Who Owns Your Website?

Gyi Tsakalakis
March 12, 2010

Surprise! You may not own your website. Well, at least not the most important part. You see, there are a number of law firm web marketing companies that are actually "leasing" their domains to law firms. Now, let me be perfectly clear, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this arrangement. So long as the law firm understands the distinction.

Unfortunately, many lawyers don't realize that the domain their site is on, isn't registered in their name. Since the domain is the most valuable part of any web property (due to the fact that links go with the domain), if the domain isn't registered in your name, you may only be a renter.

Under this model, the law firm internet marketing service retains ownership rights to the domain. In the meantime, the lawyer writes content, which grows the site/blog, attracts links, and builds authority to the domain, which again is owned by the web marketer! Brilliant. When the law firm decides to part ways with the marketing company, the marketer rents the domain to the next firm. All the while, the domain continues to become a more valuable property for the law firm web marketing firm on the law firm client's dime!

It's like renting a house and investing in renovations which make the house more valuable for the landlord.

So, how do you determine whether your domain is registered in your name or in the name of your law firm search engine marketing consultant?

Try Whois

Scroll down to the registrant information. See your name? No? Then you might just be a renter.

Renting vs. Owning

When it comes to renting vs. owning your law firm website and domain, think about the factors that you would consider if you were considering renting vs. owning real estate. While the short term costs and benefits of renting a domain may seem attractive, typically, the better long-term strategy is ownership.

If you thought you owned your website, but are concerned that you might be a renter, contact us to learn your options.

Gyi Tsakalakis
Co-Founder of AttorneySync
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