If you’re a business competing in today’s digital world, an online presence is essential to ensure that anyone who wants what you’re delivering can find you, and learn all about you and your offerings. Without a website, it’s like you don’t exist at all.

For an Australian business, your top priority might be to get a .com.au domain name, but that is only one of the considerations for your online brand. There are a number of other steps you would need to take to make sure your customers can find and reach you online.

With the complexity of the domain name space ever growing, there a some important issues that need to be dealt with to guarantee the people you want to reach can connect with you easily and reliably. Below is a list of the most important ones.

Register the top-level domains for each country in which you operate

Once you have your .com.au domain name, an important step is also register the domain names for other countries in which your business operates. For example, mycompany.com.au could be registered for the New Zealand top level domain (TLD) as mycompany.co.nz and for Japan as mycompany.jp. Some of these registrations require you to have a physical presence in the country of registration and, if you do, they are an important asset for your business. 

In addition to country TLDs, there are a variety of new ‘generic’ top level domains (gTLDs) with the list growing every day.  These gTLDs include industry specific names such as .aero and .archi, restricted for use by organisations in those industries, and others that are more lighthearted like .ninja and .monster.

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the global body that oversees the Internet, says over 1300 new gTLDs could become available in the next few years.

If this is not your area of expertise, keeping up with all these developments and figuring out which names may become useful or important in the future presents quite a challenge.

Trademarks do a lot to help protect your domain names 

Protecting your business names online presents its own challenges. Just having the business name won’t protect you from someone with a similar business name registering the domain as they too have a legitimate reason to use it. You need a trademark to give you the ultimate protection.

ICANN has a database of registered trademarks to prevent domain names being registered for trademarks belonging to others, particularly under all the new gTLDs that are available. The holders of registered trademarks are given the opportunity to purchase new domain names corresponding to their trademarks before they are released for general use.

For about 3 months after a new gTLD is released, people trying to register particular domain names will be informed if the trademark is registered with the clearinghouse, and if they continue to register it, the trademark owner is informed.

This does not give you certainty that you could prevent the use of the domain name by the new owner and negotiations with ICANN can be time-consuming and difficult. Expert assistance is often needed for a successful outcome.

The domain name market is flourishing

Often businesses turn to buying the domain name from the people that already have it registered. The market for on-selling domain names is flourishing, with some sites even auctioning names. Occasionally domain names change hands for exhorbitant amounts, for instance lasvegas.com sold in 2015 for $US90 million ($A127m).

Whilst well-known names have obvious value, an obscure name that matches your business or product might be easier to secure and be priced more reasonably.

When domain name registration is not your core business

It’s important to protect your brand online, and to do it effectively you would have to make it a top priority. When this is not your core business, it stands to reason that you don’t have the expertise in-house. Who is currently managing your domain names? Is it IT? Marketing? The receptionist? When do they need renewal? Did the registrant leave the business and you forget to update the details? What about trademark strategy… is it all in order?

If you don’t have the answers to these questions, the answer may be to outsource your domain name management to a specialist who provides this service as core business; and therefore knows the ins and outs of protecting your brand online.

Someone that specialises in domain management will have all the systems in place,  and the people qualified to utilise them. This enables efficient and reliable domain name management. A domain manager will do all the day-to-day care, ensuring registration details are always up to date, domains renew automatically and your brand is protected online.

Domain managers can also negotiate to buy domain names for you, avoiding the risk of having the price increased when a potential seller realises your interest.

To learn more about specialised domain management, talk to 5G Networks. We provide the full gamut of digital solutions, and our Australian-based account teams ensure your online presence is secured, protected and maintained.

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