Check who REALLY owns your domain names

A friend told me a sorry tale the other day of a company she had worked at where there had been a bit of ‘falling out’ with a member of staff. That member of staff had left under a cloud and – because the company hadn’t registered their web domains properly – also left with the company’s domain names; which soon ended up pointing at a competitors website.

The first thing the original company found out about it was when their email stopped working. Obviously there is always the danger that somebody who can access the domain name account can redirect your domain names anywhere, but people like Nominet (the internet supervisors) can act very quickly to restore order. However, they can only do so if you are the legal owner of the domain. In this case, like many we see, the company had been sloppy and allowed this person to register the company domain name using their own personal details!

The result – stalemate, and a lack of company email and website for over a week (and still ongoing as of today). This is having a serious economic effect on the company and could well end up being the final straw in what were already hard times for it.

The lessons to learn?

  • Be careful who you give your domain account access details to.
    Consider changing them from those initially used to register the account.
  • Make sure all domain names are registered to your company.
    The registrant type should be correct (not individual).
    The registrant name should be a director of the company.
    The registered address should be the registered address of the company.

There are lots of tools allowing you to check your domain name, but the easiest we find is to go to a domain name registrar such as and search for your own domain name. Click on where it says ‘taken‘ and check the details it displays. At the same time look for registrations of any other similar domain names (say a .biz, .eu etc.) that other people might have registered for themselves ‘just in case’.

Whenever we do a web site review or web site Search Engine Optimisation analysis, this is one of the first things we check; make sure you don’t get caught out!!

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About Gerald Thulbourn

Gerald Thulbourn setup WebSanity in 2004. He has a 1st class honours MEng in Microelectronics & Software Engineering (i.e. he's a techy), 5 A grades at A level (i.e. he works hard) and loves to communicate (i.e. odd for a techy). He hates tech speak, sloppy/badly tested code, and technology for the sake of technology's sake. He loves helping people understand marketing concepts and seeing how their application makes a real difference to their business. In particular he loves training; SEO, Website Analysis, WordPress etc. Read more about us on Google+