News from the Legal Expert in February
Many law firms don’t exercise control over their domain portfolios. That is an issue that causes major problems. What does this mean? Your firm owns or uses different names registered by different people, with different contacts at different registrars over many years. The permutations are numerous and can be daunting to bring under control.
We see domains registered for use by the law firm all too frequently but actually owned by a vendor. In these situations, it is only a matter of time until a name is lost, service is interrupted, or some other unforeseen problem arises.
Is your firm properly managing its domain portfolio?
Do you know:
- How many names your firm owns or uses?
- Where are the domains registered?
- When the domains renew?
- Do their domains renew on the same date or different dates?
- Who is listed as the contact person?
- Do you own all the domains that you are using?
In most cases, law firms don’t know the answers to these questions. If you can’t easily obtain this information, it’s time to dig in, clean up and get organized.
What’s the answer?
Dedicate the time and do a one-time cleanup. Create a list of every domain you own or use, and determine:
- Where is it registered, e.g., 101domain, GoDaddy, etc.
- The names of all contacts associated with the domain
- The date the domain expires
For domains that you are using that you do not own, you need to identify the domain owner. This will most likely be a vendor working with your firm currently or who worked with you in the past. Once identified, you need to contact the owner/vendor and have the name transferred to your firm.
Transfer all the domains to one registrar. This puts all the names in one place for easy management. All registrars will help you with the transfer process. When you transfer domains to a new registrar, you can get discounted renewal pricing if you want to add time to the domain name’s registration period.
I recommend renewing all of your domains for the maximum renewal length, which is ten years. If you have a name that expires in three years – add seven more. If possible, consolidate your renewal dates so that all your names renew on the same date. Put the renewal date in your calendar or case management system and treat it like a statute of limitation. Your registrar will notify well in advance of the renewal date but don’t leave anything to chance.
Determine which person in your firm should be listed in the registrar’s different contact roles. You or one of your partners should be listed as the primary contact.
Ensure that registrar provides you with a dedicated representative that will guide you through and assist you in consolidating your domains and making sure your account is set up to follow best practices.
A little time invested now will avoid major headaches later.