What’s the Difference Between a Domain Name Reseller and Registrar?

When considering the domain name marketplace, there are several active participants. In the past, we’ve discussed the role of the au Domain Administration (auDA) in supporting the functional operation of the domain space within Australia. And of course, you’d be familiar with the concept of registrants – otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be reading this! However, two other participants are sometimes the source of confusion, particularly among industry newcomers. These are, domain name resellers and domain name registrars. So then, how does one differentiate between the two?

First of all, let us consider domain name resellers. Resellers act as an intermediary between registrants and registrars. They will typically acquire domains to offer them to prospective registrants. They are tasked with overseeing the transaction, and maintaining all the necessary details and documentation. Furthermore, they are the conduit between a registrant and registrar, working with both to address any issues that are brought to their attention by either party. It is not uncommon for resellers to also function as registrars, as the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Overseeing their integrity and efficacy, resellers are bound by consumer legislation as well as guidelines established by the auDA in the “au Domain Name Suppliers Code of Practice”. While extensive in length, the policy covers areas including: general conduct, methods of communicating with registrants, services offered (particularly, bundles), advertising principles and guidelines, disclosure obligations, the process and rules in dealing with complaints, and protection afforded to consumers.

Whereas resellers do not require accreditation or authorization from the au Domain Administration, registrars require such approval. As part of their role within the industry, registrars manage the registration component of the domain. For example, if one decides to renew or terminate the tenure of their domain, the registrar is responsible for executing this task. Also, not only do they oversee the registration of domains or any changes, but they are sometimes tasked with the responsibility to push domains into a hold or delete status subject to a dispute resolution outcome.

While it might appear simple enough for any reseller to also operate as a registrar, they must contend with arduous requirements that are designed to preserve the veracity of the industry. Not only do registrars need to invest a significant sum of money to clear initial hurdles, they must continually renew their licensing rights. And if you thought that was it, it isn’t. Registrars must also be able to demonstrate competency in others areas, particularly their ability to comply with policies and regulations, while also operating a robust web platform.

That’s it for this occasion, stay tuned for our next educational article. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Best wishes,
The Netfleet Team



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