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Who Is The Proper Registrant?

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 07:44 AM

In my opinion I think that the business owner should be the registrant. In my opinion it is highly improper for a hosting company or designer to be the registrant.

However, I do know that lots of hosting companies and designers register domains for their clients and place their own name or their company name as the registrant.

I don't agree with that. All of my domains are in my name, why isn't that the case for everyone?

What is legal? What is ethical? Is this an area where anything is OK?

If a designer registers my business domain and names himself as registrar and I want to use a different designer then I could have a problem. If that designer goes out of business, runs to another country with his girl friend, goes senile or loses interest in webwork... then I might have a problem.

What's your opinion or experience?

How hard is it to yank your business domain name away from a host who is registrant and is unhappy with you?

#2 DonnaFontenot


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Posted 14 August 2009 - 08:22 AM

I'm with you 100%. I've seen quite a few times where a person/company had a huge problem getting their domain away from the host or designer or whoever registered it in their name. Never, ever let anyone register your domain in their name. Don't even let an employee of your company do this (even if he's your IT guy).

#3 Respree


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Posted 14 August 2009 - 08:44 AM

The registrant, if I understand correctly, is the legal owner of the domain.

This analogy seems appropriate.

Would you give a construction company the title to your land?
If all this talk about domains and contacts is still a little fuzzy, let's compare it to a more familiar situation. Say you're having a house built. Imagine that the builder said to you, "Hey, just sign your deed over to me so that I can take care of all those annoying details like applying for permits, etc. But don't worry, I'll let you live on the land after the house is built and use it just like you still legally owned it." You'd think that was a ludicrous proposition of course, regardless of how well you knew and trusted the builder.

Well, the same goes for letting somebody else own your domain, regardless of how much you trust them.

Additional reading, here.




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Posted 14 August 2009 - 09:06 AM

Thanks for the link, Garrick. I read that one twice. :lol:

#5 Walter


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Posted 14 August 2009 - 10:31 AM

Hello All,

If the web dev goes through the process of registering the domain name...can they register it in the name of their client? Or would the client have to go on-line themselves to do this?

Just wondering...





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Posted 14 August 2009 - 01:44 PM

I have an account at a registrar and can place anyone's name as the registrant, billing contact, admin contact, etc.

I have registered domains for clients, my kids, friends and relatives. They are held in my account with automatic renewal and domain lock. I get billed for the annual renewal fees. The owners of these domains are the registrant. I am the billing contact and admin contact.

I can edit the ownership data if I want to and I change the DNS for these people if they need it. However, I am sure that the registrar would have a record of the IP address, and previous data etc. of any changes that are made.

The people who have me do this for them are not interested in learning about DNS and hosting. They just get me to make the changes when needed - they always ask me to take care of any hosting jobs that are needed. They all have known me for a long time and trust me more than Joe Schmoe hosting service plus his employees.

If any of them had an exceptionally valuable domain I would have them get an account with a registrar and transfer the domain to them.

Edited by EGOL, 14 August 2009 - 01:46 PM.

#7 jonbey


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Posted 14 August 2009 - 02:20 PM

Good timing, as this is a question I was planning to ask. I use one registrars, and so far everything, with the exception of one domain in my mum's name, is in my name.

Now, I was thinking, if I build a new site (new domain) for someone, what is the best approach? I am just not comfortable with me having their domain on my account, even if in their name. If I decide to quit web design, or drop dead, then what happens? I was thinking that a better approach is to talk them through setting up their own account (I did this with my brother) and then either show them where to change the nameserver details or do it myself. I still think that this is the safest option. It is what I would want to do if I employed someone to build me a new site.

The problem is, getting the client to do it. I guess I just need to explain exactly why I am doing it this way, i.e. to ensure that they have control. Then if for whatever reason they decide to take their business elsewhere in the future, then they can just change nameservers.

But, if a client was a real technophobe (or just really busy like the consultant that worked on my leg yesterday) and asked me to do the whole thing, how would I do it? I was thinking that maybe I should create a new account just for clients to keep the separate. Or, maybe investigate the reseller options on my hosting - maybe they could buy the domains through the hosting? Hmmm....




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Posted 14 August 2009 - 02:51 PM

You could have the client purchase hosting and registration in his own name and that would create a business relationship between the client/hosting/registrar and may relieve you of some work and responsibility.

However a lot of people who provide web services have a dedicated server and charge clients for hosting. That way you might pay $159/month for the server but if you host 50 client websites for $25/month then selling them the hosting gives you $1250/month in recurring income.

That is really nice income but if your hosting goes down or you get hacked or something else bad happens then you are going to have lots of angry clients after you!

Edited by EGOL, 14 August 2009 - 02:52 PM.

#9 jonbey


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Posted 14 August 2009 - 02:56 PM

I already have a reseller account with my own accounts on that is a good UK server. I may get a 2nd reseller account first before taking the dedicated route. I can brand the accounts myself.

My approach is to register only the domain and do hosting elsewhere. I just like to keep it separate, i.e. have the domains direct with a registrar, as I think this should make it easier if the host blows up.

Edited by jonbey, 14 August 2009 - 03:46 PM.

#10 EGOL



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Posted 14 August 2009 - 03:37 PM

That sounds like a good idea.

#11 Jem


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Posted 17 August 2009 - 03:26 AM

At work we have a range of domains in both our name and individual client's names.

We have some smaller clients who aren't comfortable with their address being in their whois - in which case we can use ours without having to pay extra for whoisguard or another anonymising service. (Often we use the format "[Client Name] c/o [Our Company]" for name.)

Some clients want us to deal with absolutely everything, and having our details in there stops them from receiving mails and other unwanted contact.

The important thing is that, despite this, we know who owns each domain and should they wish to change the registrar details or move to another company, we provide them with the domain/necessary details straight away. We rely a lot on word of mouth for our business - being shady with domain names or making it difficult for a client to get away would just jeopardise the hard work we put in.

#12 wiser3


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Posted 17 August 2009 - 08:06 AM

As a one man shop i have to consider that if i drop dead my clients would be stranded without the proper information.

I register each clients domains with separate accounts (from the same registar) and all my hosting is done on a reseller server. Then i fill out a simple form i made with all the clients domain and hosting information, passwords, etc... I keep the form on hand (electronically and in paper form) for my own records as well as giving a copy to the client.

As long as the client stays with me i take care of everything. If anything should happen to me they can easily take that form to someone else and get whatever they want changed.

#13 jonbey


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Posted 17 August 2009 - 08:13 AM

Wiser3, sounds like a good solution. I am also a one man band, and have this worry too.

In fact, I need to do this for my own domains, so that my family can carry on running my main sites should I die. Must write up the procedures.

#14 goodnewscowboy


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Posted 17 August 2009 - 01:37 PM

I agree with Egol that the business owner should be the registrant, but the realities of some businesses are that they don't understand/care/know when the domain comes up for renewal, and then the registration lapses.

I had that happen to people I've worked with. In one case, they completely lost what was an excellent domain name.

It all depends upon your business model I think. If you are a one stop shop, that portrays yourself as a do all type of place, then you are actually doing the disorganized business owner a favor by babysitting the domain name.

If you are a boutique or specialist shop then the less you have to watch over the better.

#15 Jem


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Posted 17 August 2009 - 04:01 PM

^ Agreed! We've had some VERY close calls with clients losing their own domain names. Thankfully, I don't think we've lost one yet. Redemption periods are a blessing :)

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