Defensive Domain Name Registration Print

As new generic top level domains (gTLDs) are added; those behind the latest registries may urge defensive domain name registration. So what is it - and should small businesses really care?

Defensive domain name registration is the practice of registering the name of your primary domain in different extensions and other variations.

For example, the registrant of example.com.au may decide to also register the.com version as well to prevent a competitor from doing so, or perhaps even exampel.com (known as a "typo" domain).

While this can be an expensive undertaking, corporations often do this to protect their brands from cybersquatting and to avoid having to take costly and time-consuming legal action should another party infringe on their brand - action that may or may not be successful.

Even a self-prepared submission under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) will cost a minimum of $1,500 for a single domain name; regardless of the outcome.

While large companies may register hundreds, sometimes thousands of names in an attempt to protect their brands, defensive domain registration can get a little overwhelming for small business; especially when those registrations start covering "typo" variations of their brand as well.

With so many extensions now available and more to come in the not too distant future; defensive registration can potentially become an expensive and time consuming exercise.

Regardless, should a small business snap up every extension it can to protect its brand?

Some believe most small businesses would be better served in investing money they might throw at dozens of defensive domain registrations in ensuring people can easily find them at their primary address. This includes shoring up search engine rankings on business name searches.

However, for non-US businesses, it makes sense to not only register their country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), but also the.com version as the.com extension will often have a high level of awareness among people in their own country.

If a company has a particularly strong interest base in specific countries, registering an equivalent extension may also be of benefit in those scenarios.

Businesses registering multiple names should also ensure that those names resolve to some sort of content; even if it's just a page providing a link to the main domain. Automatic redirects can also be used, but these should be implemented carefully so as to not trigger problems with search engines that may misinterpret the redirect as an attempt at gaming search engines in order to get better rankings.

The domain name registration process can be confusing to first time buyers. There are a number of terms to worry about. Hopefully, with the information below, you'll be able to successfully register domain names while avoiding the pain that can sometimes come from the domain registration process.

What the heck is a nameserver anyway? Nameservers refer to a service that runs on servers belonging to a web hosting company that hosts the account that the domain name will point to. Every domain name on the internet must point to an IP address but each IP address can have multiple domain names on it thanks to shared hosting. Entering the nameservers of the hosting company you have for the domain name you are registering lets the big DNS nameservers on the internet know where to find the hosting account for the domain name in question. Without this service, it would be impossible for any computer to find any web page. This is all usually done very quickly - in a fraction of a second.

Whois information is another thing to get knowledgeable about. Whois refers to the owner of the domain name. This information is provided by you when you register a domain name. This information in turn is offered to anyone who cares to search for it. For this reason, it is important to consider privacy issues when entering your information for a domain name. It is not advisable to falsify domain name information. At the same time, you may use the most generic information you can when entering your domain. If you have a work address and home address, use the work address. If you have a post office box number and a street address, include the post office box number only.

How many years should you consider registering your domain name? I would argue that it depends what you are going to use the domain for. If it is your business name and you intend to be in business for at least the next five years, I would register it for five years. That way, you don't have to worry about it for a long time. In fact, you can register domain names for up to ten years. If you register your domain for that long, you won't have to worry about it for a decade. Maintenance and stress free.

Make sure you lock your domain. After you've registered your domain name, log into the control panel for your domain name and confirm that it is locked. What does locking do for you? It prevents anyone from transferring your domain name to another registrar without your authorization. Most registrars require you to approve the transfer by clicking on a link but some registrars may simply allow the transfer if you don't expressly forbid it. Miss an email and you could lose your domain name. Don't take a chance. Lock your domain name right away.

 
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