Business Law

Running Your Small Business: Domain Names and URLs

Getting your business online is only one of the steps you need to get your company running. A domain name is a company's internet business address. The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the entire address that is used to locate a particular web site. Your domain name is your company's unique online name that is a part of the URL.

Domain Names with Secondary Meanings

As with all addresses, some addresses carry meanings secondary to the name of the business. For example, the domain name E-toys.com tells you the web site's internet business address and provides information about the company's line of business, selling toys.

Choice of Domain Name

Great care should be used in selecting a domain name. A domain name should be short, unique and easy to remember since it is the pathway to the web site of your company. Your domain name helps buyers, sellers, customers and business clients to access your company's web site on the Internet. If your company has a trademark or service mark, you will probably want to register it as a domain name.

You can purchase a domain name for your business but before you buy a one, you need to conduct a domain name check to find out if the name you want or one very similar to it is already in use. This is necessary to avoid confusion and duplicity.

Domain Name Search

A domain name check ensures the availability of the domain name that you have selected for your web site. Search Network Solutions' WHOIS database to check domain name availability. Try to use short, easy-to-remember and easy-to-spell names for your domain name. If your desired domain name is available, you can reserve it by registering it.

Cost of Registration

Each registrar sets the price it charges for registering names, and prices vary significantly among different registrars. In addition, some registrars offer discounted or free registration services in connection with other offerings, such as web hosting. To see what offering best meets your needs, you should go to the Web sites of several registrars.

Length of Registration

Each registrar has the flexibility to offer initial and renewal registrations in one-year increments, provided that the maximum remaining unexpired term does not exceed ten years.

Changing Registrars after Registering a Domain Name

You may change the registrar sponsoring your domain name beginning 60 days after initial registration. For details on the transfer process, contact the registrar you would like to have sponsor the registration.

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