Registering the domain of your choice is a great start. Next, you should think about registering the same name with other top-level domains (TLDs). For example, in addition to the .com, register the .biz, .net, and .org versions, your home country’s TLD, and perhaps a few others for minimal costs. This strategy is called defensive domain registration. It is used by the smartest, most successful brands in the world.
The Benefits of Defensive Domain Registration
- It brings in hits even when people get the TLD wrong. Someone might misremember yourgreatbizname.com as yourgreatbizname.net or vice versa. In the best case, they’ll get an error page. However, an increasing number of Internet service providers will redirect them to a search page that shows competitors’ listings. In the worst case, they’ll reach someone else’s site.
- Domain squatters will pick up domains that you’ve missed and try to sell them to you. You can sue instead of buying, but they’ll pick a price point that makes it cheaper to give in. Getting the domain back can be a tedious process either way. Breitbart had that problem when it failed to register breitbart.fr promptly. The squatter apparently just doesn’t want Breitbart to have the domain and doesn’t want to sell.
- Parody sites can spring up on lookalike domains. In the United States, parodies enjoy strong legal protection under the First Amendment, as long as they can’t easily be confused with the original. Trying to force them to give up the domain will just give them more publicity. Chick-Fil-A learned that when it tried to sue a parody site with a similar domain name.
- Fraudulent domains are another risk. The law is on your side in this case, but finding the perpetrator won’t be easy, and taking legal action is even harder. The people who set up counterfeit domains to cheat people usually operate out of countries where it’s hard to catch them.
- Putting different content on different domains may be useful later. In the beginning, all the domains you register can point to the same website. If you spin off a nonprofit, putting its content on a matching .org domain helps to show the connection. Having your business name on multiple TLDs gives you flexibility.
The bottom line? You can avoid all the above potentially negative scenarios with a relatively small, proactive investment into defensive domain registration. It doesn’t cost much to add a few extra domains, and you can manage them all together in one account. FYNE lets you register in over 80 top-level domains.