How to protect my domain name
The domain name has become unavoidable for companies wanting to develop a communication / effective sales channel on the internet. The first step in creating your website is the reservation of the name for its future exploitation. The domain name is the access address to your site, the one that your visitors and customers will remember and use to access your services. Its desactivation can have catastrophic consequences: a temporary unavailability deprives you of activity until the service is restored. In case of loss of the domain name, you must not only communicate about the change of Internet address, but in addition, the new owner could use your old address to harm you. This is why the protection of your domain name is essential.
The conditions for filing registers, what you need to know to protect domain name
The holder of a domain name does not really own it: he “rents” the domain name from a register, through a registrar. The registrar decides the conditions to be fulfilled in order to be entitled to a domain name in a certain extension. For example, .ARCHI domain names are reserved for registered archiects and their structures; .US domain names may only be exploited by natural and legal persons in the United States and entities with a commercial relationship with the United States.
Very often, the verification of the filling of the conditions is done downstream: the reservation of the domain name is free and the good faith of the presumed holder. Random checks are performed and the registry then claims proof of the legitimacy of the domain name deposit. If the registrant is unable to provide it, the registry may then deactivate its domain name even before the scheduled expiry date.
Keep your WHOIS information up-to-date
This is the basic rule for any holder of a domain name: your contact details associated with the domain name must be filled in and up to date, including your contact address. That way, you’ll be notified when a domain name event occurs, including transfer requests and renewal notices. The rest of the information must not be neglected either: if they are changed, their history becomes an important index to determine the legitimate owner if necessary.
Is your e-mail box secure enough?
Each chain has the strength of its weakest link: your account at your registrar allows you to administer your domain names and in particular to obtain the codes to authorize their outgoing transfer. If a third party managed to access your interface, your domain names would be available to him. The most common method to maliciously obtain your access codes is to hack your e-mail box associated with your account. Make sure that the passwords of your registrar account and your e-mail addresses are complex and different; that you use a different e-mail address for the one displayed in the WHOIS (which is public and will therefore be the target of the hackers) and for that of your registrar account (which is crucial in the protection of your account);
that your email provider is reliable.
Do not let your domain name expire
A domain name is unique: when booked, it is for a period of 1 to 10 years at most. At the end of the period that had been determined, the domain name, if it is not automatically renewed, passes in “period of redemption”: it then becomes unavailable, and its holder has about thirty days to reserve it again. At the end of this period, the domain name falls into the public domain, that is to say that everyone can then book it. The reservation is made on the traditional principle of “first come, first served”. Thus, it is enough for a person wishing to recover your domain name to place a robot that will take care of the reservation at the moment when the domain becomes available: this practice is called backorder. Legally, the domain name then belongs to him.
Register your domain name over several years in order to protect domain name
To prevent your domain from expiring, there are several strategies to explore. On the one hand, keep your contact information up to date as indicated above, so you will be notified as the expiry date approaches. Nevertheless, zero risk does not exist, and you may forget to renew despite reminders from your registrar. The best way to reduce this risk is to reduce its frequency by reserving your domain names over several years. Most extensions allow to register domain names for up to 10 years: do not hesitate to opt for this solution of tranquility, especially as the multi-year rates are decreasing.
Activate a domain name to protect your brand
In the same way that the operation of a trademark does not guarantee its protection if you do not file it, a domain name that does not correspond to a trademark may, according to the applicable law, be recovered by judicial means by a third party filing this mark. However, in France, if you register a domain name and actually exploit it, it may constitute a prior art opposable to a trademark. If you manage multiple domain names, protect them by pointing them to one of your sites, or alternatively, by customizing the waiting page that will appear when a user visits one of your names.
Carefully choose your registrar
Domain names are managed at two levels: the first is the registry, also called registry, which manages the extension, that is to say the suffix of the domain name (.US, .COM, .NET .. .). The second level consists of registrars, also known as registrars, which are charged by the registers of the redistribution of domain names to the public. Registrars are all private companies, and are in fact heterogeneous: not all are equal in terms of quality of service and trust. Also, in order to avoid disputes with your provider, choose it carefully: check the accreditations of your provider directly on the registry sites. You will find the link to the registry site of each extension in the file of the latter, in our section extensions. The first accreditation to be verified is that of ICANN, the global authority in charge of domain name regulation. For example, the list of ICANN accredited registrars can be found. This article gives you the easiest ways to protect domain name, in 7 points, as well as the means to act if the protection proved to be insufficient.
What if your domain name was stolen?
If your domain name has been recovered by a malicious process, contact your registrar first: it is he who will be able to restore your administrative access and restore your previous settings. If, however, the domain name has already been transferred (your registrar no longer manages it), it is too late: you have to launch a judicial or extrajudicial procedure to recover the domain name. The recourse is the same in a case of cybersquatting (the domain name did not belong to you originally, but it looks like your brand and you parasite).Whatever the situation in which you are, do not hesitate to consult a professionnal dedicated to the recovery of domain name.