Defensive Domain Name Registration

October 1, 2012 by  Filed under: SEO 

As new generic top level domains (gTLDs) are added; those behind the latest registries may urge defensive domain name registration. So what is it – and should small businesses really care?

Defensive domain name registration is the practice of registering the name of your primary domain in different extensions and other variations.

For example, the registrant of may decide to also register version as well to prevent a competitor from doing so, or perhaps even (known as a “typo” domain).

While this can be an expensive undertaking, corporations often do this to protect their brands from cybersquatting and to avoid having to take costly and time-consuming legal action should another party infringe on their brand – action that may or may not be successful.

Even a self-prepared submission under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) will cost a minimum of $1,500 for a single domain name; regardless of the outcome.

While large companies may register hundreds, sometimes thousands of names in an attempt to protect their brands, defensive domain registration can get a little overwhelming for small business; especially when those registrations start covering “typo” variations of their brand as well.

With so many extensions now available and more to come in the not too distant future; defensive registration can potentially become an expensive and time consuming exercise.

Regardless, should a small business snap up every extension it can to protect its brand?

Some believe most small businesses would be better served in investing money they might throw at dozens of defensive domain registrations in ensuring people can easily find them at their primary address. This includes shoring up search engine rankings on business name searches.

However, for non-US businesses, it makes sense to not only register their country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), but also version as extension will often have a high level of awareness among people in their own country.

If a company has a particularly strong interest base in specific countries, registering an equivalent extension may also be of benefit in those scenarios.

Businesses registering multiple names should also ensure that those names resolve to some sort of content; even if it’s just a page providing a link to the main domain. Automatic redirects can also be used, but these should be implemented carefully so as to not trigger problems with search engines that may misinterpret the redirect as an attempt at gaming search engines in order to get better rankings.

Michael Bloch is a consultant for Domain Registration Services; an Australian domain name registrar that has been providing registration and web hosting services to Australians and the world since 1998.

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