Businessman at office on the phone with headset, Skype

Did You Read the “Terms of Service” Before You Clicked?

You need to be able to answer “Yes” to the above question. If you didn’t, you may be in for a few unpleasant surprises later on down the line.Most of us have confronted the following situation which is quite common. If you use a computer you know exactly to what I’m referring. You are likely going to be asked to ascent to the fact that you understand the ‘Terms of Use or Service’ when you install new software. Most of us click in the “I Agree” box rather than read page after page of legalese. When you assent or agree, an unscrupulous provider can easily implement a custom-designed ‘gotcha’.That happened to me. This is my story and I’m sticking to it!Do you own a web address? If so, you own a web property. It’s yours. You can build a website or you can let what is known as a “Domain Registrar” hang on to it for you. You, of course, pay them a certain amount to manage it. The name basically just “sits” there and you pay to “park” it.

No one can do business under your website’s name though, right? Wrong. The Domain Registrar can but only if you fail to read the “Terms of Service Agreement”. Said differently, if you clicked on “I Agree” without reading the Terms of Service of your provider and they have written into the terms of service the right to do business in your name (and you really aren’t using it for the moment) they can do so.Wait a minute! You own the name and the Domain Registrar can put up a website and “monetize” your website and make money for doing so? Yep, if you clicked “I Agree” and permission was given within the service agreement. Having this happen to you is both embarrassing and alarming. It’s truly the Wild West on the Internet.These snake oil salesmen of the Domain Registrars scour web properties that are “parked” and find an inactive web site. They find one that is attractive and they check to see if the idiot/owner has clicked on “I Agree”. Gotcha! The disreputable Domain Registrar then hires a third-party for a “bucket of fish heads” and develops your site (i.e. now temporarily their site since you aren’t using it and gave them permission to do so) and then they link “pay per click” ad deals with vendors. The Domain Registrar gets the money from the clicks. You pay to have the Domain Registrar to ‘manage’ the name and any profit from ad revenues go to them. What do you get? The shaft.Pretty neat deal, right? It is for them.What can you do about it? You can shop for a reputable Domain Registrar and READ the fine print before you click on “I Agree” relative to the Terms of Service. Short of that, you have very few options other than bending over and kicking yourself in the rear for being so stupid in the first place.

There are likely to be many honest and trustworthy Domain Registrars on the Internet. Yet, you must careful. Computer crime of every sort is on the rise and we do live in what can be referred to as an asymmetric threat environment. But when you, yourself are found to be an accomplice in the high-jacking of your web property, it’s a humbling experience.I felt like I had just been chiseled at the county fair by a carnie. Instead, I was chiseled by my own countrymen who do a heck of a lot of Domain Registration business. Shame on all of you.Shame on me, too, for being less than vigilant.

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