According to Fasthosts a webhosting firm located in the UK, disputes over domain name ownership increased by 30 per cent in the past 12 months.
Companies typically found their claims of ownership were harder to prove or defend if they had registered a domain in an employee or advisor’s name.
Fasthost’s report illustrates an issue that has effected domainers and non-domainers as well.
Corporations usually have an employees contact information on the whois record.
If the employee is fired, quits or dies the corporation has a problem.
Fasthosts said” if these people then leave the organisation, the business owners may endure a lengthy process of trying to prove their right to own and control the domain because the former employees have become the legal ‘registrant’ of the name.
“While we investigate domain disputes in-house and support businesses as much as we can, the process inevitably takes some time and there is always the possibility that business activity can be disrupted,” said Fasthosts chief marketing officer Steve Holford.
“Rather than domains being overseen by an IT colleague or agent, businesses should audit them like a business asset and keep an eye on their status”.
The same with a partnership. If one partner controls the whois info record they control the domain to the possible jeopardy of the other partners. Besides disagreements with partners, which is not uncommon, if the partner on the whois record dies the remaining partners may not be in a good position.
Finally even if you own your domains in your own name, you need to cover your domains in your will, understand what effect a divorce may have on your domains.
The 30% increase in domain ownership disputes that fasthosts is reporting is certainly not limited to the .Uk or fasthosts