What’s In A Name

What’s in a domain name to be precise.

After you have decided to set up a website the next thing you need to do is buy a domain name. This can be harder than you might think as finding one which is available can be difficult especially if you want it to match a business name.

So how do you find if a name is available.

There are a large number of sites where you can both search for name availability and where you can then buy the name. Many would recommend buying a name from an Australian site as they are more contactable if you need customer support but most sites have good email support.

Once you have decided on the domain name site you can start entering names to see if they are available. Generally speaking it is recommended you buy the .com.au version of the name and the .com if it is available. You could also buy the .net.au and the .net if you wish but it is not imperative.

If the name is long or could be easily misspelt then buy some spelling variations and some abbreviations just to cover all bases. You only use one name for emails and advertise one as your website address but the other names can be pointed to your website so when someone enters one of the alternate names into their browser it will find your website.

What about domain names on back order?

When you search for a name you may see a backorder option. If you click this option the name registration site will contact the owner of the name to see if they want to sell it. The prices quoted for buying these names can range form hundreds to many thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands or even more. But if you really want a name it might be worth your while at least enquiring.

Just because a name has been purchased it doesn’t mean it is being used. It is known for people to buy names and just keep them waiting to see if someone wants to buy them. This is called cybersquatting.

Cybersquatting on .com.au names is not legal and if you feel you have claim to a name (it is your business name for example) you can apply to http://www.ausregistry.com.au to have the name released to you. This way you can secure the name without paying exorbitant fees. The .com names are not so strictly controlled and there really is not much you can do about cybersquatting on these.

Can I find out who owns a domain name?

Yes you can. Go to this site https://www.whois.com.au/ click on tools, scroll down the page to WHOIS Lookup, enter the name and follow the prompts. When buying a name there is an option to hide the ID of the entity who owns the name. If this is the case then you won’t be able to see the name of the owner. However, must people don’t hide their ID.

Some tips:
• Make sure you buy your domain name and not someone else such as your web developer or accountant as then they own the name.
• When buying the name you will need to enter an email address. This will be used for all notifications for the name such as renewals so make sure it is an address which will always be in use and monitored and not an address which relates to a person who may leave the business at some time in the future.
• Before you register your trading name, check to see if the domain name is available.
• The jury is out as to whether you hide the ID of the entity buying the name. It will cost a little more but hiding the ID will stop most of the spam emails you receive offering websites, hosting etc.
• When buying the name the site will offer you add ons including Office 365, email services, hosting etc. Initially it is probably best to ignore these and talk to your web developer or computer network provider to see what you need for your business as the generic products on offer may not suit you.

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