A domain registry is a listing of all domain names and their IP addresses. It also acts as a registrar for new names people wish to add. When one establishes a new website, often many variants of the name wanted for one’s site are already taken. Usually, new website owners must evaluate the names used and get creative in titling their new site. Evaluating the registered names on a domain registry can help in finding a name that will be suitable to one’s personal or business Internet site.
A domain registry can allow one to find names used in various countries. U.K. websites for example, often end in .uk. Should one be attempting registry with the main domain registry in the U.K., Nominet, one can try out several names to see if they have already been taken.
Once one registers an acceptable domain name with Nominet, that name is held exclusively by the website owner, provided the name is re-registered each year. One usually pays about 15 US dollars (USD) per year to maintain rights to continue to use each name.
Some domain names are held for specific organizations. Domain registry will generally not allow one to use a name ending in .gov, unless one is setting up a US government website. The ending .edu is generally reserved for those sites linked to education.
Often, choice of ending can help give more choices in domain registry. If one has a site about shoes, which he or she wants to give the domain name of loveshoes.com, he or she may find the name in use. However, loveshoes.net may not be in use and is thus available for domain registry.
With a few exceptions, domain registry will allow one to use any name, provided one reserves it first. Name choice is generally first-come, first-served. There is often fierce competition with name choice and occasionally fraudulent companies will use a very similar version of a domain name to obtain information about people for the purpose of identity theft.
Since identity theft is rampant on the Internet, one should be quite careful when responding to mail requesting information, and be certain that the domain name is exact. Organizations like paypal often get nearly duplicated in domain name. The official site is paypal.com. Identity theft sites might be listed as .org, or .net, or the full name might undergo slight changes, such as "paypals.com."
As a result of the level of competition for names in domain registry, one should be certain to register one’s domain name before including it on business cards, or giving it to potential customers. Like registering a company name within the country one lives, domain registry prior to transacting business will make certain that potential customers are referred to the appropriate site.