Some people believe that domain names are entirely the realm of technically-natured people - but that is not totally correct. Granted that delegating website building and mail setup to a tech is understandable, domain name registration and domain name hosting are two separate areas of having an Internet presence.
To register a domain name is to purchase a license enabling you, as an eligible entity, to have the domain name of your choice for a two year period. The technical part is really the manner in which you register domain names, which is essentially done completely online. But that is also the way one can register for an Australian Business Number (ABN - http://abr.gov.au) or submit a tax return (http://ato.gov.au). The prevalence of online shopping and banking should also mean the concept of transacting online is one that should not be alien to a vast number of people. A domain name registration is simply another addition to the maintenance of your affairs, whether they be of commercial (com.au, net.au), personal (id.au) or other (asn.au, org.au) purpose.
Here are some basic tips to keep in mind for your domain name registration:
Do your research with whom you register your domain name through;
Perform the domain name registration yourself. There are a number of registrars or resellers who are happy to help you through the process (hence the research);
If you are unable or unwilling to perform the registration yourself, delegate it to someone you can trust. If it is a third party, ensure that you have clear terms and paperwork detailing the requirements of your registration (such as a contract or invoice that explicitly mentions the domain name or names). This can come in handy in a dispute;
Once the registration is completed, perform a WHOIS lookup of your domain name at https://whois.auda.org.au to make sure that the registrant contact (and email address) and the registrant and registrant ID are what you have specified. The latter being of significant importance to your eligibility and the ability to recover access to your domain name should the registrant contact details be incorrect;
Take note of the creation date and enter in a calendar reminder 21 months down the track that the domain name is eligible to be renewed. You can renew a domain name up to 90 days prior to its expiration date;
Add the maintenance of your domain name to any documentation that you have in your organisation (or personal life) related to the upkeep of your business (or personal matters).
An important aspect of domain name registration is the upkeep of contact information - the most critical of these, is the registrant email address.
It is the method by which most domain name providers (registrars and resellers) attempt to contact registrants in order to send out renewal notices. Unfortunately, some registrants either forget, or neglect, to update their information once a change has occurred; and not all providers attempt to use alternate means to contact a registrant. As well, it is common practice for registrants to delegate responsibility for their domain name registration (in some cases without their knowledge or approval) to a third party to manage.
The loss of a domain name registration can have a significant impact on a registrant and if the domain name is of a generic nature, it is more likely to be taken by someone else as soon as it becomes available. And it is not always likely that the previous registrant is able to recover their domain name in such situations.
So, to avoid the situation of finding out that your domain name has expired or, even worse, been purged and registered by someone else, be vigilant in maintaining your domain name registration. Whenever your details change, contact your registrar or reseller and inform them of that fact. And double-check that the update has been performed, otherwise the following poem may be what ends up happening to you:
From auDA's 'Woe Is The Integrity Of .au Contact Information', 2011.
The quality of contact information should not be treated with disdain.
For your name may droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Into the droplist where the opportune may then be blest;
It curses him that is idle and blesseth him that is watchful.
Though a complaint be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of investigation, none of us
Will see the past and only consider the present;
Should the current holder be eligible, and
Refuse salvation: do pray for mercy;
Which if thou follow, the court of auDA policy,
Must give judgment against the complainant.