Why Domain Names Are Not Created Equal

Registry and Registrar Locks are key weapons that organisations can use in the fight against cybercrime.  They provide a level of insurance for brand holders against malicious attempts to redirect web traffic, harming revenues and reputations in the process.  For businesses that have developed a significant ecommerce presence, the redirection of a domain name to a third-party website will immediately impact revenues every second, whilst media outlets will be all too quick to publish stories of the incident for high profile organisations.

Domain locking can prevent this damage.  However, not all TLD operators support locking at the registry server level so it is important for any organisation to understand what domain names could and should be locked.  Likewise, not every domain name owned by an organisation has the same value to the business.  As part of Com Laude’s Client-Shaped Solutions, our Domain Strategists are able to identify the mission critical domain names within a portfolio and whether they can be protected under digital lock and key.

As part of our ten-point domain name audit, Com Laude will work with organisations to help them understand how their portfolio is structured, where the gaps are, how the domains are currently being used and assessing the Return on Investment to the business.  This approach ensures that organisations have a healthy portfolio that balances risk and reward of the digital landscape and is at the centre of the Domain Right-Sizing Promise that we offer to every client.

The starting point for many clients is to understand how their domains are being used.  Not all domain names are utilised in the same way.  Some may be supporting critical internal applications such as email or VPNs, others may be being used for marketing campaigns across the globe or to support new product launches.  Naturally, there will be those that are the “headliners”, those that are used for search ranking, ecommerce or regulatory reasons and then the “deadliners”, domains that have been accumulated over the years that may hold some value or are simply registered to prevent any third parties from owning them and potentially causing damage to the intellectual property of the organisation.

Following this approach enables an organisation, with the help of the Com Laude Domain Strategists, to categorise domain names into five bands, namely:

  • Band 1 – Key domain names that support critical infrastructure, generate revenue or enhance reputation that should never lapse and have the highest level of available protection
  • Band 2 – Important active domain names that protect the intellectual property of the organisation, are instantly recognisable or could be valuable to a third party which should be renewed for as long as the registry supports
  • Band 3 – Defensive domain names that may simply forward to active websites or not resolve but represent valuable intellectual property which should be reviewed and renewed on an annual basis
  • Band 4 – Domain names that have been identified for deletion which should be monitored for 90 days in terms of DNS traffic, keyword search volume and potential secondary market value
  • Band 5 – Domain names recently registered that will be categorised over the next twelve months

This approach will help identify the Keywords, TLDs and ultimately, domain names where registry locking is available.  Unfortunately, registries are not obliged to offer the solution which means that whilst many of the most popular TLDs can support the technology including .Com, .Net, .UK and .FR, many of the smaller ccTLDs do not.  As standard, Com Laude provide registrar locking in all domain names which does prevent accidental or malicious changes, transfer requests and deletion commands.

Defining the critical domains and implementing the right, available levels of protection on them is only part of the Com Laude Business Continuity Audit.  Additional analysis will include the use and management of SSLs, a review of the existing DNS infrastructure, potential online risks to the core brands and trademarks and the provision of Rights Protection Mechanisms.

The objective of Com Laude’s client-shaped domain management approach is not to implement registry locking on all available domains, but to ensure that only the mission critical names, where available, have the ultimate protection and that the portfolio is reviewed and aligned on a regular basis to reflect the changing nature of the digital landscape.

To learn more about our ten-point audit, please contact us.