Understanding Domain Names

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Painted man painting dots on concrete wall photo © Copyright by Maria Bobrova

It’s my Domain

Domain names are keywords followed by a dot and an abbreviation that represent an entity (you or your business) in the online world. As an example, in the domain spiderz.com, ‘spiderz’ is a keyword which is followed by a dot (period), that is followed by ‘com’ which stands for ‘commercial’.

The ‘.com’ part in a domain is called a TLD which is short for Top-level domain – something the DNS or Domain Name System needs to help figure out where your domain resides on the Internet.

Give me DNS!

The Domain Name System runs like an intelligent address book that helps find the location or home of a domain and does this with the help of name servers assigned to help Internet users find their way through the Internet right to your website or email service.

All this involves the use of IP or Internet Protocol addresses, and beyond this little definition, everything becomes rather complicated – or magical.

.COM or dot whatever!

Like ‘.com’ there are hundreds of top-level domain choices today. Back in the day, life was simpler with .org for organization, .net for network, .edu for education and top-level country domain names like .uk for United Kingdom or .ae for United Arab Emirates.

Today, there are hundreds of top-level domain choices ranging from .com look alikes like .co and .biz to the almost hilarious .fyi and .xyz!

Who sells domain names?

The rules that govern domain names vary depending on the provider of the domain, often referred to as a domain registry. A domain registry is an organization that controls the policies of domain name allocation, at times sells domain names directly or appoints accredited registrars to manage sales.

A domain name registrar sells a domain name to the general public and offers domain name services like DNS parking, domain forwarding and setting up name server hosts, among many other services.

Domain registrars are plenty and most sell other related services alongside, including but not limited to web and email hosting, VPN services, virtual private servers, dedicated servers and SSL certificates, to name a few.

Most domain registrars are mass market sellers so they often over-brand and over-market simple services, offer insane get-through-the-door discounts that translate to higher fees for subsequent tenures, create confusion and try to rule the roost by positioning themselves as the lowest priced services on the Internet – under the hood, they’re as good as other registrar.

The problem with all this is that most people simply don’t have the interest and time to invest in going through the fluff when trying to purchase a domain name – decide a .com or .fyi or .xyz or whatever, think about adding a website plan, add email, or have the domain public or private, to choose a tenure, to figure out if you need some ill-named SEO package, and how about a VPN?

You get the idea – it’s not a simple, go-in, buy your domain, go out experience.

Where do I register a domain?

Domain name registrars often allow independent sellers to sign-up and resell domain names and other services provided by the domain registrar.

This often allows web developers and agencies to offer domain name registration to their customers, thereby opening up avenues of side-income for hundreds of thousands of web solution providers. These days you can buy a domain name through anyone – may be at a hypermarket? Who knows!

At Spiderz we offer domain name registration services and register domains for over 400 top-level domains like .com, .net, .org, .xyz, .fyi and more. We bundle all standard domain name services out-of-the-box including domain name privacy (your personal information is never visible on the web).

The idea behind privacy allows users to safely register as many domain names as they like without having to worry about receiving communication from unknown and often scrupulous individuals. Domain name registrars publicly publish the information you provide as a registrant of the domain, and once this is out in the waters, there’s a chance for anyone from scammers to marketers to get to you, directly!

Who owns my domain name?

Like most other assets that you own, domain names are your property and ought to be registered through domain name registrars or domain name resellers who can manage and service your needs over the period of your domain’s registration through them.

Be wary of registering a domain name through your web designer, a web design service, or a friend – since in most cases you are have no direct access to the registrar or domain name reseller used to register your domain – and in most cases your domain name may not be considered your property.

Is my information safe, out in the woods?

While registering a domain you are asked to provide four sets of information while registering your domain, the domain’s Registrant, Administrative, Technical and Billing contact information. While registering a domain directly, you can fulfill all roles and complete information that’s necessary.

In case you are purchasing for your employer, you may split the above information by department, whereby the stakeholder of your business would be listed as a Registrant, and the Administrative, Technical and Billing contact information would represent various departments within your organization and their respective contact information.

I’m a little worried about my domain’s contact information – where can I check it?

To look up your domain’s contact details, i.e. the Registrant, Administrative, Technical and Billing details, you can simply search the WHOIS database for your registry, which would usually be two of these:

ICANN Lookup (for .com, .org, etc. domains)
https://lookup.icann.org/lookup

AEDA Whois Lookup (for .ae domains)
http://whois.aeda.net.ae/whois/whois_local.jsp?

At times if your domain is unique, as in .at or a .pk (country specific domains), the only WHOIS lookup will be provided by their respective registries, so you’ll need to google that bit up if and when you’re looking up a domain from a new TLD pool or one that’s country specific.

How do you manage domain contact information?

Whenever registrars permit, Spiderz always chooses to shield your domain behind the registrar’s privacy protection service or by using Spiderz Trust that guards your information from appearing in WHOIS databases. We also maintain that domain names are owned by their registrants and process transfer requests on priority.

If you are looking for a reliable domain name reseller, try the Spiderz domain name registration service. We register and maintain hundreds of domains for our customers in the UAE and provide free DNS services upon request.

This article is authored by Yasser Masood, a partner at Spiderz Web International. He fulfills the role of Technical Product Manager and Solutions Consultant at the company. Yasser co-founded Spiderz in 2002, some seventeen years ago. Spiderz is a web services provider in the United Arab Emirates. Write to him at yasser@spiderz.com – he’ll be happy to hear from you!

Stories live for eons

WALL-E robot waving at the Sun as it sets
To the summer photo © Copyright by Dominik Scythe

The idea of blogging in the context of blogging as a business has taken a back seat. The habit of sitting down and sharing thoughts and experiences, like some small businesses would a few years ago, has taken a back seat too.

There’s been nothing to say for hundreds of thousands of businesses for simply too long. One, they are simply too busy running their little shows and putting out fires day-in and day-out, and two, most of them are inundated with immaculate, well articulated, well written, dazzling content from the few who can write and produce.

Google anything, and you will find enough information on any subject – from almost everywhere on the planet, from almost everyone who has any voice on the Internet – good, bad or ugly.

The term ‘anything’ itself returns about 3,880,000,000 results – three billion, eight hundred and eighty million. Every time you use Google, you get millions, if not billions of results – way too many for you to consume and simply too many to go past page one. Page one gets you what you want.

There’s going to be a time when the only sufficient answer provided to us by a service like Google or Apple’s Siri shall be the one we’re looking for – assisted by artificial intelligence and human use. You won’t hunt through pages for information, instead, you will be guided to a ‘true’ answer – the right page, blob of text, movie clip, news item or whatever it is that you seek.

In such a scenario, when every query is answered with a ‘true’ answer on the information platform of your choice, where would, all the hundreds of thousands of articles written to please Google first, and humans second, rank? If not even require a mention.

Large, deep, dense, 4000+ word articles written to gain the pleasure of Google and to satisfy its appetite for content rule the roost. The one-single publisher who outshines at this form of publishing takes the limelight on page one, and with it, most search traffic.

The search world as we know it will cease to exist the way we know it. There is too much noise on most systems and the only, if not the first ‘singularity’ we may face, one that would be an acceptable one, is the purging of noise across systems by an AI that is designed to assist humans. A Wall-E type of humble, AI, that comes in to clean-up the mess we have created. It could be one governed by law.

In the backdrop of all this, two entities will survive in cyberspace. ‘True human stories’ and AI-assisted ‘true answers’. Given that AI is largely modeled to serve business interests first and human interests second (YouTube comes to mind), we are far off from that point in time, but a quarantine for machine-friendly, search-optimized content on galactic proportions is conceivable*.

When that happens, the only bit of information that shall survive will be human emotion, experience, suffering and stories of our lives, written by well-meaning, ‘wise-men’ who saw the world differently – who wrote to share the many little things life brought them and to which they put pen to paper.

Stories live for eons. Write one about you and your journey as a business.

*Google does this all the time by tweaking its algorithm. Apple tries to get you the most correct answers or a list of answers through Siri. The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act in the US aims to deter an estimated 47 billion robocalls.

This article is authored by Yasser Masood, a partner at Spiderz Web International. He fulfills the role of Technical Product Manager and Solutions Consultant at the company. Yasser co-founded Spiderz in 2002, some seventeen years ago. Spiderz is a web services provider in the United Arab Emirates. Write to him at yasser@spiderz.com – he’ll be happy to hear from you!