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Sannah Westerlund — 01/10/19

Happy New 2020!

Time flies when you are having fun, and soon it is once again time to ring in the new year. This time it is not only a new year, it is a new decade being welcomed into a century characterised by digitalisation.

With regards to domains, it is about time to start considering how the new year, and the new decade, should start off.

Never before has it been so easy to find answers to your questions than it is right now. With all the alternatives and options before us, it has never been as important as it is now to build a strong brand and stand out from the crowd. Here, domain names become important pieces on the board.

For domain names, the first 20 years of the 21st century have brought major changes, first and foremost with regards to how companies have come to consider domain names as critical business assets. Domain names and legal brand protection have merged, and today some domain names can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars on the second-hand market. On one hand, they are tools for creating value in the company, and on the other hand they play an important role in protecting the company from brand dilution and other unwanted financial consequences that faulty domain management can cause.

Below, we have collected some advice from our domain name experts, for you to get acquainted with in preparation for the new year. Follow this advice, and you can ring in the new year with a healthy conscience, knowing that you have a strong digital name protection that contributes to maximising your brand value!

 

  1. The trend of protecting misspellings is back – if it ever even left

In late August, IDG reported that the number of fake domains is increasing, and that “most of the larger Swedish companies can expect their domain to have a dishonest twin under another top-level domain”. The evil twins can be used for, to give an example, email fraud, accessing sensitive information from customers or employees, cutting traffic to the website, or be used for speculative purposes (that is, being registered with the purpose of making money off the targeted company when they opt to buy out the domain name).

When domains were relatively new, many companies chose to secure their name as well as common misspelled versions. The number of top domains back then was not as high as it is today, which caused us, who were then in this line of business, to perceive that more companies took precautions, securing not only the exact names but also tactically protecting misspelled versions and coherent tenors.

What later happened was that the number of top-level domains grew, and because of this a lot of misspelled domains had to be scratched in favour of more domains under new top-level domains – all with the purpose of cost-efficiently maximising the domain holdings. The right thing to do in some cases, but less strategic in others.

Now, with the increased statistics regarding digital infringement and threats, misspelled domain names are in the spotlight again – they are an important part of the protection of the brand and business, as well as for ensuring that the web traffic actually ends up on the right site.

All of us want to be successful in our work to maximise our portfolio value and to digitally ensure a strategic name protection. To achieve this, we need a clear strategy for what should and should not be registered, and here simple “typos” should not be ignored.

Do you wonder what domain names your company should register? Be sure to read our blog post where we provide tips and advice on this here.

 

  1. More domain names on the second-hand market reach the “end user”

Some years ago, the second-hand market was dominated by Chinese investors who bought attractive .com domains. In the domain business, there is talk about roughly 60% of the .com domains being registered for speculative purposes – that is, to sell them for profit.

Now, we see that more and more domains that are sold on the second-hand market end up with end users – users who has a long-reaching ownership perspective and who are unlikely to sell the domain. Because each domain name is unique, there is only one version of a domain, this could be a “big deal” if the .com domain you want is unavailable. The right domain name is a key piece of the puzzle in building your brand and reaching the target group.

Is there a .com domain you are pining for? Now could be the time to act.

 

  1. Secure domain management has never been more important

With the arrival of the digitalisation era, it has become more important for companies to take strategic decisions regarding how, when, and where their brands are cared for.

On top of this, considering how much of the business-critical infrastructure that is based on domain names (websites, email, portals, etc.), it is more important than ever before to secure the management and the strategy to maximise the portfolio value as well as ensuring that management is cost efficient.

Think about it. How much would it cost your company if your website and email were down for 60 minutes?

Despite the major risks, we see that domain names unfortunately are being neglected. But the good news is that we also see that more and more companies realise the importance of securing their domain management, not only where it is the cheapest, but also where it gains the most value.

If you want to learn more about the pitfalls in domain management and how you can avoid them, you are more than welcome to contact us or read the following blog post, in which we share some best practices.

As the person responsible for your company’s domains, you should strive for entering the new decade with a secure and value-creating domain management!

 

  1. Consider the voice experience when choosing a domain name

It is predicted that voice control will gain more and more ground, something which also affects domain names. It is especially important to keep this in mind when choosing a domain name.

At Dotkeeper, we usually talk about the “radio test”, which means that domain names should be easy to pronounce and easy to spell. This is already an important key in making customers easily understand and find your web address. And, it is highly probable that the importance of this will increase with voice control.

While on the topic of voice control, there is also talk about “vocal names”; names that help steer voice control to the right place. The question is what effect it will have?

 

  1. Monitoring and blocking services are becoming a more integrated part of cost-efficient domain strategies

With an increase in infringements, the importance of monitoring is increasing as well, because it is not financially viable to preventively register all possible domains. Most companies in most business fields today have need for some type of monitoring, and there are several cost-efficient tools that are adaptable depending on the specific needs and the problem picture the company is facing.

Domain monitoring that catches domain registrations is a good tool to catch potential threats early on, because it is usually newly registered domains that are used for these disadvantaging purposes. Therefore, we strongly recommend adding some sort of domain monitoring to your domain strategy.

A blocking service can be a cost-efficient method of protecting your brand in case the domains does not need to be used. An example of such a service is AdultBlock, which helps brand owners protect their brand from adult-related top-level domains, i.e. .porn or .sex, for a lower price than the actual cost of registering these domains.

Finally, while we are on the topic of cost-efficient addons that could be relevant to add to your domain portfolio, Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) should be mentioned. TMCH was launched when new top-level domains entered the market and gives registered brands priority for protecting their names when new top-level domains are released. Some mean that the value of this service has run its course as most of the new top-level domains have been launched. In contrast, what we see is that the value of being registered with TMCH rather is increasing: new top-level domains and services are launched (e.g. AdultBlock) and so TMCH keeps providing benefits for brands in the register.

 

Is your company well equipped for the new decade?

We are happy to help you evaluate this. Get in touch with us and we will find the time for a call or a coffee so that we can talk more!

Happy new 2020!