6 Things to Watch Out for When Buying a Domain
Purchasing a domain name is a fun step for a business, but there’s more to it than just finding the perfect domain. Before you begin, there are a few things that you should know.
Not all companies who sell domain names (known as domain registrars) are the same. Some use tactics such as hiding fees or selling your information to make more money.
With a few simple tips, you’ll know what to look out for before buying a domain.
Price can be a big factor. It’s easy to be lured into buying a domain at a low price. But don’t be fooled: some domain registrars offer promotional pricing at an extremely low cost, but then hide lots of fees in the contract, lock you in and charge high renewal rates.
Generally, be aware that registrars offering rock-bottom domain prices may have other, less-than-ethical ways of making money. These tactics include:
• Adding in hidden costs
• Making you pay to edit your WHOIS or RDAP listing
• Add-ons and extras
• Charging transfer fees
Protect your privacy
Because domain details are public record in the WHOIS and RDAP directories, many businesses choose to keep their personal information private. Unprotected data is susceptible to being mined by spammers and scammers. Look for domain registrars who offer privacy protection for free. Beware of registrars who charge a premium for ‘privacy services’, especially any who offer to put their details on these registries instead of yours, which secretly gives them ownership of the domain.
Protect your data
Beyond failing to protect your personal data from public records, some registrars actually sell your data to third parties such as marketing organizations. Some registrars even mine the WHOIS database and send out false renewal invoices, getting people to unknowingly transfer their domains. Make sure that you find a registrar that promises never to sell or misuse your customer data for marketing purposes.
Look for registrars that offer transparency in their pricing and practices. You should be able to easily find your renewal rates and the processes for transferring or cancelling your domain registration. Some registrars offer cheap registration for your initial purchase, but then charge you sky-high prices to renew your domain the following year. They may also make it very difficult to cancel your order. Look for a registrar with up-front pricing information and Terms of Service to avoid surprises later on.
Differentiate support from sales
Some registrars don’t have support staff, but instead have salespeople who are trained to get you to buy add-on services that you might not need while pretending to offer customer support. Read reviews about your registrar’s support team, or try calling their support line before purchasing. You want a registrar that offers courteous and professional service and assistance, not one that views you as a cash register that they keep trying to ring.
Buying a domain name should be fun and exciting
As a rite of passage for any new business or online venture, buying a domain name should be fun and exciting. With careful research before you choose a domain registrar, you can side-step some unfortunate traps and make sure that your domain – and your business – are in good hands for years to come.
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