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Web ownership and portability: Who owns the content on my website/ blog and would the domain be portable?
June 4, 2011 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Web ownership and portability: Who owns the content on my website/ blog and would the domain be portable?

Website newbie here- hoping for some help. I've searched for an answer to these questions regarding ownership and portability, but don't feel confident that I have a clear answer.

I'd like to start two websites/ blogs, one providing a service and the other providing a gift product that is related to the service. The product is distinct enough from the service that I feel it works better to make a separate website for it. Sorry for the lack of detail- I am currently a student in a conservative field/ community and want to keep this pursuit on the down-low. I'd like to have full control and ownership of the sites, but have concerns having read stories of companies failing, disappearing, etc. tying up domain names and causing other difficulties.

My questions are:

1. Who has ownership? (content, site, domain.. anything else I'm unaware of?)

2. Is it all portable? (content, site, domain.. have I left anything out?)

3. Can I operate these sites anonymously or under an alias?
I'm just learning about things like Google Analytics and am wondering how realistic it is to think I can truly be anonymous. Again, I don't want the website to be linked back to me personally, for professional reasons. I understand this might not be totally possible, indefinitely. I expect the two fields will be integrated into one professional identity one day, but would rather this happen much much later.

4. Is Godaddy not a good idea? What's a better alternative?

5. So far, the vote is for Wordpress. Can I have ownership and portability with Wordpress?

6. Should hosting also be done by the domain company? Wordpress? Myself? Something else?

7. Is Paypal the best online payment option? Would the customer get a receipt with any of my personal information or just my business name/ domain name and post office box? Rest assured I'm not doing anything questionable- just live with roommates who might snoop and ask questions.

8. Would linking to a facebook fan page also compromise anonymity?

Any suggestions or resources would be so appreciated. I'm working hard to learn about all this in my spare time and I'm a bit overwhelmed, being so green. If there's a way to further my education on the topic, I'd love to hear about it. Oh, and feel free to ask for further details if necessary. I'll give as much as I can. Thanks!
posted by bestillme to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
1. You have control and you have the copyright for the stuff you put on. If you have user created content it might be different.

2. Is it all portable? (content, site, domain.. have I left anything out?)
Yes

3. Can I operate these sites anonymously or under an alias?
Yes.
Use the proxy registration service from godaddy. If you need more anonymity, there are other options.

4. Is Godaddy not a good idea? What's a better alternative?
Godaddy is a good idea. Just buy the domain and the proxy service for 20 bucks.

5. So far, the vote is for Wordpress. Can I have ownership and portability with Wordpress?
Yes/Yes. The first yes if you mean copyright with "ownership". Again, with user created content it might be different.

6. Should hosting also be done by the domain company?
No. Start with hostgator.com

7. Is Paypal the best online payment option?
No, but is is an easy option.

Would the customer get a receipt with any of my personal information or just my business name/ domain name and post office box?
If you sell stuff online it is more difficult to stay anonymous if you incorporate in the US. But why would you want to stay anonymous so much? If you incorporate a real business (not the New Mexico shell) then the owner of this business can be looked up. You could go offshore but again, what is the point?

8. Would linking to a facebook fan page also compromise anonymity?
No, as long as the product hat its own fanpage.

While I am an advocate of privacy myself (I host a discussion board that not everybody must know it is hosted by me) I am skeptical about your motives to run your business anonymous.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 7:19 AM on June 4, 2011


Sounds like you may be talking about setting up a sexually explicit site. Talk to a lawyer.
posted by orthogonality at 7:51 AM on June 4, 2011


orthogonality: Sounds like you may be talking about setting up a sexually explicit site. Talk to a lawyer

While *I* don't think you need to talk to a lawyer, you do need to be well-informed about this area of content creation and you will have specific hosting needs. If this indeed an adult site, please be more, err, explicit about that fact.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:03 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


4. Is Godaddy not a good idea? What's a better alternative?

Due to terrible business practices and general douchiness, Godaddy is a terrible idea. Plus, their DomainsByProxy service costs extra.

Use Hover.com, a registrar in Canada that provides their domain privacy service at no additional charge. Additionally, hover doesn't try to upsell you on products you don't need like godaddy does. Hover's process is really easy and they're really straight forward.

I hosted my 12 domains on godaddy for a number of years, but since an elephant shooting incident a few months ago, I've been trickling mine away to hover.
posted by phoebus at 9:09 AM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Would the customer get a receipt with any of my personal information or just my business name/ domain name and post office box?

You'd probably need something like a Fictitious Business Name (some states call it things like a trade name or an assumed business name). The state would have your name on file, of course, because the government wants its taxes, but you'd be able to start a bank account under your business name and send receipts as "Bestillme Company" or whatever. You may even be able to accept payment by PayPal. You'll probably want to consult a lawyer on this one.
posted by phoebus at 9:17 AM on June 4, 2011


To help clarify...
I'm currently studying to go into a science-based field and the websites have to do with my interests in metaphysics or what some might call the psudo-sciences. The anonymity is more about giving myself time to grow and integrate these two fields within myself and my sense of identity. I'm a pretty private person; and although the idea of a website has been bouncing around for some time, I've decided to go for it with the encouragement of a small circle of family and friends . Again, my intention and desire is to eventually have things more integrated and open; and I expect that by the time I'm out of school these issues will no longer exist outside of the usual privacy concerns.
posted by bestillme at 9:38 AM on June 4, 2011


A MUCH better alternative to GoDaddy is Namecheap for the followig reasons:

1. Namecheap does not give money to right wing politicians and causes

2. Namecheap does not put out ads demeaning to women (and their CEO is not an ass)

3. Namecheap will not try to fool you into an upsell on each and every page as GoDaddy does (so annoying!)

4. Namecheap has all the hosting options that GoDaddy has (including anonymity) for equivalent prices.

5. Namecheap has equivalent uptime to that of GoDaddy and on the 2 occasions that I had to use their customer support they were knowledgeable, responsive and surprisingly friendly - UNLIKE GoDaddy

I moved my dozen domains and hosting from GD to Namecheap about 18 months ago and have been very pleased.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:15 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


GoDaddy's CEO supported torture.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:26 PM on June 4, 2011


The tricky part is going to be paying for your domain name registration, and setting up your PayPal account.

Paying for your domain registration will require you to use a credit/debit card, which will require your real name. That's why it will be important to use anonymous registration, so that your name doesn't end up being exposed to the internet via a WHOIS lookup.

I don't believe you can set up a Paypal account under a pseudonym. They're sticklers for that kind of thing. But you can sign up for merchant services and specify what business name you want Paypal to use on all your transactions.
posted by ErikaB at 8:07 PM on June 4, 2011


This may be a pea-brained question, but yoyo_nyc's comment got me wondering, is there a different kind of content ownership aside from copyright?

I don't mind using, nor expected to use a pseudonym with Paypal; but registering a business name as phoebus mentioned, and opening up a business account/ credit card sounds like a good idea. Though, I wonder if you have to register a business name in order to use it legally, even if say you're baking cookies from home and selling a couple dozen a month to the few friends and family who know about it. In the end, as long as the customer isn't given my name or personal information as a part of the general, routine practice of the business/ website, I'm fine. If I do disclose any personal information, I'd like to have the option to do it directly.

I'd be interested to hear any favorite host options or Paypal alternatives?

Thanks everyone for the recommendations and information... especially about Godaddy.
posted by bestillme at 8:02 PM on June 5, 2011


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