Master of Your Domain Name

How would you like to be master of your domain name for ten whole years?

Network Solutions Inc. has come up with a way for you to do just that. The "dot-com people" until recently held a government-contracted monopoly on registering Web addresses ending in .com, .net, .org, and .edu. The company boasts approximately 6.5 million registrations since the 1980s.

The new offer, announced earlier this week, gives you the choice of registering a name for anywhere from one to ten years. This is good news for businesses that want a lock on their precious dot-com addresses, such as Amazon.com and NASDAQ.com. Both organizations have already signed ten-year contracts. Network Solutions has partnerships with 240 ISPs (Internet service providers), all of which also signed ten-year agreements.

"This service immediately proved very popular for large corporations," says Christopher Clough, vice president of corporate communications for Network Solutions. "Our previous (registration) arrangement was one-size-fits-all, which didn't always work too well. You got a two-year initial agreement and one-year renewal, regardless of whether you were IBM or a mom-and-pop shop."

Most of Network Solutions' competitors currently offer one- or two- year agreements, although a few offer longer terms. Most are likely to quickly follow the leader with ten-year contracts of their own. So what will ten years in Internet time cost you? The price is only US$350 to keep your brand secure.

Network Solutions is also offering a 15 percent rebate right now, which knocks about $50 off the price.

However, if you're a small business, you're probably seeking out more than just a domain name, Clough says. The majority of small businesses also opt for value-added services and bundled packages that include e-mail.

Maybe you're afraid that all the good names are already taken. Network Solutions recently announced it is extending the allowed domain name length from 26 to 67 characters. More than 15,000 new domain names are created every day.

Network Solutions is actually two separate business units. One is the registry, which maintains the worldwide database of all Internet domain names, and can be looked at as the Internet white pages, according to Clough. The other is the registrar, which competes with 25 other domain name registrars.

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