If you’ve already chosen a domain name, your first step should be to register it with a domain name registration service. This will give you the exclusive right to use that domain name.
You may want to register a name—or more than one—even if you haven’t yet searched for possible trademark conflicts or made a final decision about your domain name. Websites are going up in great numbers, and if you wait, you may lose the name you want. You do risk wasting the amount of the reservation or registration fee if you later decide to use a different name.
But that risk may be worth it if you do ultimately decide to use your first choice and you’ve managed to prevent someone else from grabbing it first.
Example: Mark wants to use the domain name doctortrademark.com for his website, which offers legal advice on trademarks. He checks the availability of that name and learns that it has been taken. Mark then checks drtrademark.com and finds that it’s available. Although Mark knows that using such a similar domain name might infringe the doctortrademark.com trademark, he decides to go ahead and reserve the name until he can do some more investigation regarding the other “Doctor Trademark” website.
If the exact domain name you want has been taken by someone else, you will not be able to register it unless you have already been using the name as a trademark and are willing to take the steps described in a future article to assert your legal rights as a trademark owner.
Caution Don’t be a cybersquatter. It is against federal law to register someone else’s personal or business name as your domain name, if you’re doing it because you want to sell the name back to its owner for a profit. If you are choosing a domain name for the purpose of using it on a website that will be doing legitimate commerce, you have nothing to worry about.
However, if you are buying up domain names so you can sell them later, you should definitely get some advice from a lawyer about the legality of your activity. The federal Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, the law that prohibits cybersquatting.
Where to Register
A number of new domain name registration agencies are getting ready to open their electronic doors. For now, however, we recommend that you use Network Solutions, Inc., to check the availability of and register your name. NSI is the leading domain name registrar in the world, with over five million registrations to date and, until mid-1999, was the only U.S. registry. We base our recommendation primarily on NSI’s successful track record; the newer registries, while competitive in terms of price, lack NSI’s experience.
New Domain Name Registries
The international group that is now in charge of Internet domain name policy (ICANN, short for International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is in the process of chartering a number of additional domain name registering agencies.
All of these agencies use a shared, central registry, maintained by NSI, so that there will be no duplications. The main stated purpose of having a number of registering agencies is to foster competition. While NSI is still the main game in town, more choices may mean lower registration fees. A list of approved domain name registries is available at www.internic.net/alpha.html.
After checking the availability of your name with NSI, you can either register it or reserve it with a credit card. If you want to register the name, you must be prepared to give NSI information about
your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and about who will be physically maintaining (hosting) your
If you don’t have immediate plans to attach your domain name to a website, or haven’t gathered the information you need to register from your ISP (or intended website host), you can still reserve the name. The ISP and hosting information will not be required until you are ready to put the domain name into use. Reserving rather than registering the name costs an additional $49, on top of the basic $70 fee for a two-year registration. You can register a name for up to 10 years.
How to Check the Availability of and Register a Domain Name
NSI offers a quick way for you to find out whether a name is available, and if it is, to register it on the spot. Just go to www.networksolutions.com and type the name you want in the Register a Web Address box. Choose a top-level domain to the right (.com for most users) and click Go! If the name is available, you’ll have an opportunity to also register the .net and .org versions of the same name if they’re available.
have chosen Webvan, Inc., as the name of your grocery delivery business and want to use webvan.com as your domain name.
However, you soon discover that someone else has already taken this domain name. You run the name through the WHOIS search engine on the Network Solutions home page and find that Intelligent Systems for Retail, Inc., is the domain name registrant . The search results also give you a contact name, phone number, address and email address. From there, you can decide whether you want to contact Intelligent Systems for Retail, Inc., perhaps to make an offer to buy the name.
What to Register
In addition to your product or service name, you may want to register one or more related names, if they are available. These might be common misspellings of the primary name, names of specific
product brands owned by your business and names that reflect the generic nature of your products.
For instance, Peet’s Coffee & Tea owns not only peets.com, but also coffee.com. Peet’s might want to lock up petes.com (for the bad spellers), petescoffee.com and peetscoffee.com.
I personally recommend you to try register your domain at : Godaddy.com. Name.com or Namecheap.com.
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