Having created our whitespace analysis (see part 2 of this series) and gained an understanding of what domain names are missing from the domain name portfolio (covered in the first part of this series), it is now time to create the strategy for rightsizing and start to deliver the value back to the business.
It should be noted that rightsizing is a two-way street. Whilst it is important to create a domain registration and acquisition strategy, it is equally important to understand which names hold no value for the organisation and are simply a cost burden. Before any firms press delete on any domain names it is important to carry out a number of checks to ensure they aren’t creating much bigger issues than a renewal fee down the line. For instance, if the domain name is aligned to a trademark, who owns similar domain names (same keywords, different TLDs) or are there any inbound links to the page from third parties – all key questions to answer.
Registration strategies take three forms. The first is where the domain names identified in the whitespace or matrix analysis are available to register. Your Com Laude Domain Strategist will be able to advise on what the individual requirements are and the necessary documentation required, if any, to register the domain names. They can also ensure that any rogue domain names owned by the organisation but held with other registrars are safely migrated into the main portfolio.
The second set of registrations are those that are legitimately owned by third parties. These are domain names that may not be actively used, or that are being used in non-infringing ways by other entities. Domain name acquisitions require a blend of industry experience, commercial negotiation and often a level of anonymity. The price of a domain name will often rise significantly if the registrant knows who the true interested party is and so there is a defined process used by our team of experts to ensure that we can acquire the domain at the best price. The first part of this process is the feasibility study, which will outline the potential chances of success of the endeavour before we embark on the negotiation and ultimately, the domain acquisition.
The final strand of the domain registration strategy relates to those domain names that are a risk to the organisation or are being actively used to damage intellectual property, including revenues and reputation. There are a number of options available to brand holders in acquiring infringing domain names and the Com Laude team of enforcement experts will be able to advise on the most cost-effective way to undertake any third-party action. This ranges from robust communication with registrants to using established mechanisms such as UDRP to obtain the domain names. We have an unrivalled breadth of experience and expertise in domain name disputes, and we are ideally positioned to bring about effective and prudent online enforcement, in a timely and economic way. This approach is at the heart of our Expert Service Promise to all of our clients.
The expansion of the domain name world through the new gTLD programme brought some headaches to organisations who were concerned about protecting their valuable intellectual property across hundreds of new TLDs. Thankfully, the introduction of Rights Protection Mechanisms has simplified the approach and provided a number of cost-effective measures that should also be included as tools to right-size a domain name portfolio. For instance, the Domains Protected Marks List (DPML) solution from Donuts allows a blocking mechanism for verified trademarks across hundreds of gTLDs, giving organisations peace of mind that no third party can register any domain names in those TLDs using the businesses’ trademarked terms.
Finally, the use of a domain monitoring solution ensures that all potential third-party names are identified. Com Laude Watch is a highly flexible solution designed to provide our clients with the actionable intelligence to mitigate the risks caused by third party, infringing domain names, and features a range of configurations designed to meet a variety of needs that change with the digital landscape. The platform scans the domain name space daily, sampling over 280 million names, and prioritises the findings based on tailored algorithms presenting the results in a secure, intuitive collaborative case management system.
The combination of these proactive measures enables organisations of all sizes to create that right-sized domain portfolio not only today but also with a firm eye on the future. One feature of the ever-growing digital landscape is that the nature of threats to brands is constantly evolving and so domain rightsizing must be an ongoing process, with regular reviews of the value of each and every domain name to the organisation.
For more information, speak to our domain strategists who will gladly discuss our approach to rightsizing and your own specific digital objectives.