Protect Your Domain Name and Reputation

Protect Your Domain Name and Reputation

Cybersquatting, or registering a domain name in bad faith (usually a variation or mis-spelling of your domain name) an cause untold damage to a company and is a major problem on the Internet, where registering a domain is a quick and automated process. Legal recourse is costly and time-consuming and not always effective. Cybersquatting can occur in various guises:

1. Competitors - Any potential customer of yours getting your domain name wrong ends up as a customer of theirs!

2. Unhappy customers and (ex-) employees - All their complaints about you get posted, whether they are justified or not.

3. Opportunists - They set up pages that redirect you, or affiliate pages, often linked to pornography, in order to make money or to spread viruses. Other opportunists may try and sell these similar domains back to you at vastly inflated prices.


Registering multiple domain names can be expensive but many registrars allow a discount when buying 10 domain names or more. When you have these registered, ensure they all point to your existing website.

1. Register as many TLD (top level domain) variations as possible e.g. .com, .net. etc...

2. Register mis-spellings of your domain name

3. If your domain is hyphenated, register the non-hyphenated version too.

3. If your domain could be plural or singular, register both versions.


UK domains are bought for two year periods whereas other TLDs can be registered for varying numbers of years. If you have multiple domains, all likely to expire at different times, it is easy to forget one, only to find it has been registered by a cybersquatter.


1. Ensure that the company you bought your domain names through has your most current e-mail address, so they can contact you.

2. Register your domains for as long a period as possible to minimise the chances of unwanted expiry. A welcome side effect of this is that Google may rank you higher than if you registered your domain for a shorter period of time.

3. Use a facility such as to check when your domains expire, and make a diary note or setup an automated reminder.


1. Always ensure that your domain names are registered in your name if you use a third party to make the registrations on your behalf.

2. Use an e-mail address for registration purposes that is separate from your domain name, and is not a free address likely to expire e.g. hotmail or yahoo. If your e-mail address expires, someone else can register it and then take over your domain registration.

3. If you receive correspondence asking you to confirm, transfer or renew your domain, for whatever reason, check it with your registrar first. Many scammers have 'hijacked' domain names this way, preying on people's trust.

About the Author

Emma Kalson is the owner of and has been designing websites for about 10 years. She doesn't believe in unnecessary bells and whistles on websites and wants to help remove some of the myths surrounding website design and search engine activity.