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All About Domain Names
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All About Domain Names
Online businesses have become extremely popular in that last few years. While many steps of starting an online business are the same as those for a traditional business, several additional requirements are necessary to create your website. To understand the basics of starting your website, you must understand what a domain name is, how to select one, and how to register it.
What is a domain name?
A domain name is the web address of your online business. For example, Business.gov is the domain name of the U.S. government's business portal. Choosing and registering a domain name is the first step in starting an online business.
How do I choose an appropriate domain name?
For business purposes, choosing an appropriate domain name can be almost as important as knowing how to properly register it. As the internet identity of your business, your domain name should representative, unique, easy to remember, use keywords, and have an appropriate extension (.com). To help users create appropriate, business-ready domain names, the Small Business Matters blog has published a two part series:
- Tips for Choosing a Business Name that is Unique, Web-Ready, and Legally Yours! - Part 1
- Tips for Choosing a Business Name that is Unique, Web-Ready, and Legally Yours! - Part 2
Where and how do I register my domain name?
After you've chosen an appropriate domain name, the registration process is easy and cost friendly. Domain name registration is completed through an organization called InterNIC - Public Information Regarding Internet Domain Name Registration Services*. Individual businesses may choose which registrar that they would like to use to complete their registration. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (I-CANN)* has created an approved list of Certified Registering Authorities* to help you choose a legitimate registrar.
Once you select your registrar, their website will take you through a short process to officially register your name. You will generally encounter small fees and registration periods depending on your selected registrar.
Be sure to comply with the United States Patent and Trademark Office's laws regarding Abusive Domain Name Registration of Personal Names, which involve domain names that intend to be confusingly similar, or mislead others, into the true ownership of that domain name. For more information, check out Business.gov's guide to Registering a Domain Name.
Are there any security risks to look out for when registering my domain name?
Unfortunately, there are scams that target individuals attempting to register a domain name. In one instance, scammers attempt to take advantage of news that the I-CANN* has made certain top level domains public. New domain names include .aero, .biz, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, and .pro. Because the general public isn't aware of the new changes, it could be easy to fall victim to this scam. Take precautions to protect yourself when registering a domain name and review the Federal Trade Commission's guide to avoiding domain name scams.
What is cybersquatting?
Registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with a negative intent to profit from a trademark or name belonging to someone else is known as cybersquatting. Once they control a particular domain, a cybersquatter would attempt to sell the domain to the person or business who owns the trademark or name at an inflated price. U.S. federal law prohibits cybersquatting through the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
- Starting and Growing an Online Business: An Entrepreneur's Checklist
- Community Online Business Discussions
Note: Hyperlink* directs reader to non-government Web site.