Friday, 19 September 2008

The Cost of Domain Name Management

The state of the world economy is not exactly in the best shape and everyone is looking to cut costs. Trade mark owners are no different.

We have seen trade marks owners being charged exorbitant amounts to manage their domain name portfolios by niche domain name management companies. They even go so far as to charge for updating nameservers of TLDs (Top Level Domain) that have an automated registration system. A nameserver charge is normally only levied on TLDs that have a more complicated registry interface and require “physical” work from the domain name management company. If your company is continuously changing its nameservers you could be paying more for the technical changes than the domain name itself.

Most niche domain name management companies provide similar services (technical and support perspective) so the real distinguishing factor should be price. We would advise trade mark owners to shop around in the industry and compare prices.

The saving could result in having extra funds available to secure domain names in new gTLDs (generic Top Level Domain) or extend protection in the various ccTLDs (country code Top Level Domain).

So how can a trade mark owner save in the management of its domain name portfolio?

Well, a domain name portfolio continuously increases as a result of the following:
• New TLDs being released;
• Domains acquired through the UDRP (Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy) or threatened litigation;
• Business acquisitions and mergers;
• Marketing campaigns.

This continuous increase obviously makes the task of cost reduction more difficult. We propose that the solution is to ensure that your domain name management company is offering competitive prices for registrations, renewals and updates.

What should you look for in domain name pricing?

Registration and renewal costs – some domain name management companies quote their administrative fee separately from the registry fee resulting in the total fee being much higher than quoted. You should be able to negotiate on the management fees.
Costs for changing administrative and technical contact information should be free for most (although not all) TLDs.
Cost for a registrant transfer should not be more than the registration fee.
Change of nameserver, in most cases, should be free.

It can be a daunting task moving a domain name portfolio from one domain name management company to another but it may save your business thousands of pounds a year.

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