Domain names are certainly an integral part of a company’s identity online but it seems there are many different views of what constitutes a good policy for handling domains. In this post I briefly touch on some ideas that we have pushed at PINT over the years as well as reveal a few interesting observations from customers.
- Cover all TLD Extensions. Many people hold that it is a good idea to hold as many top-level domain extensions of your organization as possible. Say for example, you are Foo Inc. you obviously want to own foo.com. Let’s assume you were lucky enough to get that 3-letter domain in the early days or made someone rich today. Now the question begs should you get foo.net, foo.org, foo.biz, etc. For: cheap to register
Against: what’s the point, little value and hurtSuggestion: Go ahead and do it if you have the money
- Register country specific domains. Now if your organization does substantial business in other countries hopefully you have your domain name registered in each country that you do business in. Thus the multinational Foo Inc might have foo.com.au for Australia and foo.co.jp for Japan and so on. Each country will have different requirements for domains and varying costs. In some cases you will not be allowed to register in the country unless you have certain legal documents or local offices. In other cases the country won’t care as long as you pay your money. It is pretty likely that if you are reading this and haven’t done this and have a nice .COM domain it is registered in many of the major countries already. For: Local presence implied
Against: Difficulty in registration effort, occasionally cost, squatters likely there
- Register alternates names and approaches. If you are Foo Inc. maybe foo.com ought to have another form like fooinc.com. You might find that if you use an acronym for your name the spelled out version is a good idea to register. Just points these back to your canonical domain and everything should work out fine. For: May help domain guessing typers, search engine value
Against: Brand dilution if you have many forms, need to control mentions and have official domain and alias domains strictly enforced
- Register product names. If Foo Inc. had a great product called Wonder Gadget then wondergadget.com ought to get the user where they think. Consider that iPhone.com, iPod.com, iMac.com all get you were you would expect (and Apple just paid a hefty 7-figures to get iPhone.com). For: May help domain guessing typers, may help segment traffic, search engine value
Against: Brand dilution, issue of how many products you would need to cover which could lead to high costs
- Register “sucks” and negative names. If Foo Inc. had a great product called Wonder Gadget that some people dislike or maybe people just dislike them it would not be wise to let the “haters” register domains like wondergadgetsucks.com or foosucks.com. You need to be quick to get these types of domains. In some cases the organization gets the domain they want googlesucks.com is owned by Google but others are not like applesucks.com. For: Control likely bad PR domains
Against: Are you big enough to matter? If you are doing something bad, controlling the domain name won’t help – how about talking to the people who are upset?
- Address typos with registration and DNS changes. If your name is hard to spell maybe having multiple typos registered is a good idea. Consider xerox.com also has zerox.com. A number of biotechs we have advised have really saved themselves much pain with this concept. In Foo Inc’s case they also may want to have registered wwwfoo.com the domain there addresses the missing-the-period typo. Beyond this you can do free DNS changes like omitting the www’s, two ww’s and four wwww’s for the ultimate degree of safety.
It isn’t expensive to employ all of these domain practices. You can register domains quite cheaply these days and of course we here at PINT can do it for you if you don’t want to bother. Of course if you start setting up tons of domains you’ll find that management can grow quite onerous and you can accidentally lose a domain or forget to re-register it. To address these we note that we already have a number of clients who employ domain management systems and charge individuals to manage their domain names as a primary job duty. If you are a growing organization do keep this growth issue in mind before you register every idea that you dream up.