Are You being ‘Had’ by Your Registrar?

Real world perspective on optional domain service

When it comes to domain services available through registrars, it’s smart to know what each does and what your real need is for any service before purchasing it. Registrars are happy to sell you every service you will buy. And, while most people can see the silliness in buying a raincoat for a duck, many aren’t so sure when it comes to judging the need for protection and privatization services for their domain. 

Domain Protection aka Protected Registration

Normally, keeping your domain locked (unless you are taking steps to transfer it) is all you need to keep it secure so long as you aren’t careless with the login and password to your registrar account. That’s just common sense. Nevertheless, on rare occasion a story pops up about a highly-desirable domain being stolen out of a hacked registrar account. To help prevent such theft, registrars began selling extra layers of domain protection that, in our 16+ years of experience, isn’t necessary any more than Michigan homeowners need hurricane insurance. If you choose to subscribe, be aware that these services are designed to make it more difficult for even you to move your domain to another registrar should you choose to, especially if shortly before it expires, a time when domain transfer frequently takes place. 

One of our customers, who would otherwise have had plenty of time to transfer his domain before it expired had he not bought this extra protection, was stuck having to pay the registrar he wanted to leave for another year’s domain registration AND another year for the protection service to which he had subscribed. Why? Because it was three days before his domain would expire that efforts to transfer his domain started and ended because the protection service required three days lead time to be turned off. Without it disabled, he could not unlock his domain or get the authorization code needed to transfer it. If he waited the three days for the service to be disabled, his domain would expire and his email would be interrupted, something he couldn’t afford to have happen. In the end, the additional layer of protection prevented him from being able to freely manage his own domain and, in this case, it trapped him into buying services he didn’t want from a registrar he was trying to leave. 

With some registrars, Protected Registration also backstops your domain expiring if your credit card expires, not unlike overdraft protection offered by banks. The registrar will email you if this kicks into effect. But, then, they also email you for free–and more than once–to alert you that your credit card needs updating well before yourdomain expires. Depending on your email habits, this aspect of the service, if available, may be helpful. 

Private Registration – Going Incognito 

Have you ever seen where the registrant and all the contacts for a domain are ‘privatized’? Privacy services hide the identity and contact information for the owner of a domain. Communications can still reach the domain owner through the information listed, but their real name, address, email and phone number are not revealed in the publicly available domain record. 

This type of service is great if you’re putting up a site that, for some reason, you don’t want associated with you personally or corporately. But, it makes no sense to hide that the owner of a domain at which a contracting website is hosted is, in fact, the contracting company. Can it help protect you from junk mail and spam? Perhaps some, but not without also preventing Google from using your domain registration to cross-validate your online identity, a factor in search engine ranking. Again, this is a service that makes sense and is worth paying for in certain situations, but not usually for a domain tied to a website for a brick and mortar business.

New Domain SEO Service Scam Alert: 

Domain Registry of America got a bad name for the way they sent offers that looked like bills and tricked domain owners into paying a company they’d never done business with for the renewal of their domain. Yes, they would transfer your domain to their account and pay to renew it for a year but, the point is, you did not intend to change registrars or make a conscious decision to work with them. Well, there’s a new kid on the block…a company selling SEO using a similar strategy but with a few new twists. Click here to take a look at the offer sent to one of our subscribers by email. If you should get one of these, you may find that the domain on the bill/offer may be for a domain that is not even owned by you, but that is available for registration. The top of the notice/invoice simply says Domain SEO Service and the email being sent to domain owners includes a link to submit payment online… but payment to whom? The identity of the company trying to obtain your business and wanting to you to enter your credit card is never disclosed anywhere in the email. Because we manage domains for a great many of our customers, we have received a great many of these emails for different domains and, therefore, can see that each email has been sent from a different random address as well. If you manage your own domain, we wanted to make you aware of this scam in case you receive similar emails.

Click here to see one of these email ‘offers

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