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.
CYBERSQUATTING - The Solution
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. .co.uk etc...
2. Register mis-spellings of your domain name
3. If your domain is hyphenated, register the non-hyphenated version
3. If your domain could be plural or singular, register both versions.
DOMAIN EXPIRY- The Problem
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.
DOMAIN EXPIRY- The Solution
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 allwhois.com to check when your domains
expire, and make a diary note or setup an automated reminder.
AVOIDING OTHER PROBLEMS
1. Always ensure that your domain names are registered in your
name if you use a third party to make the registrations on your
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 http://www.littlefishwebdesign.com
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.