I thought it would be a good idea to write a quick post on the difference between changing your domain’s registrar and changing the ownership. This is an important concept to understand when working with a service like SnapNames that holds your domain with a third-party registrar.
First off, a Registrar is a company that has been given the right to register domains. ICANN has control over all standard TLD’s (except for country code domains, i.e. .ws, .cc, etc.). Here is a nice list on Wikipedia of the top domain registrars:
If ICANN doesn’t ring a bell – it stands for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN is a non-profit corporation headquartered in California. In 1998 the U.S. Government gave ICANN the authority over assignment of domain names and ip addresses. A registrar must be given the authority to register domains by ICANN in order to operate.
Changing domain registrars simply means changing the company who is responsible for renewing and managing your domain name. You can change registrars whenever you want while you remain the owner of the domain.
I like to compare this to car insurance. If you have a car you will need to have insurance. There are a number of insurance companies out there and you can change insurance on your car whenever you want. This keeps the auto insurance market competitive and does the same for the domain market.
Changing ownership of a domain is done by requesting for a change of account (requested by the seller of the domain) to another account with the same registrar. When using a service like Snapnames you will change the registrar of your domain to a third-party registrar. When you sell a domain through Snapnames you then request a change of ownership and Snapnames handles moving your domain to the buyers registrar.
Hope this helps those of you who are new to Domaining – it is an important concept to understand and should help you feel more confident in your domain transactions.