Domain Hijacking: Small Business Owners Beware
We see it more and more; a small business owner comes to us for search engine optimization or website design work and can’t access their own website. Often times a small business buys web design services from a company that churns out hundreds of the small websites daily. This is usually done in a cookie cutter template system that locks them into proprietary software that effectively leaves the website stranded and at the control of this organization. This in effect holds the domain hostage until you move it or buy more services from the company. That’s their whole point; getting you to stay with them and their under-performing or outdated product.
Hosting firms or web designers often have technical login information necessary to register your domains and to login to your accounts. This is normal. But beware the hosting company, web designer, or SEO who changes your Administrative and Technical contact information to their own, or they simply list themselves as the main contact to begin with. This spells trouble. You, as the owner, should always be listed on the Administrative contact information. A quick way to check this is through our Whois database.
Find Out Whose Names are on Your Domains - You May Be Surprised
Often the only way to get your logins is to provide credit card information to the hosting company and get yourself reinstated as the rightful owner of the domain in question. But what if the company hosts your website as well? This can prove to be a more daunting task. Let’s see if we can help explain it? Visit ICANN’s dispute resolution page and locate your problem. Follow the steps they suggest as they are the global moderator of Domain names. By the way, ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. What they say goes.
Ways around the unscrupulous company - Don’t Hire Them
Do your research
Be proactive. Your business website is the key to your digital sales and reputation. Take your time and research hosting, web design, and SEO firms exhaustively. The time you save could be your own.
Work with trusted people
How do you know who to trust? That’s where the research from the previous step comes in. Do you have a friend in IT that may be able to point you in the right direction? There are also resources available to you through the Small Business Administration. (The SBA site is an unbelievable resource. I wouldn’t point you there if it wasn’t) The Better Business Bureau may also have complaints on hand to add an additional safety check.
Plan your project
Take into account what you want now. Then take into account your wish list for the future of your website and digital business presence.
Account for scale
Along with planning, scalability is very important to developing a successful business solution that will handle your growth over time.
Choose your hosting wisely
Your hosting is the foundation of your website. A good hosting company is one that never gets noticed. Technical capability, 24 hour support, guaranteed up-time should all be considered over money. Don’t sell yourself short, do it right the first time. We wrote a whole post on choosing your web hosting company wisely.
Register your domain yourself
The reasoning behind this is so that the credit card on file with the domain registrar is yours. You can circumvent a kidnapped website by following this simple rule. This also lets you receive emails and billing information when activity happens on your account.
Get and keep your logins
Make sure you are listed as the Administrative contact. It’s also a good idea to keep your logins handy to save time in the event of any need to change or modify access.
ICANN now requires a yearly affirmation that the information on your account is correct.
This sounds like a lot of information and it is. Educating yourself as to the ins and outs of hosting rules and resolutions can be frustrating and time consuming but well worth it in the end. So you ask “Is there any way around this?” Our answer is yes. Hire Us for your complete Pittsburgh Website Design Solution. We can host, design, build, SEO, and market your website at an affordable price. We also offer Pittsburgh Internet Consulting Services to resolve your business issues.