the registrar they use for 1 year and hold on to your money.
Then for the rest of your five-year term they’ll renew each year for one year. Here is where that Transfer-Out Fee really gives the power to molest your wallet. Let’s think about this, they stand to make more money from your original registration if they lose you as a customer before your full 5 years are up, so providing you with poor service, being aggressive with you to the point where you finally say I am going to just take my domain and leave! Well, they can’t lose they get to keep the money from the years you didn’t use the registration and YES now they hit you on top of that with the Transfer Out fee!
Some will tell you well it takes time and effort to allow you to move your domain to another registrar or reseller. Don’t believe it, they are lying, no I don’t mean it’s complicated and it depends, I mean they are full of (special symbols). All they need do is a few clicks and the rest of the process of transferring is on you and the registrar you are moving your domain too.
Sometimes the only way you know that this Scam has occurred is as a result of the Scammer ‘forgetting’ to renew your domain registration at the end of a 1 year term. Remember they are floating your money so they have to renew your domain and pay the registry or if they are a reseller a registrar. In most cases this has been when my clients find out something is not what it should be since all of sudden their website is down and their email is not working. Then we will check the WHOIS database only to find the domain has expired. Oh, the database with the funny name WHOIS is where your registration record is kept and its public information (most of it anyway).
You can use a Free whois lookup tool like Whois.sc to verify the real expiration date for your domain. It should match up with the number of years you paid your registrar or reseller for. Hey, have you been paying attention? I know its been a lot of words – check the whois database. If you don’t understand how to read it contact us we will help you!
Summing it up
Stay away from resellers unless they truly offer added value and when you choose a Reseller or a Registrar READ EVERYTHING and ASK Questions about fees and terms, then when you are sure then wait 24 hours and check the Whois database and see for yourself! If it shows a registration period less than what you paid for contact your credit card company and contest the charge.
If you need help with the registration of your domain name or you would like to move your domain name contact us we are happy to help.
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