South-west businesses warned of domain name pitfalls

SOUTH-WEST businesses are being warned to get smart when it comes to internet domain names.

A local tech expert said several businesses had fallen afoul of common web mistakes, including letting domain names lapse or not registering .com domains to go with their .com.au address.

In other instances, a rogue web developer has been ripping off businesses with poor work and holding domain names to ransom.

Timshel Knoll-Miller, co-founder of Fluent Development, said he had heard from several south-west businesses that paid about $1000 each to a web developer for something of such bad quality that it “never went live”.

“In one case, the developer registered the domain in (their own) name and then quoted more than $350 to return it to the client,” Mr Knoll-Miller said.

“If I’m transferring a domain name it takes me about five minutes – it’s certainly not $350 worth of work.”

He said people having websites built for them should have written agreements that specify the web addresss is registered in their name and whether there are ongoing hosting costs. 

“In a separate incident, another local business with a .com.au domain name has had the equivalent .com domain hijacked by a pornographic website,” Mr Knoll-Miller said.

“Visitors who forget to type the ‘.au’ are taken to the adult website instead. There is little that can be done to preserve this business’s trademark and image.”

He said registering domain names should cost around $20.

Mr Knoll-Miller recommended registering web addresses as soon as possible and registering both .com and .com.au versions if possible, as well as an abbreviations or variations that may apply.

He said it was also important to renew domains prior to expiry, citing at least one local business that had let their domain name registration lapse, only for it to be snapped up by another Australian business.

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