BTW, They are and you should own them or own the rights to them.
Where does this come from?
There are many well meaning web services firms who would never think to hold you hostage, but we’ve had some experiences that were… well… let’s call them less than optimal. Yea, that’s probably a good description.
So, you can hire someone to start your web presence, or to build your web site. Just make sure that you own your domain name or make sure that you have no tie to it.
Because if your organization or company is not listed as the owner of the domain,
you don’t own it.
It’s that simple.
We’ve seen this happen too many times.
If you have paid someone (freelancer, company or the kid next door) to build a website for you, they may or may not understand why it’s important for you to own your site. They may be in good faith trying to do good work for you, but 2 years have passed, they’ve moved out of state and you’ve lost touch… Or they may be looking to secure long term work with you – if they own it what are you going to do if they (in their good graces) will not release it?
NOTHING, they own it.
So take a minute, when there is no crisis or emergency.
How to check? Go to http://www.register.com/whois.rcmx type in your domain name and see if you own it.
If you don’t own it and want to, call your web guru. If they don’t want to release it, question why. You can only use that domain name through them. Did you pay for it? Do you have a contract? Does it say that you own it? Check the fine print. They’re probably not bad people, just trying to secure long term business. Even if they’re a close family member, it’s just not good practice.
Own. Your. Domain