This article in the “Your Biz” section of MSNBC gives a great suggestion if your business needs to create a website and don’t want to lose it to a domain hijacker. More and more, I have seen articles about different domain hijackings that are plaguing the industry. Most domain professionals take extra cautions when protecting their assets, but I bet there are many businesses who might not know how to protect their domain name assets.
As recommended in the article, never give ownership or overall control of your domain name to a web developer. If necessary, allow the developer to be the technical contact but never the registrant. If the developer is the legal registrant, he technically owns the domain name and controls it. It could be time consuming and costly to get the domain name back if the developer takes off or disappears without giving you control of the name. Also, keep in mind that he would control all of your emails if you use the domain name as the root for your email!
I’m not sure if it still happens today, but one thing I heard about a few years ago was web developers who bought the domain names of local businesses and offered to build a website on that business’ domain name. Some business owners who didn’t realize this was against the Anti-Cybersquatting Act presumably paid the developers for the domain name and for their design services when they weren’t obligated to do this.
Once domain ownership becomes as common as property ownership, I believe it will become more difficult to pull off these types of scams. Until then, it is best to manage your own domain names because they are valuable assets. You wouldn’t allow your business’ deed to be in the name of your contractor, and you shouldn’t allow your developer to control your domain name.