After 12 years of experience in the administration of web domains, I have written for you this “almost complete” guide about the registration and administration of .ro web domains (RoTLD), through which I have documented all aspects regarding the identity of your business in the online environment from the perspective of marketing, the legal aspects but also the technical aspects that must be taken into account to guarantee the satisfaction of your customers.
Web domains guide
The web domain represents the digital address of your business, the place where both your existing customers and your potential customers will enter to consult your offer of products / services / works and at the same time initiate commercial relations such as placing orders, contacting via web forms, writing chat messages on Facebook / WhatsApp / similar, but also phone calls, directing to the physical location or sending emails.
Domain name extension – top-level domain
Before choosing the domain name it is essential to decide on the domain extension.
The domain extension is the suffix of the website address, usually from the last dot or from the last 2 dots. Until a few years ago, the suffix was only after the last point, but in recent years, probably due to the need for diversification, TLD domains such as (.com.ro or .store.ro) have also appeared, which appear to be subdomains at first glance.
The choice of the right TLD is made according to the national / international exposure of your business and the preferences of users in your industry (for the credibility of the business).
It is important to know that there is an important influencing factor in the search results algorithm called Domain Authority , which makes the domain decision a well-documented one, and the TLD registrar’s legislation along with its domain terms and conditions must known and assumed to reduce the risk of losing the domain name and avoid the negative impact on your business.
Web domains are administered by authorities certified to be web domain registrars by the International Organization Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.
The registrars own the extension and provide domain name registration and administration services on a first-come, first-served basis. If the domain name is a trademark and the trademark owner files and wins a dispute, RoTLD will deactivate the domain name.
In Romania, trademarks can be registered at the State Office for Inventions and Trademarks (OSIM) https://www.osim.ro/
At the European level there is the EUIPO office https://www.euipo.europa.eu/
The list of all TLD registrars globally is available at https://www.iana.org/domains/root/db
Certified registrars for the administration of .ro domains
In Romania, domains with the extension .ro are administered by the National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics (ICI), an institute that operates under the coordination of the General Secretariat of the Government. The ICI website for domain registration is https://rotld.ro/ .
Due to the large number of .ro domains, ICI has accredited private operators to provide domain registration and administration services, and their list is at https://rotld.ro/registrar-list/ .
Register domains only with ICI certified operators in order to have a legal basis in the national legislation on the legal matter regarding holding the right to administer the domain in any disputes. According to the law, web domains cannot be sold, but only the right to administer the domain can be transferred free of charge.
Check the availability of the domain name only on the website https://rotld.ro/ because there are economic operators who have installed software that registers frequently searched domain names to check availability. There are well-known registrars who register names that have more than 5 verifications and then list them on a so-called domain exchange at much higher prices.
Before registration, check that the chosen domain name is not registered as a trademark. Even if it is available on rotld.ro for reservation, this does not mean that you can use it as you wish, because upon winning the dispute as a result of the decision of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), Geneva, SWITZERLAND the domain will be deactivated and the costs of purchasing the domain, and especially the costs of promoting the domain will represent a loss in investment.
Deactivating the domain does not have the facility to redirect users to the new address, so the negative impact will be quite large.
The direct link to the global trademark search page is https://branddb.wipo.int/en/quicksearch/
The list of disputes related to .ro domains is available for consultation at https://rotld.ro/dispute-resolution-policy/
Choosing a domain name
The recommendations of industry experts are that domain names should be as short and easy to remember as possible, we complete and easy to communicate .
Domain names containing hyphenated words
One aspect that is not talked about enough is choosing a domain name that contains hyphenated words . From an SEO point of view it has never been a benefit to the overall search results ranking score (SERPs). Beyond SEO, think about the scenario where you run audio campaigns or need to dictate your website address to a partner over the phone.
For example, my agency’s website is webmarketingtransylvania.eu and I have to dictate to it: web dash marketing transylvania dash (dot eu). Or even more confusing web minus marketing minus transylvania. I would quickly come to hate the word hyphen because it makes it difficult for me to communicate with my partners, so I didn’t go for it.
Domain names containing English words
Web domains that contain English words are a very good choice only for companies / organisations that have an international commercial market, even then it is preferable that the English domain be used for the English version of the site and the Romanian language domain be used for the Romanian language version of the site.
As in any country in the world, there are partners who either do not know foreign languages at all, or know other foreign languages of international circulation and tend to misspell what they hear, and typing the website address incorrectly leads to the loss of potential customers.
For example, my agency’s website is webmarketingtransylvania.eu, and besides the fact that this is a very long name, I have identified the fact that we have quite a few partners from Romania who have difficulties in writing the website address correctly, which I don’t it happened to customers from abroad. Therefore I am seriously considering a very short domain name, maybe even consisting of word abbreviations.
Domain names containing words with unconventional abbreviations
I have come across many clients who chose unconventional abbreviations and subsequently found it very difficult to communicate their website address, especially in scenarios where there were abbreviations with the same letters. It will be equally difficult for their customers to remember the address on subsequent accesses, when there is no one to guide them. The site will not appear in the first position of the search results – being unconventional abbreviations, if the user does not remember the address of the site. Even though search engines are currently striving to perfect such scenarios in which they can intuit what the user is looking for in the browser, the chances of success are still very small.
Domain names containing words with diacritics
Most countries that have special characters (diacritics) in the alphabet usually use them in communication, including domain names, but in our country most users do not use them due to the fact that fonts containing diacritics and the support of operating systems or Internet browsers have were adopted much later than software. Things are changing nowadays and more and more website owners are opting for texts with diacritics, but the national legislation does not foresee the scenario where if you have had a domain without diacritics until now you have the first option when buying the same name but with diacritics, exception doing in the case of its registration as a trademark. Therefore, my recommendation is to purchase the domain name with diacritics and attach it as an additional domain, to ensure your brand identity in the online environment.
Registering the domain name as a trademark
If you register the domain name as a brand, this reservation gives you the security of the brand’s identity in the Online environment, so that if you have registered, for example, the brand-name.ro domain, you will win if another person / organization registers your name as domain on another TLD (eg brand-name.com).
Another notable benefit is that platforms that provide advertising services like Google Ads do not support running ads using trademark names.
You can opt for building a brand specific to the industry in which you are authorized or you can register the name of the company / organization as a registered trademark. By registering the name of the company at the National Office for the Trade Register, you only win the case for .ro domain names, not for international domain names (eg .com, .ai, .org, etc.) Register only the domain name, not and its extension for wider application of the brand name reservation (application for all domain extensions).
Register with OSIM first the brand, and then the domain name to streamline expenses. If the brand registration is not approved, the costs of registering and promoting the domain name are saved, thus reducing the risk of the investment.
SEO considerations of choosing a domain name
RankBrain is the ranking algorithm based on a weighted score of search result ranking factors (over 200 factors). RankBrain’s recommendation is that web domains be registered for a longer period (5 years) to signal a long-term investment and not a market speculation.
Other factors that become relevant in highly competitive niches would be the presence of keywords in the name, age of the domain, history of the domain, display of domain owner data.
Behind the domain name are defined name servers, which direct users to the server where the website is hosted, mailboxes, etc., so that search engines apply a score grid for the server’s credibility, security, lack of SPAM. In a later article we will do an in-depth analysis on the evaluation of the quality of a web server and the choice of the optimal supplier for the business needs. This involves choosing an accredited and well-reviewed provider, installing an SSL security certificate, assigning a dedicated IP address, etc. Then as a further continuous activity – the management of the links leading to your site ( backlinks ).
Domain name history
Before registering your preferred domain name, check the free WayBack Machine service provided by the Internet Archive http://web.archive.org/ to view the domain reservation history, including content indexing. This service helps you to evaluate the impact on the ranking score in the top search results but also the trust score of users who have used this domain in the past that you intend to purchase.
Excluding the type of intellectual property that is solved by trademark registration, there are still some good aspects to know:
The national legislation ensures the winning of the case exclusively to the domain owner, who can be a natural or legal person (his data are defined in the domain registration form). Very important to mention, the owner is only the TLD registrar (in this case ICI for .ro domains), and the person who reserves the web domain is the owner of the web domain (only during the reserved period), and has the first option for extending the domain name reservation.
Therefore, freelancers or companies providing web domain registration services have the option to register the domain in the client’s name or in their own name, and hence the need to enter into a contract that clearly specifies the way to reserve the domain name on the name to the beneficiary as the domain holder or the free surrender of the domain at the end of the service contract.
By consulting the WhoIs service available at https://rotld.ro/whois/ , you can find out the name of the domain owner and his contact details. With the mention that natural persons have the right to hide this information according to European Regulation no. 679 of 2016 .
Do not let domain names expire, there are many automation softwares that purchase domain names that have high traffic and especially that have high authority. Once they have registered the domain, they demand very high redemption prices, even though the law states that it is illegal.
Another very important aspect to mention in domain registration service contracts through intermediaries (providers) is the exclusive definition of name servers according to the requirements of the beneficiaries. By changing the name servers, users are directed to other servers, and I have met clients who found that “certain” users or when accessing the site at “certain” hours (at night) direct users to other sites. This is an unfair technique to “accumulate” traffic on the respective sites in order to increase the popularity score in the RankBrain algorithm. Most customers look for malware/backdoor in WordPress but this has nothing to do with WordPress, it’s a domain level configuration, not even a web hosting (cPanel) level.
It is essential for a business to conclude contracts, and above all for them to be sufficiently explicit.
RoTLD has standardised procedures and forms for the services of:
- Changing your email address (if you have lost access to your email address for various reasons)
- Transfer of right of use (change of domain name holder)
- Transfer to another registrar (from ICI to partners and vice versa or between partners)
- Owner name update (as a result of approval of the name change at ONRC for legal entities or SPCLEP for individuals)
- Transfer of right of use following the deletion of the company
- Delete domain
In order to prevail in the event of a dispute, it is important to keep your name and contact information updated with the TLD registrar.
On the RoTLD website there is a page of frequently asked questions and answers https://rotld.ro/faq-general-questions/
Other very important recommendations related to the contact data used when registering the domain name, as a result of the cases encountered in the domain administration experience:
Choose and write your email address carefully, for 4 reasons:
- If you define an email address created on a domain with a broken server or the domain is expired at the time you request a password reset you will not receive the confirmation code.
- Never define an email address created on the domain you manage because you risk getting into a total block that leads to non-functionality for several days – deadline for solving the request to change the email address.
- Check that the email address is written correctly, if it is created on a free platform like Yahoo and you write the wrong address you open a security breach, and if another malicious person or automated software creates that email address they will be able to manage the web domain (may change domain holder).
- If you define the email address incorrectly, you do not have access to the operation confirmation codes from the domain administration panel, and you have to open the email address change procedure, which takes several days.
Choose and write the phone number carefully because if you filled in the phone number incorrectly and another malicious person or automated software acquires that phone number they will be able to administer the web domain (may change the domain owner).
This article was written in Romanian and automatically translated into English with Google Translate, we apologize for any translation errors.
If you have any doubts or questions related to this topic, please fill out the form on the Ask us anything page and we will answer you as soon as possible.