The Web Corner – Are they a Registered business?

Our exposure to thousands of web clients has shown us many folks who’ve been exposed to scam artists, fly by nights, and outright crooks over the years. We’ve had clients that had paid money down to previous developers with no work done whatsoever.

Luckily, most legitimate reliable web development businesses have ethics. Part of building confidence in one’s client base is doing what is necessary to be a legitimate business. Fly-by-nights don’t bother with registering their business or any of the other numerous details of doing business that being a legitimate business entails.

It’s very simple to check to see if a business is legitimate – i.e., registered. Here are links to websites where one can check out businesses in several states in and around New England: NH MA ME VT

Doing a little research like this can save you a ton of headaches later. Dealing with a business that is willing to do the initial work of operating legitimately greatly increases the odds they are going to be reliable and honest in their dealings with you.

While there’s never a total guarantee, coupling this with other items in our checklist helps narrow the field to give you the best odds of developing a good business relationship.

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The Web Corner – Who owns your Domain?

Domain ownership is like home ownership. Domain fees are like home taxes. Stop paying taxes and see who really owns your home!

Domains are sold through hundreds of “domain registrars” around the world. It costs in excess of $50,000 to become a registrar. Registrars answer to ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). It maintains a database of all domains to ensure domains can’t be duplicated.

Most domains are registered by web development companies. Accepted common practice is to obtain domains for their client, set it up and build a website accessible with it.

Losing a domain can easily be avoided. Common reasons I have seen for folks to lose their domain names are as follows, in the most common order:

1. Renewals ending up in spam buckets or returned with dead/outdated email addresses.

2. Church parishioners/employees who have a falling out.

3. Business employees who move on regardless of circumstances.

Avoid Gmail, Yahoo or other “freebie emails” with your domain. You’ve ZERO control over and can’t even call them.

Seek out reputable web developers OUTSIDE your organization to handle your domain names. Avoid “one man shows” and startup developers. Use BBB accredited businesses who’ve been at it at least 10-20 years. They’ll likely look out for you and protect your domains.

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The Web Corner – Choosing Domains

Domain names are the least expensive part – yet the most important – of one’s Internet presence! Here are some tips on choosing them.

Initial Search – Be careful how you search! Unscrupulous companies buy domains people search for to sell at much inflated prices (often $100+ for $15 domains). CharlesWorks at http://CharlesWorks.domains does NOT do this practice. Or just ask us.

Association – Use the name of your business as all or part of your domain.

General Names – More general domain names are most likely already registered to other businesses (it never hurts to check with us first).

TLDsTop Level Domains are the “extensions” like .com, .net, .org, .club, etc. Search engines today don’t care what they are.

Hyphenated Names – We recommend avoiding hyphens to lessen confusion, unless you absolutely can’t get your words another way.

Variations – Can be an option if your general business name is already registered, like adding “NH” before or after it.

Keywords – Pertinent words in your domain are increasingly important. Simplistically put, search engine algorithms rank the importance of web sites according to words.

Cost – Domains vary according to TLD, Many common ones are still only about $15-$20 annually.

Most importantly, we ensure domains we sell are renewed annually so you will not lose them!

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The Web Corner – Domain Directory Listing Scams

Here’s another scam designed to get you to share your credit card information: the Internet Domain Listing Service. It’s been around many years.

The Domain Listing Service usually involves an invoice you receive either via email or in postal mail. It’s deceptively designed to look like a bill you owe regarding your domain name. There is generally a sense of urgency expressed in it. The invoice coincidentally arrives roughly about the time your domain is due for annual renewal. That’s key to folks falling for it.

What the “service” purportedly offers is listing your domain in places on the web to get your website found – for several hundred dollars or more. We have found little or no evidence of any tangible results for most of these. We’ve actually seen web sites banned in search engines as a result of some “listing” services.

There ARE valid directories on the web that help sites increase search engine ranking. At CharlesWorks we provide this for no additional ongoing inclusion fees.

Carefully read the text in these offerings! It usually reveals that they are just a solicitation and not a required service.

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The Web Corner – Domain Name Renewal Scams

There are so many scams out there on the Internet it’s impossible to keep up with them or list them here. Here’s a common one we see nearly every day to possibly hijack your domain name. Your domain name is the unique identifier that gets web visitors to your website – you don’t want to lose it.

Many people receive mail about renewing their domain name. These offerings are designed to look like you owe money to renew domains. In some scams, when you respond to these you may lose your domain. They’re sophisticated and have been around a long time. Reading the text closely usually reveals that they are in fact a solicitation to move your domain elsewhere.

Domain names are usually handled one of two ways. One is through the company you do business with to handle your web needs. They keep the domain locked in a master account of theirs and through that they ensure that the domain name is kept renewed and bill you for that. The other way is for the individual to manage their domain themselves. That method leaves open the possibility of not receiving an email and therefore losing the domain as it expires. Domain expiration allows anyone else to purchase that domain name.

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