Ideas for Your Business from Idea Cafe

Be the Ruler of Your Own Domain

If you haven't already, consider setting up your own Internet domain name, pronto. Thousands are being concocted every month by hungry entrepreneurs. By the time you finish reading this, your perfect domain name could be food on your competitor's table.

Domain names appear as part of your email address -- right after the little @ symbol. They make it easier for your customers to find you in cyber space. Instead of wading through a long scrabble of words, numbers and symbols, customers can recall your brief and distinct domain name. For example, if you want to order up some savvy small biz advice, talk to Francie at She's the chef... Idea Cafe is her domain.

You can design your domain name to reflect your product, service or company in up to 64 characters (but keep in mind that shorter is better). Current suffixes like .COM, .NET, .ORG, .TO, .CC, .AC, .SH, .UK .EDU, and .NET reflect what kind of organization you are: commercial, non-profit, educational, government or network. There are also international indicators, like .uk for United Kingdom or .nz for New Zealand.

Check out which of these tempts your palate more:

Special Requests
Find out if your favored domain name is already on someone else's menu. Access the master InterNIC database at one of the sights given below. Plug in your desired nom de Web in the query box. If it's registered to someone else, data on the owner will be displayed. If not, the InterNIC will flash a "No match" message, and you're free to cook up your own special dish.

You can go through a brokerage service to register your domain. They will do the prep work for you. The two best (and easiest) we've found are and Network Solutions.

Either way, domain names do have a shelf life. The fixed InterNIC fee of $70, which covers the first two years' registration of your domain name. You cannot avoid paying this fee, as currently InterNIC are in a monopoly position, controlling the supply of all domain names. Essentially, therefore, the minimum cost of a domain name is $70. InterNIC currently charges $35 per year after the two year period covered by the initial $70 payment. If you are buying the domain name to keep and use, you will want to bear this extra cost in mind, as essentially the value
of a domain name depreciates to $0 every year. And don't think that InterNIC will let you keep the domain name without paying!

You'll also need to maintain a domain name server, or make an arrangement with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that provides a domain name server service.


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