When a person tries to register a domain name, they need to use the services of an accredited Domain Name Registrar to perform this service for them. It is not possible to register a domain name without a domain registrar. So what therefore is a domain name registrar?
Who is a domain registrar?
A domain name registrar is a business or organization that is authorized by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) or by a country’s national domain name authority to act on behalf of consumers to carry out the registration of their domain names.
A domain registrar’s role involves checking that domain name hasn’t already been registered to someone else; making sure that all domain name and contact information is collected and reported to ICANN; and also allowing the ability to transfer the domain names between different parties. A domain name registrar may also offer domain registrants the ability to protect their domains contact details from spammers by offering private domain registration, proxy or 3rd party registration services.
All personal details of those who register a domain with a domain registrar are, by default available to the public on the internet via the WHOIS database. A simple WHOIS search can provide these details to anyone unless some sort of privacy protection is put on the domain by the domain name registrar at the time the domain got registered. Another service a domain name registrar may offer is the ability to ‘lock’ your domain, thereby not allowing any changes to the registration information on the domain until the domain is unlocked.
Domain name registrars collect money for their domain registration services as well as on behalf of ICAAN (who charges each registrar an administration fee for each domain the registrar registers). Domain registration fees are calculated based on the domain name services provided, as well as the length in years that you register your domain for. Typically the longest registration period a domain name registrar can register a domain for is 10 years. After this the registrar can usually renew your domain automatically for you. A lot of domain name registrars can also give large discounts for bulk domain name registrations involving many domain names, and offer easy to use online web based domain name management tools to keep track of the domains that you have registered.
Up until 1999, all .com, .org, and .net domain names were registered by a single company called Network Solutions through an agreement they had with the US Dept of Commerce. Since then, many domain name registrars have entered the market to provide different domain registration services.
Unfair Domain Registrar Practices
Some domain registrars have been using questionable tactics to acquire new customers by trying to trick registrants into transferring their domains to a different domain name registrar service (their own) without the person’s knowledge. Typical methods of doing this have been to send out misleading notices via email, fax or letter of ‘domains’ expiring unless their recommended course of action is followed. Remember, all of this information is readily available via the WHOIS database (including domain expiry dates), so a good course of action to follow would be to perhaps make your domain a ‘private registration’ so that only your real domain name registrar has access to your contact information and can contact you when necessary.
How to become a domain name registrar?
Becoming an accredited domain name registrar with ICANN is not the easiest process. For starters, it calls for considerable investment. You need to follow the domain registrar accreditation process of ICANN at http://www.icann.org/en/resources/registrars/accreditation. The page outlines the entire accreditation process, the documents you would need to become a domain registrar.
Financially, there are many costs involved:
- You would have to pay a non-refundable fee of US$3,500 along with the application. This is an application fee and does not guarantee that your application would be accepted.
- If your application is approved, there is an annual accreditation fee of US$4,000 that you would have to pay.
- There are variable quarterly fees applicable once you start operations, depending on the number of domains you register.
- For every domain you register, you would have to pay a transaction-based fee for every registered domain
- Infrastructure costs for setting up your domain registration business would depending the infrastructure you wish to put in place.
Because of the costs involved, many individuals and business prefer the option of becoming a domain name reseller.
In conclusion, when wanting to register a new domain name, make sure you choose a trustworthy domain name registrar like Ballistic Domains and if you ever have any questions about anything, call Customer Support to verify, confirm, and guide you through your domain registration process and domain renewal process.