Who owns a Domain Name?

We have heard a lot in the industry about web developers, buying domain names on behalf of their customers and then not giving up the UDAI or domain registration key when the customer wants to move their site or domain ro another providor.

Registering domain names

Just as it’s important that you abide by the rules, so must your clients. In particular make sure they’re aware of, and accept, the terms and conditions agreement of the .nz registrar you use to register their name.

Experience shows that it’s worth telling your customers that by holding a .nz domain name their name and contact details will automatically go into the public .nz Whois database.

To avoid problems later, you should explain to your client that their domain name will need to be renewed periodically if they want to keep using it. You will need to tell them the price and registration period, and the procedure for renewal when it falls due.

No matter how much responsibility you bear for your client’s affairs, the client always remains the registrant.

Recording information in the .nz register

When you register a domain name on behalf of one of your clients please be careful to ensure that the registration details gathered are both accurate and complete.

You should remember that no matter how much responsibility you bear for your client’s affairs, the client always remains the registrant of the domain name; therefore it’s their name and details which appear in the Registrant Contact Name field.

A quick reference:

Registrant contact name field

The name of the client who requested the domain name registration. (Note: The Registrant Contact Name should be a properly constituted organisation or a person over 18 years)
The registrant must be able to be contacted through the details provided
The registrant has a responsibility to keep the contact details current and correct.

Admin contact name field
The name and contact details of your reseller organisation can be entered into admin contact field if appropriate.

Technical contact field
If your organisation is responsible for technical aspects relating to the domain name (for example hosting), your reseller contact details can be entered into these contact fields.

Key points

The details of the client who requested the domain name registration must be recorded in the ‘Registrant Contact Name’ field on the Whois record
Reseller details can be entered into the ‘Admin Contact’ or ‘Technical Contact’ fields if appropriate.

Key thing here is, if a web developer registers the domain name in their own name, it is breaching the rules.

There is a service from the Domain Name Commission called Dispute Resolution Service to assist with sorting these issues out.

For people who register domain names on behalf of their customers, having a read of the Domain Resellers Document is worthwhile to prevent any issues further down the track.