Own Your Assets: Avoid Domain Transfer

domain transfer

Avoid needing a domain transfer. Be sure to buy your URL from the start!

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for quite some time. A recent painful experience reminded me that I really needed to get it out there so others can learn.

Over the past year or so PWB has moved to STRONGLY recommending to our clients that they own their URLs. We’ve seen far too many situations where a third-party purchased a URL on behalf of a client. Then the client and the third party part ways, or they go out of business, or something else changes.

Avoiding Domain Transfer

Now the client needs a domain transfer. On the surface, this seems like a simple enough process. And generally, it is. Except when it’s not. We’ve had a few go badly. Generally it’s when moving a URL from a re-seller to a more mainstream registrar. So far we’ve only lost one – a back-up URL that wasn’t key. But we’ve certainly had more than a few hair-pulling moments.

Buying a URL is simple, it puts you in control, and it ensures that you retain control over a key marketing asset. We recommend consolidating all of your URLs with a single registrar to simplify renewals and management. If possible, we like to take it a step further and suggest consolidating your URL registration with your hosting provider. This way everything’s in one convenient place. We like GoDaddy for their simplicity, uptime, and top-notch on-phone customer support – but there are certainly others.

While we’re on the topic, if you’re considering an acquisition, make sure the rights to the URL are included in your terms. While this may seem obvious, it’s an easy detail to overlook in a complex transaction.

We’ve even gone so far as to stop purchasing URLs on our client’s behalf. Own your assets. If you do, the potential risks of losing a URL go down significantly. We hope this helps even one marketer avoid a difficult situation.



2 replies
  1. Pat
    Pat says:

    Yes, having your domain name stolen/transferred away is devastating to say the least. This happened to us about 3 months ago. The hosting company had been hacked about 2 years ago now, I moved the website to another host but do to all the old hosts problems and any time I contacted them I would get emails from the hacker I held off on transferring our domain name. This past summer I tried many ways to contact them and when I did the hackers started the process of transferring it themselves as reseller with another registrar and trying to extort money. While I was working with new registrar the thieves transferred it to another registrar and to someone else as the owner. I am still trying to recover it and ICANN has been of no help in the process. I am currently waiting for them to process the complaint but it been almost 3 months!

    Mean while we got a new domain name and are trying to get back up in the search engines. Previously we had a 20 year presences on the web and now we are starting from scratch! Unfortunately most of the information about this is geared toward local consumer businesses. We are a B2B company with most of our customers not local, but national, Canada and the Caribbean.

    I will mention that we used separate email service for our email not associated with our domain since we had been using email prior to going live on the web and when we tried to use our domain email we were flooded with spam. Also our customers were used to communicating with us via that email. As it turned out is was a saving grace when our domain was stolen!

    • Tammy
      Tammy says:

      This article is really about simply owning your assets. It seems that you did that pat, but that hackers stole your information. That is another issue we have been seeing more often. I too had by blog URL stolen several years ago. They did not realize how hard I would work to take all of my good traffic and redirect it to my real blog. They tried getting money out of me but two years later I was able to buy back my URL for the price of the hosting company.


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