If you’re like me, you’ve thought a lot about registering a domain name for yourself—for your business purposes or just to be cool. Registering a name only costs $70—which is $35 per year for a two-year commitment. Unfortunately, one of the requirements of registering a domain is that you have to host it somewhere, which used to mean spending a lot of money for cyber-rent.

What you may not realize is that you can register a domain name without having an active page. My colleague, Web development engineer Kevin Brown, recommended SoftCom Technology Consulting, a company that lets you park your domain on its site until you’re ready to build your own—and you can park your domain for free.
When you use SoftCom’s site to purchase a domain name, all you pay is the fee that Network Solutions charges to register your name for two years. SoftCom registers you as the administrative contact and will let you “park” your domain in its cyberspace (which points to its servers) until you sell the domain name for a million bucks or until you’re ready to move the domain to another hosting service. You own the domain. Unlike some other registration services, SoftCom does not own the domain name, but lists itself as your “technical contact.”
Who owns my name?
When you surf over to SoftCom’s site, you’ll see that it offers a number of services related to hosting Web sites. SoftCom’s standard package includes 50 MB of storage space, 20 e-mail boxes, UPS protected servers, detailed Web-trends traffic report, and more.

One of most useful features the site offers is the ability to check on the availability of a domain name—and it simultaneously checks for .com, .net, and .org names. Just type in the name you want to check, like I did in Figure A, and click the Find Now! graphic.

Figure A
SoftCom Technology’s site makes it easy for you to check the availability of a domain name.

When you execute the search, the results page shows three windows—one each for the .com, .net, and .org variation of the domain name. The results come from the “whois” query at Network Solutions. As Figure B shows, jeffdavis.com, jeffdavis.org, and jeffdavis.net are already taken. (Go figure—it’s a pretty common name.)

What if you decide you’d like to make an offer to the owner of the domain name? Just scroll down in the respective results windows and you’ll see the name, address, and contact information for the owner of the domain.

Figure B
SoftCom Technology’s site checks for the .com, .net, and .org variation of the domain name.

If you’d like to share your experiences or advice for registering domain names, please post a comment below or send me a note .