Your domain name or URL is what you type in your web browser to find your website (http://www.yourbusiness.com).
It could be intentional or just accidental, but if there are domain names that sound like they should be part of your brand and you don’t own them, there’s nothing to prevent someone from buying it. Once they own it, there is not very much you can do (at least cheaply)!
But it HAS happened to people that I know, and you can learn from their mistakes.
In my social media strategy for an very established brand that had a variety of products and services, I advised to buy the domain names of their products and services to protect their brand.
My client opted not to buy them.
A few months later, a mutual contact just “happened” to purchase a domain name of one of the products and directed it to his related product.
This was not an accident. There are people that are looking for domains to drive traffic to their own sites. If your business name is a way to do it, they will buy it. At that point, you *maybe* could try and ask them to sell it to you… but then they could charge any price they want to sell it back to you.
ANOTHER person owns one of the other domain names I said to buy. They have a legitimate business, and this domain name is a great choice. But the first business owner has been in business many more years, spending thousands of hours and dollars building up a brand that now directs to someone else.
Yet ANOTHER person is starting a business outside the U.S. and they found a domain name that is very, very close to a business that I know here in Maryland. The first company has a registered trademark, so they probably will win a lawsuit… but it may be an expensive process. It’s a lot cheaper to buy the similar domain from the start. (BONUS TIP: Don’t build your brand treading on someone else’s territory!)
Another Entrepreneur has been working extremely hard for many years to build up a recognizable brand. Yet a very common misspelling of the domain name is still available. See above − this will be a very costly oversight!
In addition, they could be losing a lot of website traffic. If someone just heard the name of the business, you would assume it was spelled the way that is not owned by this business. It could be purchased and then redirected to the website.
I used to work for Fatbrain.com (now another company). They bought www.fatbrian.com because a lot of people would type quickly and misspell it.
Domain names are less than $15/year. I also recommend adding privacy (about $12/year). That’s full price at GoDaddy, but RARELY do I pay full price.
My last purchase was $14.87. You can usually find coupons or get a discount for buying 5 at a time. You can also save by just buying the .com versions. If you really want to protect it, buy the .net and .org, but skip all the other variations.
TAKE ACTION: Learn more about how to register your domain names. Don’t let your online brand be hijacked by someone else! Better safe than sorry!!