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Domain management: What is it? Why should you care?
Brand Protection
6 mins

Domain management: What is it? Why should you care?

Table of Contents:

    Domain management strategy is a key element of protecting your brand in today’s digital world. A 2021 Global Business Survey revealed that a third of organizations suffered a cyber attack on their domains, underlining the critical importance of domain security.

    It’s not an exaggeration to say that your domain name is your business. Weak enterprise domain management can lead to all kinds of problems for your business, including cybersquatting, business impersonation, and loss of sales. In this article, we’ll discuss what domain management is and why it’s important.

    Summary:

    • Cybercriminals exploit weak domain security to degrade brand reputation
    • Domain protection reduces internal risks like domain registration expirations and external risks like cybersquatting
    • A strong brand protection strategy includes domain name management
    domain management software

    What is domain management?

    Domain name management is the process of securing a domain portfolio from external threats and making sure all domain names have current registrations. Domain owners need to be able to renew registration and access the hosting provider. They also need to access domain name servers, which connect websites to services like email providers and Google’s search performance and advertising tools. 

    Keep in mind that a domain is not the same as a website. Domain is the name of a website and therefore gives it identity. People can only find your website with a URL that contains the correct domain name. Think of the domain name registration as the key that allows customers to access a company’s website. Even the most extensive website can be taken offline if there’s a problem with the domain. 

    Some businesses may register a wide variety of domains to prevent competitors or bad actors from spoofing their domains. Correctly managing a portfolio of multiple domain names is important. If a domain expires, a reseller can buy it up and charge the business a high fee to buy it back. 

    Since domain names need to be renewed annually, domain name management isn’t always the most pressing issue on the minds of company leadership. However, it’s easy for a domain to lapse if a company bank card has changed or an IT person left and forgot to share the credentials for the domain registrar.

    Businesses can protect their domains from falling into the wrong hands by proactively renewing them. However, there’s another part to domain protection: monitoring the web for external threats. 

    What’s the difference between hosting and web domain management?

    Web hosting is where your website’s content is stored and made accessible to users. It involves aspects like server space, website uptime, and security measures. On the other hand, domain management is about your website’s domain name, which acts as your digital address. It includes tasks such as domain registration, renewal, and ensuring the domain name directs users to your website. While hosting ensures your website is operational and secure, domain management strategy secures and maintains your website’s identity and accessibility on the internet. Together, they are essential for a visible and effective online presence.

    Why is domain protection important? 

    Your domain name is the center of your web presence. Without proper domain protection, any successful business can be at risk for phishing and cybersquatting. Phishing websites may use a variation of your domain name to lure unsuspecting consumers into giving away their personal information. Bad actors can even spoof your email addresses to trick customers. 

    Cybersquatters will register domain names similar to yours in the hope of making a profit by selling them back to you. Or, counterfeit sellers can actually set up their own web stores based on variations of your domain name.

    To get ahead of the problem, you can register other general top-level domains (gTLDs) along with your main website and point those at your primary domain. For example, in addition to registering YourCompany.com, you can register the YourCompany.net, YourCompany.biz, and YourCompany.org domains. You can also register common misspellings or domains based on mispronunciations. Lastly, you should consider registering the regional domains (TDLs) too, like YourCompany.es, YourCompany.de, YourCompany.fr, etc.

    Even when taking this precaution, it may be impossible to preemptively purchase all domains that could be related to your business. The rise in cybersquatting, with a 10% increase to 5,516 new cases in 2022, underscores the risks of weak domain management​. That’s why a monitoring system is necessary. A domain monitoring tool can tell you when someone registers a spoofed domain. 

    For example, you’ll know if someone purchases YourCompany-Deals.com and you can then investigate and find out if they are simply holding the property, redirecting traffic to their site, or running a knockoff site. 

    What are the challenges in domain management?

    Managing your domain effectively is crucial for protecting your brand’s digital presence. In today’s landscape, domain management poses several challenges, and we need essential strategies to address these challenges effectively:

    1. Brand and Domain Protection: Proactive measures are key to preventing cybersquatting and impersonation. Strategies should include registering various domain extensions, similar-sounding domain names, and monitoring for unauthorized registrations that could harm the brand. This proactive domain registration strategy helps secure your brand’s digital identity and prevents competitors or bad actors from exploiting similar domain names.
    2. Legal Compliance and Privacy: Managing domain registrations that contain personal information is more important than ever with stringent data protection laws like GDPR. Domain privacy protection services provide an effective way to shield registrant information from the public, protecting user privacy and complying with global regulations.
    3. Cost Management: For organizations managing extensive domain portfolios, it is crucial to efficiently handle the costs associated with maintaining these assets. This includes managing registration and renewal fees and budgeting for potential legal costs involved in defending domain rights. Strategic domain management ensures financial efficiency while safeguarding valuable digital assets.
    4. Renewal and Registration Management: Ensuring that domains are renewed on time is critical. Automated renewal systems and maintaining updated contact information can prevent the costly mistake of losing domain ownership due to oversight or administrative changes.
    5. Domain Monitoring and Enforcement: Employing domain monitoring tools that alert organizations to potential infringements or unauthorized uses of similar domain names is essential. This allows businesses to act swiftly to protect their domain space, maintaining the integrity and trust associated with their brand.
    6. Integration with Brand Protection Strategy: Domain management should align seamlessly with the overall brand protection strategy. This alignment ensures that domain management supports and enhances brand integrity, preventing misuse that could damage customer relationships and overall brand trust.

    What is domain privacy protection?

    Domain privacy protection is a subset of domain protection. When you register a domain address, you are required to provide contact information for you or your organization like legal name, address, phone number, and email address. Registrant information is entered into a public Whois database, and savvy internet users can look it up. 

    Domain name privacy protection is an optional service that disguises business and personal information. When someone looks up your domain’s listing in the Whois directory, they’ll see a notification saying the information is protected by a privacy service. They won’t find contact details. It’s up to you if you want to add privacy protection to your domain name. It can provide extra security against spamming, data theft, and privacy threats.

    How to trademark a domain name

    Some domains can be trademarked, and some cannot. You don’t need a trademarked domain name to enforce your brand name and keep others from using related domains, but a trademarked domain name can help improve your enforcement efforts. 

    A trademark is a symbol or name that distinguishes a company from its competitors. For instance, generic domains like CheapShoes.com aren’t unique enough to be trademarks. Generally, if your brand name is trademarked, and you use your brand name as the domain name, you can trademark the domain name. Interestingly, Hotels.com lost a case to trademark its domain name because it was too generic. The increase in trademark disputes involving domain names, with 5,752 cases in 2023, reflects the growing intersection of trademarks and digital assets​.

    Here’s how to trademark a domain name in the United States: 

    1. Search the USPTO trademark database to make sure your trademark won’t conflict with existing marks
    2. File an application online with the USPTO. You don’t need a lawyer but it can be helpful to have one. 
    3. Wait for the response, which can take about four months. If the application is approved, the trademark registration will be counted from the original application date. 
    4. You will need to renew the trademark registration every ten years. 

    Why a strong brand protection strategy includes domain management services

    Today, a domain name is just as important as the business name itself. Your domain establishes your brand online, and you don’t want to lose your reputation or customers to bad actors who take advantage of it. As more businesses set up shop online, cybercriminals search for weak domain security to exploit. 

    Whether you have a trademarked domain name or not, any strong brand protection strategy should include enterprise domain management. A good strategy can help keep your domains online and running smoothly, and that means your customers will trust your website. The field of brand protection includes fighting counterfeits, unauthorized dealers, and piracy, and these efforts become easier when domains are secure. 

    At Red Points, we offer a wide range of services to help you keep your brand safe. Red Points’ Domain Management Software offers a comprehensive approach to safeguarding your brand’s digital presence. Their software is designed to detect and monitor domains that might exploit your brand. Key features include:

    1. Detection: The software discovers all registered domains infringing on your trademark, providing an up-to-date historical list and monitoring new registrations.
    2. Claim: It facilitates resolution processes to suspend, cancel, or recover domains. This includes sending requests, negotiating with domain owners, making transfer requests, and submitting complaints to relevant authorities.
    3. Management: Red Points’ software secures your domain portfolio from external threats, identifying gaps in your domain portfolio and aiding in managing, acquiring, and registering domains, considering territorial and administrative procedures.

    This solution is particularly recommended for medium to enterprise-sized companies at higher risk of domain impersonation scams. It leverages legal rights to detect infringing domains, often created to scam customers through slight variations or misspellings of your domain name. This proactive approach helps maintain the integrity of your brand and customer trust.

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