Registering a Domain Name
Registries: The registries for the various TLD's (Top Level Domains such as ".com") are responsible for creating the "zone files" (master lists of active names) which are sent to the name servers.
Registrars: The registrars interface with the public to maintain the detailed registration information and are responsible to communicate add/edit/delete information to the registries.
Register variations of your domain name
You will also want to register variations of www.mycompanyname.com.
Dashed and Dash-less
For example, a domain name without dashes is much easier to explain over the phone. But a domain name with dashes is much easier to read in print. www.smiles-for-kids.net and www.smilesforkids.net both point to the very same place. One domain name is for print and the other for the phone.
You may want to register variations of your domain name. You may not need or even use these variations. The main thing is that you don't want your competition to own them. Registering variations of your main domain name is a defensive action.
Domain Names with Keywords
You may also want to register domain names that include important keywords. For example, if your company name is Acme Corporation and you make widgets, your main domain name might be www.acme.com. You will want to register www.widgets.com. Potential customers will type "widgets" when they use a search engine. Having this keyword in a domain name helps search engine positioning. You can have many domain names all pointing to the same website.
eNom gives you much more than other registrars. In addition to your name, you get name server services, URL redirection, email forwarding, and parking pages.
http://www.internic.net/alpha.html is a list of accredited registrars.
Go to www.enom.com and search for the availability of a domain name you might use for your site. Try to include keywords that someone might use to search for you. Or register additional domain names that point to the same location that are loaded with keywords.
You should also consider registering common variations and/or misspellings of your site. They may not be useful to you, but you really don't want someone else grabbing them.
Domain Name Registration for E-Commerce Class
When you register a domain name, you will undoubtedly receive emails from companies that want you to "renew" your registration with them. Sometimes these solicitations look more like renewals than solicitations, so be sure not to fall for their tricks. Here's one example. And here's another example.
Be sure to...