Protecting Your Brand Through Domain Registration


Your brand is an asset to your organisation, it is the brand that differentiates one organisation from another for example the Nokia brand belongs to Nokia Corporation. It is therefore important to spent time investing in your brand and building it. It is the brand that provides a source of confidence, credibility and trust to the customers. As your brand is important offline so it is online. Many companies and individuals have lost large amounts of revenue due to their failure to protect their brands online.

Registering domains should be viewed as a first line of defense against brand abuse online. Online brand abuse causes substantial brand erosion, lost revenue, reduced marketing ROI, diminished customer trust, and tarnished reputation, therefore everyone have the greatest stake when it comes to protecting brands online. Implementing a comprehensive domain strategy and being vigilant about how your brands are represented online is paramount.

A domain is your internet/ web address which your customers type in the address bar of a web browser for example yourcompany.com. Because the name can be requested by any business, the name may be available for a short time only or may be already taken. It is therefore of significance to register a domain name that relates to your company name in the earliest time possible. Imagine if Nokia Corporation's domain was owned by someone else.

Your company's domain names enable customers to interact and transact with you online and, as a result, are a valuable corporate asset that needs protection against cyber crimes such as;

Cybersquatting

This is an act where one rides on your goodwill or trademark in bad faith by using your domain name for his profit.

Typosquatting/ URL hijacking

Internet users sometimes make typing errors when inputting a website address in the address bar in the browser like repeating a character or omitting a character. This error can lead one to a different website designed to capture users who commit such errors.

Phishing attacks

This is a method used by cyber criminals where they send emails pretending to be a credible company with the intention to get personal information or steal money. Phishers use email and channels such as social media, riding on the trust people have in a brand in order to obtain personal details like credit card numbers.

Brand hijacking

Is an activity whereby someone acquires or otherwise assumes the online identity of another entity for the purposes of acquiring that person's or business's brand equity.

How to protect your brand online

First register a domain which describes the name of your business as best as possible and register all the popular Top Level Domains (TLDs) for the brand and the country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) in the countries you operate. The Top Level Domains entails domains such as .com, .net, .biz, .org domains related to your business and forward/point them to your primary domain. Secondly you have to register domains that evolve around your brand or company. For example; Google have registered most of the domains evolving around their name. If you type in the Google address and omit a letter that domain may still fall under Google's ownership. Just try to type in http://www.gogle.com, or http://www.gooogle.com.

Implement proper management of your domain portfolio. Too many companies spread their domains across multiple registrars which give room for domainers and other scam artists to exploit the improper management. I have had numerous occasions where companies no longer know who registered their domain and who is managing it, and they end up registering domains unrelated to their products and losing the relevant domain. Do whatever you must to ensure your organization has a single view of your domains, enabling it to ensure early renewals and quickly assess both opportunities and threats related to the brand. And when you are developing a new brand you can as well register new domains for the particular brand well before launch time.

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