Cardinal Business Sins – Make Sure You Own Your Domain

At about 9 this morning I got a call from a new business contact asking about SEO services. I then spent 2 hours solving a major problem, and wanted to share this story.

This business owner had gotten a website through a printing company, and was not aware that the company had purchased the domain themselves, registered and owned by the website creator, not the business owner. This is a recipe for disaster.

A Warning to Local Businesses

Control your domain names
Since we weren’t involved in what transpired between them, we’ll simply say this.

  1. The business’s domain was no longer theirs to control.
  2. They had no access to their email, Google analytics, or Google Places.
  3. Visitors to his old domain would be presented with an unprofessional message.

It was clear immediately the the most important asset that we could update was their Google Places listing, and that’s just what we did.

Here’s what we did in 2 hours

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  1. Create a new google account for the business
  2. Completed their Google+ profile
  3. Went to Google Places and verified that this Google account was the business owner. We were able to do this by phone thankfully!
  4. Updated the Google places profile, particularly the website and email address but also the categories, description and business hours. I also added in images which hadn’t been part of the previous profile.


As a result of these actions, we had the old domain replaced with the new one in their Google Places result almost instantly. I am writing this at 1pm and its a vast improvement over what they had this morning!

From here we will work to turn this setback into an opportunity, working to brand the new domain, and improve the business’ presence online.


One thing I’ve found myself saying today is this. We advocate for business owners to maintain ownership and a measure of control and understanding of how their website and online marketing assets are inter-related. You’ve got to control your domain names, at the very least! Other web assets can be recovered or redirected, but without ownership and control over your domain, you’d better get started re-branding!

Need help with your domain? You wouldn’t be the first! Just ask!

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