Your Online Identity
How important is it to have your own domain name? Well, it's about as important as having an identity. On the world wide web, having a great product or a million-dollar idea is worth nothing if people cannot find you. And the only way they can find you easily is if you have a real domain name. Sure, you can go for those freebie sub-domain services or host your web site on free hosting services. Nothing wrong with them, mind you, I think they're great services. But they take away an integral component of being on the web - your online identity. Picture this - if you were born without a name, how are people (your friends, classmates, co-workers, whoever) going to address you? Would tall-blonde-haired-slightly-overweight-denim-clad-guy suffice? Wouldn't a simple Al Smith be better? Same goes for your online business. As a matter of fact, even if it isn't an online business, a domain name is still important. Non-profit or just-for-fun sites can benefit just as much from registering a domain.
What is a Domain Name Anyway?
Domain names are those whatever.com, .net or .org that you type on your browser to access a particular web site. All computers that are connected to the Internet are assigned a unique number called an IP address. The purpose of assigning IP addresses to these computers is for them to be identifiable and accessible. Otherwise, there would no way for one computer to communicate with another computer if it cannot identify their location. Fine and useful as they are, IP addresses are simply difficult or nearly impossible to remember. It's OK to memorize a few of them but it becomes rather ridiculous to try and memorize more than 10 or 20 IP addresses. Domain names acts as an alias to each of these IP addresses to make it easy for us to remember them. Take for example a popular internet destination like Yahoo! If it wasn't for domain names, you'd have to memorize 188.8.131.52 as the address of Yahoo! It's easy if Yahoo! is all you need to remember. But think of the other web sites you'd like to visit and not having domain names. Nearly impossible, right?
Where to Register Domains
Once you have made that decision to register your domain, you can simply proceed to any of the following registrars:
This is just a partial list of registrars, there is a myriad of choices on the web where one can register a domain. Registration fees vary from one registrar to another because each one provides a different level of service. Furthermore, you can choose the length by which you want to register the domain from 1 up to 10 years.
Domain Taken? Any Alternatives?
So you've looked up the domain name you want but unfortunately, someone beat you to registering it. What now? Don't despair, you still have other options. If yourdomain.com is taken, you might want to consider getting yourdomain.net or yourdomain.org instead. Exercise your best judgment when registering.
Another alternative is to register a country-specific domain. Here are a few country-specific registrars that accept registrations from international customers:
Selling A Domain
OK, so you've mustered enough guts to register and pay for a domain, maybe even several of them. But a few days later, you decide that you want to sell some of them off because you realize that you've registered one too many. Where can you sell them? The first question you should actually ask is "how much is my domain worth?" You can get your domain name appraised by a domain broker or appraiser. A few such sites are listed at the end of this article (Related Links). It would be good for you to have your domain name appraised prior to selling. This way, you do not over-estimate or undercut yourself.
Now comes the selling part. The first place that come to mind is to auction the domain name(s) on eBay.com (check under Computers: Services; Domain Names). Word of caution, selling a domain name is not as easy as registering. There may not be that many interested buyers for your domain. Furthermore, those that are interested may not be willing to pay the price you are asking for. So don't get disappointed if your domains do not sell like hotcakes.
It might also be a good idea to sell your domain through a broker (see Related Links below for some examples). These people have the expertise and the network to offer you a higher chance of selling off your domain name. They usually charge a transaction fee or commission if the sale is successful. Just make sure you understand each broker's Terms of Service before you commit your precious domain.
Another point I'd like to bring up regarding selling a domain is the aspect of the ownership or registrant transfer. Just like selling a piece of real estate, selling a domain entails some paperwork to effect the transfer of ownership. Most (if not all) registrars will have a downloadable copy of the Transfer Form which you need to fill out for this purpose. There is also a fee involved which again, varies from registrar to registrar.
It will save you plenty of time and trouble if you invest some on gathering more information before playing the domain name game. Just like any other game, you win some, you lose some.
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About the Author:
Peter Go owns and operates Icthus.Net Communications. CGI City is one of several web sites developed by Icthus.Net Communications.
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