Retail v Corporate Domain Registrar

I have the privilege of having worked in the domain industry for a decade now. At the beginning of that career path, I worked for a registrar that was aiming to be corporate, but still predominantly start up. As a result of that experience, there are many areas that I could compare to using a retail registrar.

A retail registrar is fine if all you have are a handful of generic domain extensions, within one retail account, that can tick over at a low cost to your business, with little need to make changes to those domains.

The reality is that a large corporation may have anywhere from 100 to 15,000 domains, depending on the size and industry, as well as  the historical and progressive brand protection strategy. Over time, that organisation will have built up a portfolio of domains, that relate to a whole host of products, services, trademarks, slogans, campaigns and even names of CEO’s ( These will include all kinds of variations, registered for different reasons over time. You may or may not have included miss-spellings or negative reference domains. Domains will have been registered by your department, but also historically by individuals. This still may even be the case if your organization is large enough. Over time, various local retail registrars and hosting companies will have been used, in order to secure those names.

Let’s look at how the number of domains associated with one brand may develop over time (please click on the image to view in full).




Multiply this by brands, registrars, account logins and invoices and you now have many moving parts to your portfolio, which presents a number of costs and risks, associated with managing those assets. In addition, many retail registrars have a number of vulnerabilities in terms of security associated with either DNS, or account access, which can have a severe impact on your revenue streams. Retail registrars may also profit from the management of your domain names, by directing your un-used domain names to either sponsored link pages, or, a landing page of their own providing them with free advertising. If the website associated with one of your key brand domain names is either changed, redirected or removed, due to either deletion of either the DNS records, or worse still deletion of the domain name, the consequences could be costly. Ultimately, when it comes to making a change to such a domain name yourself, you will find you have nothing but a limited 9-5 generic telephone number to ring. Having been put on hold across enough call centres, I know how frustrating and time consuming this can be. An additional point to note is that as a global business, you will be continually expanding into new markets. Retail registrars lack the capacity to support these strategies, by only providing a limited TLD offering. It is also important to partner with a service provider that keeps abreast of new TLD launches and liberalisations, that can help you understand how these impact your specific business.

If you are reading this post, you may be using a corporate registrar already. You should ultimately be with a corporate registrar who understands you and your business. Using a corporate registrar to manage your domain names may appear to cost more if you compare a single corporate managed ‘.com’ domain, to a retail registered ‘.com’. If you scale that up to across hundreds of domain names, the benefits and cost savings, with a corporate registrar, both short and long-term can be realized. You should expect corporate service for a corporate price. A dedicated Account Manager and day to day contacts, that can help you benefit from the experience, tools and services of that corporate registrar, in order to help you make the right decisions about your domain portfolio. They should be able to help you streamline your portfolio, as well as to be able to help you make the right decisions moving forward.

Give CSC Digital Brand Services a call or speak with your Account Manager, if you would like help understanding more about how to best manage and control your brands online.

Colin Darbyshire
Strategic Account Manager