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TIAS

Getting your own domain (www.myname.com)
OR you can be your own dot.com!

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If you are thinking about having a domain hosted at TIAS and pointing to your TIAS store, here is an example of how this works.

Look at http://www.stricklersports.com

This is really this store http://www.tias.com/stores/stricklersports but with a 'private' domain name.

As you move through the site, you’ll see that the domain name is ‘sticky’ – it persists as ‘stricklersports’ as you click on the catalog links and such. When the shopper gets to the secure shopping cart, it will temporarily change to TIAS (so the security certificate is good) and then will revert to your domain name.

If you are trying to build name recognition for your site, doing this may be a good thing.
One of the cool things about the sticky URLs is that when someone adds your site to their 'favorites' list with a bookmark, they will see YOUR domain not a TIAS one.  Every time that person looks at their favorites list, they will see your store name! It also makes it easy to move between hosting providers and not have to re-do all your links. And it will show up in your shopper's 'favorites' links with YOUR domain name in it.

It also has an advantage because you can see in your system reports exactly how many hits you are getting from your own domain name (which you are presumably using in your advertising) and how many are coming thru the TIAS links.


This does have the effect of artificially deflating the ratings of TIAS when our traffic is measured in services like Alexa,Nielsen, etc. However, we believe its to our mutual advantage to offer this service because it can add to the recognition of your 'brand' by your customers. And this is good for us all!

Note: This does not affect how the shopping cart works or the way that you pay commission; if the item that the customer buys is in your TIAS inventory and you are a commission-based site, you'll pay commission, regardless of whether the ‘entry’ was made through your own domain or the TIAS one.
How do I get a domain name?

We can register a domain for you.  We really don't want to, but we will if you don't want to fiddle with the registration process.  If you do want us to do this for you, there is a charge of $35 (which includes the year of registration.)  You can order this from the online store.

There are many sources where you can register a domain name.   GoDaddy is the one that TIAS has been using (good prices, good service!)  To use them, go here:  http://www.godaddy.com

Use the "whois" to determine if the domain is available.  If it is not, you'll need to pick something else.  If it is, the registration procedure is simple.  When you get to the end, you will need to decide if you want to (a) do nothing (b) forward the URL or (c) make it sticky.

If you select option (a) you will own the domain, but it won't do you much good.  For more information about sticky domains and forwarding, read on!

 

What happens if I do not get a domain name?

Your store will work great, whether or not you have a personal domain name.  And, if you promote your store using your TIAS address and have great merchandise, you'll make sales (lots of our stores do not have personal domains).  Your customer will see something like this:

The customer clicks on some link to your store
They will immediately see http://www.tias.com/stores/yourstorename
If they select to view your catalog, they will see: http://www.tias.com/stores/yourstorename/catalog.shtml
If they click to view a category, they will see: http://pages.tias.com/[catid]/InventoryPage/[catkey]/1.htm
If they click to view an item they will see: http://pages.tias.com/[catid]/PictPage/[itemkey].html

All these pages can be bookmarked. This is important because about 40% of all customers bookmark an item and then think about it before buying.  The bookmark helps them return. 

When the customer enters the secure shopping cart, they will see http://www.tias.com/cgi-bin/cart.cgi (this is the address of the secure shopping cart).  

How do I make my domain name 'sticky'?  And what does a 'sticky' domain do?
This is optional; if you want it, use the option on your maintenance menu labeled 'extras for your' store to order it.  There is an annual charge for this because it requires us to assign you an individual IP address. This is something that we have to purchase and maintain on your behalf.  Not everyone wants this, so we charge those who do.  And those that do not want it do not have to pay.

Here is what it does:
The customer clicks on http://www.yourdomain.com 
If they select to view your catalog, they will see: http://www.yourdomain.com/catalog.shtml
If they click to view a category, they will see: http://pages.yourdomain.com/[catid]/InventoryPage/[catkey]/1.htm
If they click to view an item they will see: http://pages.yourdomain.com/[catid]/PictPage/[itemkey].html

If the customer bookmarks any of these pages, they will see your domain name and will go directly to the correct page.  This is important because about 40% of all customers bookmark and return before buying.

This is good!

To make your domain sticky, you'll need to order the option.  We'll charge you for the service, but we will also help you set it up with the registrar, assign the IP address and maintain it for you.

What does forwarding do?  Is it different from 'sticky'?

Forwarding is a service from the domain hosting vendor where when someone clicks on the domain, they are 'forwarded' to your TIAS store.  The visitor, however, will see the TIAS domain name while shopping, not your domain name.   You own the URL and you can direct it anyplace you want.  If you change services (which we hope you do not, of course!), you can direct the URL to your new store.

Here is how it looks:

The customer clicks on http://www.yourdomain.com 
They will immediately see http://www.tias.com/stores/yourstorename
If they select to view your catalog, they will see: http://www.tias.com/stores/yourstorename/catalog.shtml
If they click to view a category, they will see: http://pages.tias.com/[catid]/InventoryPage/[catkey]/1.htm
If they click to view an item they will see: http://pages.tias.com/[catid]/PictPage/[itemkey].html

If the customer bookmarks any of these pages, they  will go directly to the correct page.  This is important because about 40% of all customers bookmark and return before buying.

This is pretty good....

You will need to set this up with the registrar yourself.  Use the option on the registrar's site to set up forwarding and set the location to forward to as http://www.tias.com/stores/yourstorename
 

What is masking?  Is it different from forwarding or 'sticky'?

For details, you should ask the party who is providing the service.  But generally, masking means that your site will be run in a frame so that the visitor sees your primary URL only, not the individual URLs of the pages.  We don't recommend this.  Visitors with Netscape or the older browsers will not be able to bookmark your pages.

Here is how it looks:

The customer clicks on http://www.yourdomain.com 
If they select to view your catalog, they will see: http://www.yourdomain.com 
If they click to view a category, they will see :http://www.yourdomain.com 
If they click to view an item they will see: http://www.yourdomain.com 

If the customer bookmarks any of these pages in Microsoft Internet Explorer, version 6 or above, they  will go directly to the correct page (it understands frames structures well).  Customers that bookmark with any other browser will go to your home page. If they have put something in the shopping cart, they will be able to click the link and go there, otherwise, they are out of luck and will have to find the item again.

This is not good at all!  Many buyers do use bookmarks and this is an easy way to lose sales.

Masking, for the record, does not cause problems with the TIAS shopping cart.  The shopping cart is designed so that it cannot be run in a frame; when your visitors get to a point where they want to order, the frame will disappear and will not reappear.

 

What is a secure shopping cart?  Does having your own domain affect this?  Does forwarding or masking affect it?

The term 'secure shopping cart  refers to the fact that all transmission of information is 128-bit encrypted and uses the secure sockets layer (SSL).  This is a special communications method that we start using as soon as the customer provides personally identifiable information. 

Secure Sockets Layer is a protocol for transmitting messages securely over the Internet. A layer of programming located between the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) layer and the Transport Control Protocol (TCP) layer allows SSL to function. Microsoft and Netscape both support SSL in their respective browsers and it is also supported by most Web server products as well.

SSL was developed by Netscape several years ago and gained the support of Microsoft and other Internet client/server developers. It quickly became the accepted standard for secure transmission of data over the Internet and is widely used today.

The term "sockets" is used to describe the method for transferring electronic data between a client program and a server program over a network or between program layers located on the same computer. The SSL protocol utilizes the public and private key encryption method developed by RSA, and includes a digital certificate.

SSL encryption makes it possible to transmit electronic data in a secure environment, and is virtually impossible for computer hackers to decode. TIAS uses VeriSign to ensure that customer's transaction with us cannot be intercepted or interrupted by any third party.

VeriSign's authentication procedures have withstood the most rigorous scrutiny from independent third-party auditors. In fact, VeriSign is the only Certificate Authority in the world to have passed an extensive independent SAS 70 audit by KPMG, the global accounting and consulting firm. (The Statement of Auditing Standard 70, SAS 70, was established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to certify trusted practices.)  

When your customer enters the secure shopping cart, they will immediately see the TIAS URL and be using the TIAS security certificates.   If you have a private domain name, that will be restored as soon as secure processing is terminated.

You can tell when something is encrypted on most browsers because the protocol is different (https as opposed to http) and most display a lock or similar icon. 

 

Is it possible to have my own SSL certificate and have my domain name visible on the secure shopping cart?

Anything is possible, but some things are a nuisance and expensive.  The certificates and their installation on TIAS will cost several thousand dollars per year.  No one has found this necessary yet and we don't advise that you become the first.  But if you're determined to do this, please contact support and tell them what you want to do.

 

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