May 15, 2019 - by Haydn Simpson
Maybe there is something in the air, but it seems like an increasing number of corporate legal departments are starting to reevaluate whether their current registrar is still the best option for them. Many have used the same registrar for over a decade, or have ended up as a client of a legacy provider when their registrar was acquired.
Regardless of whether companies are looking for better service, support, expertise or technology, evaluating other options every few years can be a worthwhile endeavor. And given how much the market has changed over the last few years as private equity investments and consolidations have radically changed the landscape, it really does make sense to take a fresh look at the different providers.
Criteria such as experience, expertise, support, ease-of-use, reporting, TLD coverage, flexible invoicing and competitive pricing provide important data points for evaluating providers. That said, there are three other important criteria which are sometimes overlooked, but which are critically important for selecting a provider who will protect valuable domain name assets, strive to continually enhance their offerings, and serve as a true partner.
Focus on Security
Above all else, companies evaluating corporate domain name registrars should closely evaluate the security services offered, which should at a minimum include two-factor authentication, nameserver monitoring, and registry locking. Beyond the services offered however, those evaluating providers should also understand how registrars are securing their own systems. For example, do they conduct penetration testing of their systems, and how often is it done? Have they ever suffered a breach, and if so, how did it happen? Are disaster recovery plans documented, and have they been tested? What security certifications have they received? Do the registrar’s employees receive security training, and are they required to use two-factor authentication? Undoubtedly, many registrars will say that they are focused on providing secure domain name management, but these questions can be helpful in uncovering whether or not they really are ”walking the walk.”
Commitment to Innovation
The largest corporate domain name registrars have now been in the business for more than 15 years. In the beginning, these registrars designed solutions specifically for managing large, international domain name portfolios – and at that time they were indeed very innovative. Today, these legacy registrars offer mature products that meet the basic needs of corporate domain name professionals. While I understand that not every corporate registrar has a culture of innovation, making sure that domain management solutions are providing solutions to today’s challenges should always be a top priority for any registrar. For this reason, ensuring that a domain name registrar focused on continually enhancing their offerings, and is committed to leveraging technology to drive innovation is a second, important criteria – and one that should not be overlooked.
Integrity and Trust
Due to the complexity of domain name data, changing rules, human interaction and the potential for erroneous mistakes – issues will undoubtedly arise. It’s not a matter of if a problem will arise, it’s a matter of when. So it’s essential that you can trust your domain name registrar to stand by you, and to remediate any issues that arise – regardless of how the problem was created. I’ve heard of providers blaming their clients for issues – which is simply unacceptable. Even if an issue is created by the client – the provider should be there to fix any problem that occurs, without placing blame. I’ve also seen instances where registrars do not treat their clients as partners, and sell them domains that they don’t need, nickel and dime for small requests, or play games with currency conversion rates. Again – simply unacceptable. Domain name registrars should be treating their clients like partners, always doing what is best for the client – even if it means sacrificing additional revenue. While difficult to assess, integrity and trust is a third essential criteria to include when evaluating domain name registrars.
When evaluating a corporate registrar, feature sets, service and support are important criteria, but above all, security must take center stage. After that, it’s often the intangibles like a commitment to innovation, or integrity and trust which can really set one registrar apart from another.
Haydn Simpson is VP of Sales at Brandsight where he is responsible for driving commercial growth, working with brand owners to help them adopt Brandsight’s innovative domain management practices. Haydn has worked in domain management and online brand protection since 2002, designing and implementing complex global programs to help brands best manage their digital assets and to mitigate the threats posed by Intellectual Property infringement. Prior to his existing role, Haydn held a number of global sales leadership, new business and account management positions, including Commercial Director at NetNames culminating in the sale of the business to CSC.