Everyone knows that a company’s name or brand are important and must be protected. We even have laws in place to prevent the use of a company’s name or brand by a third party. In advertising it is generally not permitted for one company to use another company’s name or brand name.
Yet, online, one of the great oversights being made by companys and website owners is their failure to register the key domain name extensions combined with their company or brand name. Even Registered Trademark owners are guilty of the same ommission at times, missing a seemingly obvious opportunity to secure their trademark online.
Protect your brand online
Let’s say you own Example Ltd. And your website is using the domain name example.ie. Anyone is free to register a similar domain name with a different TLD or extension (other than .ie) So, for example someone could:
- register Example.eu and use it for their business
- register Example.com and hope to ‘poach’ some of your clients/customers
- register Example.org to use as a forum to criticise your business
- register Example.co.uk in the hope that they can then resell it to you when your business moves into the UK market.
There are many scenarios like this and, unfortunately, these things happen all of the time. By registering the common domain extensions while they are still available, you can avoid this happening.
Which TLDs to register?
The following domain extensions are the most important for brand protection:
Many commentators would recommend that if all of these extensions are not available for a chosen business name, then the owners should condsider changing the business name! You may also like to register .tv and .co if you have the budget.
Registering every possible extension isn’t realistic so just make sure you get the key extensions at the very least.
Next, country or region specific domains
After your top level domains have been registered you next need to look at the regional TLDs available to you.
These are important if your company trades in or plans to trade in another country. The requirements for each of these country domain extensions vary and in some cases you may need to set up a local entity or address in order to register the domain. Some other country specific domain name extensions are considered ‘open,‘ meaning you don’t need to have any affiliation with those countries to register their domains.
What to do with the unused domains?
Your ‘main’ or primary domain name will be used for your website. This is the domain name that you will publish on company stationary and which you will advertise. The other domain names can be used to redirect any visitors to them to your primary domain.
When a domain name is properly redirected it will simply send anyone who uses it to your web site on the domain you have chosen.
Domain name registration tip!
If you accept this advice, you may need to register a number of domain names. If you do, it is strongly recommended that you register and manage all of your domain names with one domain name registration company (registrar).
This will make managing and renewing your domain names a lot easier.