Defensive Domain Registration

Does anyone seriously believe that registering yourbrandsucks.com is a winning move? I have no argument with registering a brand domain across multiple countries and extensions as a trademark play, but the old defensive tactic of the mid-90s, when PR people and lawyers went nuts trying to nail down mercury, is still with us today.

The first thing an interactive marketer should do upon arrival at an organization is find out who owns the list of registered domains. Find that list, and take a red pencil and start crossing off the ones you won’t be renewing. Sure, it’s short money to own yourbrandreallysucks.org but how about yourbrandreallysucks.net, .gov., .tv …. I’ve seen lists with several hundred names on it. Domain costs and management can begin to add up.

This reminds me of the dirty word filter lists we used to install in online forums so the community couldn’t develop a case of potty mouth: the list was actually incredibly creative and inspirational and has enriched my toilet tongue immensely. My favorite variation on domain names involve animals and suggested acts that are illegal in many states.
Yet still some people think locking down the obvious terms is a winning proposition. I tell them to follow old King Canute down to the seashore and start yelling at the tide not to come in.

Now a more interesting discussion is what to do if a hate site does pop up? How do you defuse it? Ignore it? Or … encourage it?

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Defensive Domain Registration”

  1. There was an anti-Mary Kay cosmetic company blog set up on wordpress that made the top site list for a while. I followed a few posts on it for a while. One of the things I noted, were posts covering scanned images of internal MK memorandums out to the sales directors providing them guidelines for dealing with these kinds of sites, and what to advise their consultant teams (sales force) about talking about, interacting with, or posting responses to any of these hate blogs.

    I sure don’t know what the right answer is, but a company is potentially at risk for anything it puts, even internally in ink (electronic or otherwise) that relates to the sites. If it gets in the hands of these sites, it’s even more fuel for their posts and cause.

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