Domain Name Purchase Agreements

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The ultimate sources for domain name registration and related issues, especially domain name owner rights, are the Internic and ICANN. ICANN is a nonprofit body formed to coordinate and oversee the Internet's global name and numbering systems. Internic is ICANN's website. It was developed to provide ready public information about domain name registrations. This includes both domain name owner registration and domain name registrar contact and complaint information.

ICANN has limited authority. It is not responsible for financial transactions, website content, unsolicited email, data privacy or protection, or related internet issues. It is invaluable, however, as an authoritative neutral resource for domain name information. The purchase agreements themselves can be found from a number of sources.

The Basics of Domain Name Ownership

Vendors acting as domain name resellers should be registered as such with ICANN. As such, they are accountable for abiding by the Registrar Accreditation Agreement. If you are considering buying a domain name through a particular vendor, it is well worth verifying that the vendor is appropriately accredited with ICANN. ICANN explicitly recommends that you purchase a domain directly from an accredited registrar rather than through a reseller.

Common sense governs the rights of domain name owners. Registrars, for example, are not allowed to deny requests by domain name owners to transfer to a new registrar or web host. Complete information on name transfer stipulations is available online at the InterNic website.

Domain name registration runs approximately $10 per year, with slight discounts available from many vendors for multiyear purchases. If a vendor offers a name for more than that, chances are that you're looking at a reseller rather than an accredited registrar. Know that once you do buy and register a domain name, it is yours, not the registrar's. You are free to take it to any worldwide registrar--DNS, or domain name server--and web hosting server. About the only legitimate basis for a registrar to deny an owner's request to transfer is a temporary one, specifically, a payment dispute.

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