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10 ways to keep your corporate domain names safe

Apr 27, 2021, 16:40 PM

Tomas Mcloughlin is a Domain Consultant and Account Manager at Safenames, based in the UK. He advises his global client base on brand protection and cyber security best practices.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is now over 30 years young. Despite this, many in the tech world don’t have a full understanding of the domain space and the significance it carries in the ever-evolving, complex digital landscape.

Amidst managing Trademarks, Patents, Copyrights and all other important areas of IP, domain names can be easily overlooked by brand owners.

However, domain name and DNS strategy are a fundamental, core component of your web presence and sets a benchmark for your online brand. Failure to build this cornerstone can lead you on a journey to brand vulnerability, damaged reputation and loss of revenue.

Contrary to popular belief – a belief largely clouded by the sheer abundance of emerging threats online - cybersquatting in the domain space remains as rife as ever. For the period January to October 2020, WIPO handled a record number of Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) cases, up 11% on the previous year.

Such a threat points to the principle reason why an entity develops a domain portfolio in the first place – to protect their brand. Just how broad this portfolio should will depend on several factors (which markets you’re in, the nature of your business, size of your organisation, number of brands you own etc).

One thing is for sure – nobody wants to be tomorrow’s bad news. Defensive registrations can be a key tool to prevent this. Whether small or large, a start-up or multi-national conglomerate, owning a single Trademark or multiple brands, an efficient domain name strategy is imperative.

Here, I highlight 10 Pillars of proactive domain management:

  1. Reflect your IP – Trademarks with non-generic terms are a target for domain squatters, therefore these should be mirrored in the domain space.
  2. Be one step ahead - Register any relevant domains ahead of new campaigns, services or products. Brand exposure will not only reach your target audience, but bad actors too.
  3. Know your enemy - Certain TLDs are more prone to abuse than others. There are also territories notorious for IP theft and with less protective dispute policies. Consider securing these – whether you operate there or not.
  4. Consider Brand Monitoring – Married to the proactive approach, regular monitoring of your non-generic brands helps keep on top of new-born registrations that come to light - which may have potential to grow into a threat.
  5. Enforce – Providing you have the necessary rights, the legal enforcement route can communicate a “Zero Tolerance” message to cybersquatters, helping mitigate future infringement.
  6. Move with the times - Perform regular ownership and performance audits. Reduce costs by removing dormant, “legacy” domain names, providing they’re not tied to any of your active Trademarks or products.
  7. Carry out a Cost-Benefit analysis - Securing everything under the sun is neither necessary nor cost-effective. The price of registering a domain extension should be weighed up against the potential ROI – or the potential cost if it falls in to the wrong hands. Bear in mind that defensively registering a suitable domain for a two to three figure sum may be the advisable option compared with a four-figure UDRP bill.
  8. Bolster security – As the world moves to a more digital environment and threat increases within the cyber space, the requirement of securing your “Business Critical” assets has become paramount. 2FA, domain Registry Locks, IP restrictions, Advanced DNS and DDoS mitigation are all useful weapons which help to mitigate risk.
  9. Keep informed – The domain space is constantly expanding. New TLDs are regularly launched, some with various benefits, such as improved SEO ratings. Whilst dotCOM remains “King”, ensure that you’re kept up to date on relevant products.
  10. Consult - Whichever registrar you opt for, make sure you choose a provider capable of supporting your extensions and equipped with the knowledge to help you implement your strategy.

It can be difficult knowing what to register, when to register it and how much attention and investment is required.

As a domain consultant, my job is to guide my clients in developing and maintaining a healthy domain portfolio, helping incorporate a cost-efficient brand protection strategy - tailored for them.

If you’re interested in finding out more, please feel free to reach out to me at Whichever provider you choose, keep your names safe.

As a corporate registrar, Safenames work closely with our clients as an extension of their teams and have been doing so for over 20 years. A personal, client-centric approach to domain management is at the heart of what we do and we take great joy in building relationships with our customers, whilst watching their digital platforms flourish.

Tomas Mcloughlin
Domain Consultant

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