When working with new businesses we as web developers and designers often have to register new domains for our clients. It’s kind of a key stage in the whole process. Typically, when creating domains, it’s either just a habit or oversight that the domain owner is set to the developer or designer. In fact, the registrar I use, gandi.net, you can’t actually change the domain owner until you’ve already paid and processed the domain. It’s an entirely separate process.
The problem with this though, is that you are now the “owner” of that domain. It’s yours just as your computer is yours, you have ownership. Do you see the issue here? If you registered the domain for your client, it should be their domain. It is their business after all. The right thing to do is put the domain in their name or their companies name for safe keeping.
Let’s look at a scenario that I ran into this week. Say that you just picked up a new client that wants a new website designed and maybe they want to move to hosted email with Google Apps or Office 365. Their current site was designed and implemented back in 2002 and the company that did it, has went out of business. After reviewing the WHOIS information, you see that the owner of the domain is actually a guy from their previous developer. After multiple attempts at contacting him, you finally get a hold of him in which he informs you that the domain is his but is willing to sell it for a price…
This could have all been avoided if we make it a standard to register the domains under our clients names.