There are certain moves you have to take to protect your brand. Most are second nature, such as copyrighting and identifying authorship of content, checking for plagiarism, monitoring reputation, social media engagement, etc. It’s all just par for the course, and we don’t blink an eye when attending to each one. Yet, so many people miss out on one of the most obvious (and easy) ways of protection from the very beginning.
I am speaking, of course, about domain variants. It might not seem like a big deal, but if your brand goes big, you will be sorry you didn’t secure other versions of your site name. For example, what if your company was called Baskets Galore, and you decided to open up an online store for your wicker creations? You launch it and it’s a huge success on the international market. Suddenly, you find yourself growing into a worldwide leader in basket selling.
Now that you have made it big, you find out that customers have been complaining about being ripped off. “Baskets Galore is a scam!” they say. It turns out that some of them have been putting in .net instead of .com, or are being redirected to another site through a link in Google. This website is not your store, but they are piggybacking on your success in order to defraud people looking for your brand.
It sounds like an extreme scenario, but it isn’t. This kind of thing happens all the time, especially for blogs that end up hitting the big time. Once their popularity grows, they find that people are buying up other domains with their name, then trying to recharge huge fees to get them back. Or using them for less than savoury purposes.
What Domains Should I Buy?
Despite this threat, I wouldn’t worry about snatching up every single domain with your brand in it. Most are not going to be used by unsuspecting customers, and can be left alone. But you should definitely purchase the more well known domains to eliminate the risk of a situation like the one above occurring.
You should buy the .com, .net and .org domains. You might also want to consider getting the insulting ones, like (brandname)sucks.com or ihate(brandname).net. Just to be on the safe side, though that can wait until your website has grown in popularity. If you are already running a big website or brand, buy those now. It is only a matter of time before a competitor or angry customer starts using it.
Tools and Resources
- Bust a Name: A very cool app that will let you generate and brainstorm lots of domains names; whether you are trying to understand how many domain versions to buy, or trying to snag some cool domains for your partner websites
- What to check before you register a domain name: Check this article to avoid a poor domain choice (there are some great tools inside!)
What About Cost?
Most domains don’t cost very much, and all you will need to do is set up a redirect on the pages to lead to the actual site. This will not cost very much, and the price is worth it. Especially as you are just looking at an annual fee for each, and so it’s a yearly (not monthly) cost. It will end up costing a lot less, in the end.
Do you have a story about failing to purchase a domain and having it bite you in the behind? Let us know in the comments.