soap-boxDomain Registrars do a terrific job of scaring you into buying private domain registration.  Business owners look at the price of less than $10 per year and say… “what the heck… might as well.” However, I have had more clients have trouble with their domain registrars because of private domain registration.

The premise of private domain registration is to hide your “personal” information.
How “personal” is your business name, address and email?

However, here are some real scenarios.

Client 1 had an employee who set up the domain and website and that employee is no longer there.
However, now all the information is in that employees name and the client didn’t think of it until 3 years later when the domain expired.  The employee is no longer there, so the email is no longer valid. Guess what!!! The first clue the business owner received was that his website was down.  When they try to figure out how to login, they can’t do forgot password because the password doesn’t exist and they don’t know which password to use since the http://who.is information is not telling them what password is on file.
(this scenario has happened so many times)

Client 2 is a non-profit with a revolving (annual elections) for Board of Directors.  Of course the people change and so does the email addresses.  Now it’s 3 years later and their website is down.  We start the process over again to find out how to get them back up.  This time we have a username and password (which most clients don’t have) to login to domain registrar.  Woohoo!   But the control panel is not accessible because of non-payment.  No problem… We’ll call and we have a credit card IN HAND to pay for the renewal.  BUT, the domain registrar representative will not take the $$ because we can’t tell her the name on file.  Hmmmm.  We can’t see it because the information on http://who.is HAS PRIVATE REGISTRATION!

But here’s the really insulting point.  The business owners paid for private domain registration.  And the customer service rep at the domain registrar is not giving her the info because it’s private.  Quite a conundrum, don’t you think?

When private domain registration came out a few years ago, it was really designed to help minimize spam from robots to target domain name owners.  Then it morphed into protecting your personal information.  But if you have more than 1 person who works for your business, then please don’t do private registration.

Here’s the reality.  You are busy running your business. The information on your domain registrar is the last thing on your mind after the day you set it up.  However, I do think It’s a good thing that GoDaddy sends you 50 emails BEFORE your domain expires.  Heck, I think they start sending emails a year before expiration.  LOL.  But sometimes you change your email or you change webmaster or you change employees and when the time comes up for renewal, it makes it so much harder to do the SIMPLE task of renewal.  To me, it’s just not worth it.  I’ve been a webmaster for 13 years now and I’ve seen first hand the troubles companies have with domain registrars even if their information is not private.  When the information is private, it’s that much tougher if you don’t have all the information.  And most business owners don’t have all the information.   Should they?  yes.  Do they?  No.  It’s just the way things are.

Okay, here is my call to action.  go to http://who.is and look up your info and print it out.  TODAY.  If you want, go one step further and make sure you have your domain registrar info (login and password) somewhere you can put your hands on it and put on your calendar when your domain name expires.  If the email doesn’t match up with a current email, then you won’t be notified.  It’s that simple.

Therefore, don’t make these simple tasks harder than they need to be.  My vote is NO on private domain registration.  What are you thoughts?

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