There are no ethical exceptions to this rule. If you have a client, they request a domain, take the time to create a domain registration account for them and put it in their name. Webmasters should be the techinical contact. Admin, owner and billing should all be the client.
I am transferring two domains today. WhoIs reveals that the existing hosting company, owns my client’s domain. They won’t balk at the transfer, but it should have never been set up that way.
In defense of webmasters, sometimes clients just don’t want to know anything about domain registration, hosting and all things “geek,” don’t want to take responsibility, etc. You mut insist that they do. Set up the domain hosting account if they don’t have one already, give them the login, and put the domain in their cart. They can then login and complete the purchase without ever having to give you their credit card. It’s better not to have it. But ask them to save it as a quick method of payment to make future addons easier.
As you need to add new items to their account, get them the quote for the add-ons and get their approval IN WRITING via email, then go into their account and complete the purchase with a quick check out using the saved credit card. If they prefer to make the purchase without a saved card, put it in their cart, alert them to complete the transaction. This takes longer, but it is more respectful, puts ownership where it belongs – with the client. It’s not fun for clients to be held hostage and not have access to their own online presence. We are all trying to raise responsible and independent clients. They will turn to the pros when they need more, need assistance or want ideas.They are more apt to be your client for life if you treat them with respect and educate them along the way. It is, after all, their online presence.
Clients – INSIST THAT YOU ARE THE OWNER of your own domains, have access to ALL hosting and domain registration information. Even if the information doesn’t make sense to you – get the information. Then, have your web professional explain it to you until you are comfortable and understand it. Don’t let them talk down to you. They should tell you until you understand it. Your online presence is your responsiblity and you should have full access to it if you want it.
Then, keep a spreadsheet internally with the information so anyone assisting you, your successor, your new assistant can help you if necessary. This is handy information as well when you are ready to transition to a new service provider.