Brand Protection
4 mins

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

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

Domain management is a key element of protecting your brand in today’s digital world. It’s not an exaggeration to say that your domain name is your business. Weak 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

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 registration. 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, 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 domain. 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. 

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 it 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. 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 own site, or running a knockoff site. 

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. 

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

  1. Search the USPTO trademark database to make sure your trademark wouldn’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 

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 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 domain management. A good strategy can help keep your domains online and running smoothly, and that means your customers will trust in 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. Our domain management service detects and enforces all the registered domains infringing your trademark so that you can preserve your brand’s integrity at all times.

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