Assuming you have decided to purchase a domain name, registration is fairly straightforward. The ability to register domain names is granted to numerous “registrars”. Registrars are accredited by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (or “ICANN”), which is a non-profit corporation formed specifically to control domain name management and other similar functions. ICANN is the globally recognized regulatory agency of all domain names, although it is not affiliated or a part of any governmental body of any country. Domains are made available to you and I through licensed registrars, such as Go Daddy and Network Solutions. All assigned names are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Today, registration is simply a matter of purchasing the domain on the website of an accredited registrar and completing the registration information. I will talk about the importance of maintaining control over your domain in a later post.


 What Are The Benefits of Private Domain Name Registration?

If you register using your own personal name or contact information, there are certainly drawbacks. Providing your personal contact information exposes you to e-mail spam, identity theft, or even other unsolicited marketing tactics, namely unsolicited telephone calls. Of course, your personal information is out there too so anyone can access the WHOIS database and determine who owns your domain name. Most registrars make this information easily accessible on the same page as their domain search feature.

Contact information for the owner of each domain is published in the public WHOIS database. In the case of a privately owned domain, the WHOIS database contains the full name, address, telephone number, and email address of the registered owner of the domain. If the domain is owned by a business, the company name, address, email, and telephone number are listed. There are also fields for a domain administrator, technical administrator, and other contacts. The expiration date of the registration period is also listed. ICANN regulations require that this information is made available for public view.

When you register your domain privately, it will help eliminate or reduce,email spam, identify theft, unsolicited telemarketing and direct mail and will hide your residential/home office address information. In addition, your personal information, such as your address or phone number, is not published, and alternate contact information (third party private registrant) is displayed in the WHOIS listing. The only drawback is that some of your customers may view the fact they cannot see who owns your domain unfavorably. Some folks feel private registration is evidence that the website operator might be unscrupulous. However, you can do many things to develop trust with your website viewers and still reap the benefits of private registration. (Certification of your business with the Better Business Bureau and obtaining an Extended Validation SSL Certificate from Verisign are prime examples).

I do not recommend the use of “proxy” services where you essentially give up control over your domain. As I always preach, control of your domain name is extremely important, especially administrative control. If you register your domain privately, use a service that will provide you with full control and standing as the actual registrant. Go Daddy, Network Solutions and a host of other reputable registrars do offer these features with their private registration services.