Common Domain Myths and Misconceptions

The goal of this section is to dispel some of the most common misconceptions about domain names and their use.

1. When I register a domain name, I become the owner of that domain name. 
When you register a domain name, you are actually paying for the right to use that domain name for a defined period of time, usually between 1 and 10 years. You will have to pay a renewal fee, after your initial registration period expires, to continue using the name or face losing control of the domain name. You do not automatically have the right to keep the name forever, although in practice, as long as you continue paying the annual fees and the name does not infringe on a trademark or service mark, it is essentially yours until you decide that you no longer want it.

2. I have to be a US company or resident to register a domain name. 
No, you do not have to be a US company or resident to register a domain name. Anyone can register a domain name under most top-level domains. However, some countries impose additional rules on people trying to register domain names under that country’s ccTLD. For example, in the case of .asia domain names, you must show a presence in an Asian country, although many Registrars can help you around this issue by acting as your representative.

3. I can ‘get rich quick’ by purchasing and then reselling domain names. 
Yes, you can make money by purchasing and reselling domain names and there is an entire industry of domainers that make a living from this practice. However, the single most common misconception is that a single domain name will make you rich. While some domain names have sold for very large sums of money and a few have changed hands for over $1 million, well over 90% of names offered for sale never find a buyer.

This is the reality that most domain name owners often forget: unless a domain name is truly exceptional or otherwise desirable, it may never sell in the aftermarket. At the same time, most domain name owners place high, somewhat unrealistic prices on their domain names, which encourages the perception that all domain names are valuable. It’s important to keep in mind that most of these names are failing to sell at the prices asked.

You can make money in the domaining industry, and as a matter of fact, many people do. The key is to study the industry and invest wisely. As with any business or investment, it requires a tremendous amount of research and work to be successful. For a starter’s crash course, check out the Domain Investment Guide.

3. I need a website to own a domain name. 
No, you do not need a website in order to own a domain name. You can register domain names for a planned website, or you can register domains and just hold on to them. In fact, domainers generally register domain names and park them with a parking service, then make money off the ad revenue. If you purchase a domain name and later decide that you’d like to use it for a website, you can point the name to your new website.

4. When I register a domain name, I get a website too. 
No, you do not automatically get a website when you register a domain name. A website requires a web host (a company that will store your website files on their servers and make the site accessible to the internet). Most domain Registrars offer web hosting as an optional extra service when you register your domain , but you don’t need to host with your Registrar even if they do offer this. The beauty of the domain name system is that you can use the name you registered with just about any web hosting company you like!

Another thing to note is that many web hosting companies are also domain resellers. A lot of them will offer the domain name registration for free when customers sign up for their hosting plans. If you’re planning on using your new domain name for a website, you may want to look into your hosting options prior to registering your domain.

Congratulations – you’ve reached the end of the basic domain guide. Click here to see the advanced section where you’ll discover more about how to choose domain names and how to enter the secondary domain market.