Which domain names should I consider registering?
Do you have a strategy for deciding which domain names your company should have? Does that strategy complement your business goals and match your approach to trademark protection? What steps can you take to both maximize your profits and protect your intangible assets?
Today, domains are business-critical assets that form the foundation of your communication with customers, while at the same time protecting your trademarks online. As the number of digital crimes and copyright infringements grow, the question of how you can make sure that your name is protected online becomes even more crucial.
Remember that security is equally important, whether you are a small business or a large corporation.
A good start is to secure the domains that you currently own. Categorize and prioritize your domain names by asking yourself the question ”which are important to us?”. If the domains are spread out, you need to gather them together.
You should consider registering domains:
- in the geographic regions where your company currently has offices, distribution centers, license holders, or customers. For example, if your company has a lot of online customers in Germany, that’s a good reason to get hold of the top-level domains (TLDs) .eu and .de.
- in geographic regions that you might expand into in the future.
- in geographic regions where digital criminals, cybersquatters for example, are most active. These kinds of crimes are particularly common in China, Russia and Germany. Cybersquatting involves someone registering domain names speculatively, in the hope that they’ll be able to make a profit on them at a later date. Typosquatting also happens – that’s when someone registers a misspelling of your name or trademark.
Geographic TLDs that have a low registration price are especially vulnerable – these are often where the domain register does not provide a dispute resolution process. Without such a process, domain disputes are settled in court instead. In combination with loose registration processes, this can create a grey zone that makes it possible for someone to easily register your trademark as a domain.
In addition, you should also consider registering:
- all the most common TLDs – for example .com, .net, .org (in Sweden .nu is also popular)
- new TLDs, where relevant. Since 2013, over 1000 new generic TLDs have been launched. Think about registering the TLDs that are popular in your industry, in the countries, cities and regions where you operate. For example, if you are in the real estate business, it’s worth considering TLDs such as .apartments, .haus, .house, .property, .properties, .realtor, .realty, .reit, .rent and .rentals depending on your specific situation.
- generic TLDs or country code TLDs in scripts other than ASCII, for example Arabic, Chinese or Cyrillic. When you think about it, it isn’t a surprise that a large part of the Chinese population uses Chinese keyboards!
Which wordings should be registered?
Make sure that the domains you try to register comply with your company’s trademark policy. Use local experts to check your translations. There can also be advantages in registering common misspellings of your trademarks. In deciding which misspellings to register, work with the people responsible for search engine optimization in your organization. They should be able to provide a list of the words and phrases that your potential customers most often type into their browsers.
- If a trademark name is a singular noun, make sure that you register a version of it in plural form, and vice versa.
- If a trademark or brand includes two or more words, consider registering domains both with and without hyphens – at least under the most important TLDs – in order to maintain customer confidence and minimize the risk of infringement.