In the first part of the article we clarified how to compile an ideal domain portfolio for companies. As the company grows and the portfolio increases in size, the next step should be to establish firm and clear structures for domain administration in the company.
Unfortunately, there are still no truly established standard processes for domain management in the company.
Often, the IT department is considered responsible, since the domains also have to be set up technically. However, most decisions for registrations are made in marketing. Sometimes the legal department is also involved if trademark protection is to be achieved. Controlling and accounting need access to costs and invoices.
Sometimes, domain management for a company is also done by third-party providers, such as the responsible internet agency or digital agency. So, for example, by us. Of course, we welcome requests for domain management from our customers 🙂
Whoever is ultimately responsible for domain management should be able to ensure the following requirements:
- Overview of all domain names held by the company.
- Cost breakdown (e.g. annual domain costs, trustee costs, administration costs, hidden technical costs)
- Registrar overview (with which service provider are which domains registered?)
- Overview of all officially registered contact persons (domain holder contact or trustee)
- Access to the name server entries (DNS) of the domains (interface or own name server) or documentation of who in the company can access these entries.
- Additional data on domain history (e.g. initial registration, original project, previous owner, type of use, client, conflicts/disputes)
- Archiving of required documents (international trademark entries, special applications, etc.)
Unfortunately, there are no really all-encompassing tools for these tasks and the special requirements of companies. Most of the offered domain management tools are rather tailored to domain resellers or online marketers in their functions.
Since there is no such thing as the optimal software, administration via spreadsheet lists or simple domain administration databases should be sufficient for most companies. Above all, it is important to update the data on a regular basis.
Incidentally, the importance of documenting domain history is often underestimated. Especially in the case of trademark conflicts, it can be extremely important to be able to reconstruct the exact history of the domain without any gaps.
Among the registrars, you can choose, for example, a mass provider for inexpensive standard TLDs and, in addition, a specialist for foreign registrations or sunrise registrations of new domain extensions. In favor of the specialist speaks the better service in problem cases, if trademark right proofs, bureaucratic document certifications or a trustee locally become necessary.
Unfortunately, in long-established companies, investigations often reveal that domains for special projects have been booked by different departments with many different registrars over the years. Here we recommend a consolidation of the registrars through the new, central domain administration. Last but not least, controlling is also pleased when a nice volume discount can be negotiated with the new main registrar.
For most of the popular top-level domains (TLD), a natural person must still be registered as the administrative contact (Admin-C) - in addition to the company as the owner. We recommend to choose a person who is bound to the company in the long term (e.g. an owner or managing director). This has the advantage that the Admin-C does not have to be constantly updated, even if the employees actually responsible for domain administration change occasionally.
For the mandatory requested mail address for the Admin-C we recommend to use a mail distributor like firstname.lastname@example.org. On this mailing list the official Admin-C can (but does not have to) be reachable. In any case, the responsible domain owners (and their representatives) should be on this mailing list in order to be able to act quickly in case of emergencies (e.g. legal violations or unauthorized domain takeovers).
In the case of contact persons, too, one often encounters historically based uncontrolled growth in established companies. In the worst case, it turns out later that the domain for a side project was registered years ago by an already retired employee with a now defunct private e-mail address at an abandoned hoster. Converting such a domain then to the new contacts can be difficult and time-consuming (although Auth-Code 2 is now available as an alternative for .de domains). Nevertheless, one should take the trouble to register the current central contact everywhere.
For some foreign domains, however, a local contact must be proven in any case. An employee of the local branch or a sales representative can take over this task. In any case, the contact data should be carefully documented internally. Especially if it should not be possible to enter the central domain mail address of the company as mail contact. In the worst case, it can happen that the local sales representative quits and then represents the direct competitor. Therefore, in case of doubt, we always recommend to choose a trustee provided by the special registrar, even if this may result in additional costs.
At the beginning, for many companies the domain management interface of the registrar is sufficient to make the necessary settings and entries in the zone files for the respective domain for the web presence and the mail servers. When choosing a provider, it should therefore be crucial that the DNS management interface can freely make all the necessary entries. Standard entries include IP address, CNAME (alias name) for the web server, mail server priorities or free text entries for verification of analysis services and software registration.
When in doubt, these entries are more likely to be made by the IT department. For the main domain of a company, it may make sense to delegatesubdomains (e.g., for setting up the local company networks) to internal name servers.
The central domain administration should always be informed about who has access rights to the nameserver records and is the appropriate contact for new records for the domain.
In the case of a larger domain portfolio, it may be worthwhile to set up a separate name server (DNS) in the corporate IT, which allows more influence to be exerted on the entries. The chosen registrar should support this option and also be able to set up appropriate secondary name servers in another IP network as a slave.
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