In a recent article on this web site entitled “10 Tips To Protecting Your Child Actor,” I mentioned you should register your child’s name as a domain name (internet address) as soon as you can to help protect them against identity theft and domain squatters in the future. But when is the best time?
I recommend registering your child’s domain name as soon as your child a) works as a principal character in a TV show or film (has a credit on screen) or b) signs with an agent or manager. The reason for doing this as soon as possible is obvious: there are people out there who register domains of newcomers at the earliest opportunity. If you think to yourself “but my kid isn’t famous yet” you are kidding yourself. There is a segment of the population that will immediately notice a new girl or boy on a TV show and immediately start posting their name around the Internet for other people to see.
So what is a domain name and how do you register one?
A domain name is the “internet address” you use to find a particular web site. The domain name for the web site you are on now is “kidsinthebiz.com.” A popular domain name for a search engine is “google.com.” Most actors will register their domain name as “firstnamelastname.com.” There are also domain names that end in .us, .tv, .net, .org and hundreds more. Concentrate on the .com extension.
Can you register a domain name if you don’t even have a web site? YES! In fact, many parents will simply register their child’s domain name and “park” it – not use it, just so somebody else can’t take it. They may or may not ever make a web site, but they know that somebody else can’t pretend to be their child with the domain name either.
One of the best places to register a domain name is a place called Go Daddy. It’s a funny name but one of the best. GoDaddy.com is known as a domain name registrar, a place to register domain names. Once you are at their site, type your child’s name (wthout spaces) into the “Start Your Search Here” box and click on “Go.”
If the domain hasn’t been taken yet, click on Continue. You will be asked to buy a whole bunch of stuff you really don’t need so click on “No Thanks” to continue. You will then be asked to buy even more things, so just click on Continue again. You may have some things auto-selected for you like “Traffic Builder” – uncheck it and click on Continue again.
Eventually you will get to a checkout page that will have you double-check everything to make sure it is correct, as well as choose a payment method. If there is anything else in your cart besides the domain name, remove it! For 2 years it should only cost you about $18.40.
You can choose to pay by PayPal or by Credit Card. Select which one and then also put check marks into the boxes saying you have read the agreement and terms of service. (I suggest actually reading them too, although they are pretty standard) – then click on Checkout Now.
The next section will require you to put in personal information. IMPORTANT – this information will be public, and once it is out there, people CAN bring it uyp again even if you change it. For the telephone number I would suggest your agent or managers number, NOT your private home phone number. Cell phone is also fine if you don’t mind – but you will probably get calls on it. For address, again put your agent or manager’s address, or a post office box if you have one. If you put your real home address, remember this will be available for everybody to see.
Continue the checkout process. Once everything is done, that is it. Your domain is now officially “parked” and will be on the Internet in 4-24 hours. When people call up the domain name in their web browser, they will see godaddy’s “parked” page. If you ever build a web site for your child, or have someone build it for you, you will need to modify the settings in the GoDaddy control panel. Your web designer / web host should be able to help you with that.
Securing your child’s domain name early means it won’t be stolen later. Use your own judgment for when you feel it is the right time. Remember, if the .com is taken, you can try one of the other extensions, but even today, nothing is as good as a .com.