Cybersquatting. Malware. Phishing. Not pleasant things to contemplate. Forgive us for insisting, however, they cannot be ignored. We have form on this. An associate once gently explained to our domain brand protection team that we were just too passionate about combatting domain abuse – so passionate, he said, that nobody would want to talk to us in the pub. So, with that stern warning, let’s leave ‘abuse’ and talk ‘avoidance’. Focussing on how to minimise your exposure.
Com Laude provides both of the complementary approaches to domain husbandry – like two sides of the same coin. First, there’s corporate domain name management. This secures ‘first party’ registrations, those that are (or should be) made by you. The other side of the coin is domain brand protection, as featured in this series. This addresses ‘third party’ registrations, typically made by bad actors. Getting both sides right protects your brands, a bit like burglar-proofing your house.
If there are gaps in your brickwork, or an open door, intruders may enter. It is the same with your domain portfolio, highlighted by an audit or gap analysis. It is essential to ensure that for each business area and each country of operation, you have the appropriate domains. Sensible blocking is always more cost-effective than disputing cybersquatters.
Portfolios aren’t static. Therefore, proactive registration policies for brand development are required. There’s no point publicly applying for a new trademark or promoting a new brand name if you haven’t secured the appropriate domains – that just gives cybersquatters a free-for-all. You wouldn’t build an insecure extension on to your existing property, would you? And then later, when the time comes to retire a brand, how you deal with domains is critical too. If not handled correctly, it’s another way in for squatters and thieves to benefit from your traffic and worse. This ‘first party’ protection is what Com Laude’s corporate domain management service is all about. Your brands, your domains, our expertise – a solid, reliable foundation.
Once all is secure at home, next comes the intruder alarm. This means using an effective watching service – like Com Laude Watch. We have seen throughout this series of articles that third-party domains can be registered at any time. Having advance notice of cybersquatting, phishing, malware distribution, homoglyph impersonation, traffic theft, or the myriad of other abuses allows remedial action to be taken, avoiding reputational and fiscal damage. Besides bad actors, you will want notice of more benign third parties deploying your brand – advertising agencies, employees, or foreign distributors, for example, who sometimes take your domains in their own name. Not a problem today, but tomorrow an employee may leave, or an agency/distribution contract may be terminated. Those third-party domains must be turned into first party registrations.
Finally, consider your enforcement policy. Unlike the real world, cyberspace has no police force. And this is where Com Laude’s domain brand protection team comes in, to help you recover your domain property.
And, if you get everything else right, you may never have to speak to us in the pub.
If you would like to know more about our domain watching service, contact us.
Uncover more real-life scenarios in our Com Laude Casebook series here.