We have heard over the years, from businesses, that they don’t need a corporate domain registrar as they manage their domains in-house?
What does “in-house” mean and can it be done?
The answer is YES and NO.
YES, a person or team can oversee domain management on behalf of a company. They can manage a variety of duties such as creating a domain strategy, internal policy, determining when to register new domains, administering the registration and renewal process, and bringing together all relevant internal departments to discuss domain related matters.
NO, in order to register, renew, transfer or update a domain, the in-house team MUST use a domain registrar. This is because most domain registries do not allow registrants to register domains directly. A registrar is a company that holds an accreditation with a registry for each domain extension and has integrated its systems to facilitate the registration and management of domains with a direct connection to the registry.
Why Is A Domain Registrar Necessary?
Let’s break it down.
Here is a diagram to show the process of registering a domain:
There are three parties involved in this registration process:
- The in-house domain manager who needs to register a domain on behalf of their company. The company is the registrant of the domain.
- The domain registrar, who is accredited and provides the connection between the registrant and the registry.
- The registry In this example, Verisign is the registry operator of all .com domains.
The in-house person logs in to his company’s account with a registrar (such as Lexsynergy). They register the domain through Lexsynergy’s portal where they can also manage and update it. This registration process is seamless due to the registrar and registry integration.
Are All Domain Registrars Created Equal?
Now that you know that a domain registrar is required, how do you go about choosing the right one for your company?
When making this decision it is important to know the difference between a corporate registrar and retail registrar.
Retail registrars (e.g. Network Solutions, GoDaddy, Tucows, etc.) are for individuals or small companies that have a handful of domains. The retail registrar’s domain prices are low as their domains are the ancillary service to support hosting, web design templates and email services. Without a domain, you cannot have an email address or website. A domain has an annual charge while hosting and email is a monthly charge with a higher profit margin from which they derive their revenue. They are not geared to provide a specialised domain advisory service. Generally, a retail registrar has:
- Fewer accreditations (especially country code extensions)
- No or limited access to account managers
- Tech support that can be slow to respond
- Limited payment terms (usually a credit card – creates issues when replaced)
- Limited out of band communications
- Limited renewal reminders, with no telephone follow-ups
- No advisory services or brand protection support services
Due to a retail registrar’s limited accreditations, they will resell from another registrar or you will find yourself using multiple registrars for different extensions as your business expands. The flow chart depicts the situation.
Registrar 1 is used for the popular extensions such as .com, .net and .uk.
Registrar 2 is used as the business starts trading in some African countries extensions such as .ng (Nigeria), co.za (South Africa) and co.bw (Botswana).
Registrar 3 is used as the business expands to Europe to secure domains in extensions such as .de (Germany), .be (Belgium) and .fr (France).
Registrar 4 is used to register new extensions that are reserved for a specific industry or location such as .bank (registered banks), .law (lawyers) and .insurance (registered insurance companies).
PROBLEM: The in-house team has to log into four separate registrar accounts if not more to manage one domain portfolio, downloading spreadsheets or importing information into internal software that is ever-changing. This is inefficient and is prone to error potentially exposing the company to unnecessary risks.
Corporate registrars (e.g. Lexsynergy) are geared for small to large businesses that own multiple domains across several countries or that correspond to its trade marks. Corporate registrars are widely accredited in both common and exotic jurisdictions such as co.zm (Zambia), .ci (Ivory Coast) and com.ar (Argentina) and uncommon extensions such as .购物 (.shopping in Chinese), allowing you to manage your entire domain portfolio through a single provider.
Having all your domains managed in one place allows you to have an overall view of your portfolio so you can manage your domains efficiently, renew domains timeously and identify gaps and potential infringements.
It is prudent to separate the management of your domains from your hosting provider, which will allow you to move hosting services without interruption and avoids the administrative burden, cost, and risk of transferring domains to another registrar.
Features of a corporate registrar include:
- Directly accredited with hundreds of registries worldwide
- Ability to manage domains in one location
- A dedicated account manager who helps with technical support and domain advice
- 24/7 technical support via phone and email
- Develops and coordinates a domain strategy and policy
- Greater billing and reporting flexibility
- Conduct annual domain audits to identify infringements, risks, and important unregistered domains
- Domains are, by default, set to auto-renew to avoid missing renewal dates
- Added security through two-factor authentication and IP restrictions
- Local presence services to ensure defensive domains are secured in restricted jurisdictions
- GDPR compliant
- Whois information consistent across multiple domain extensions ensuring the correct entity is recorded as the registrant (trade mark owner)
The diagram below shows the simplified process of managing all of your domains with a single provider.
There is no real way of avoiding a registrar, even if you are in-house, so the best solution is to select a registrar that will make managing domains simpler and more efficient.