Have you ever been in a meeting with a new or existing client and they ask you to register their domain name for you? Well I have and I’m here to tell you that it’s a dangerous proposition. There was this one time that I had a meeting with a client at a restaurant and he said “oh, could you register xyz domain for me?”
I said “sure, I can do that.” After a good meeting in which I think I’ve landed a major restaurant chain I go back to my office and I’m going to register the domain name and low and behold it’s not available. It’s been taken.
Immediately my thought is “oh no” because they’d just spent a ton of money branding this web address. Now I could include a huge sidebar article right here about how stupid it was of them to not register this domain name the moment they thought about it. It’s just a few dollars to register a domain name and it doesn’t require a Ph.D. But I digress.
So I call them up and I say “it’s already been registered, did you register it?”
Usually you can track down who registered the name and try to talk to them about buying it from them. I’ve done this on occasion and usually for a couple hundred dollars you can get the name you want. But this was different. This was their business name.
Now here’s where it gets sticky.
- The domain name was registered the same day as our meeting.
- The domain name was registered using Go Daddy’s private registration service.
Yeah, pretty bad, huh? So I call them up again and spell it out for them. Needless to say, they thought I had gone and registered the domain name myself. Sheesh.
So I call up Go Daddy and talk to the first support person who answers.
“Is there any way to find out who registered that domain name?”
“No, it’s registered privately.”
“Well is there any way to prove they are infringing on a trademark? It is the business name of another company here in town” I say.
At this point the Go Daddy guy explains that they have a trademark department that handles this sort of thing and that if you can prove you own the trademark you can retrieve the domain. “Hooray!” I think to myself. So I go and write up an explanation about this process for the restaurant owner and give it to him.
What does he do? Nothing! It was quite disheartening really, because I gave him a way to get his domain back and he didn’t care.
So that’s pretty much why whenever I hear a client say “can you register that for us?” I shake in my boots.
Moral of the story? Learn how to register your own domain name.