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Defensive Domain Name Registration - is it worth it?

July 18, 2012

As new generic top level domains (gTLDs) are added; those behind the latest registries may urge defensive domain name registration. So what is it - and should small businesses in Australia really care?

Defensive domain name registration is the practice of registering the name of your primary domain in different extensions and other variations. For example, the registrant of may decide to also register the .com version as well to prevent a competitor from doing so, or perhaps even (known as a "typo" domain).

While large companies may register hundreds, sometimes thousands of names to protect their brands, defensive domain registration can get a little out of hand for small business; especially when those registrations start covering "typo" variations of their brand as well. 

With so many extensions now available and more to come; defensive registration can become an expensive and time consuming exercise.

Regardless, should a small business snap up every extension it can to protect its brand?

Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, who specialises in Internet Law, Intellectual Property and Advertising Law doesn't think so.

Writing for Forbes, Professor Goldman says "marketers will tempt - or scare - small businesses into wasting their money on new domains".  He believes most small businesses would be better served in investing money they might throw at dozens of defensive domain registrations into ensuring people can easily find them at their primary address.

Professor Goldman says: "A small business's domain name portfolio should consist of one, or at most a handful, of domain names for each brand it uses."

In 2010, Elisa Cooper, Director of Product Marketing at MarkMonitor,  also pointed out many defensive domain name registrations don't direct visitors to any content.

However, for Australian businesses, it makes sense to not only register a, but also the .com version as the .com extension also has a high level of awareness among Australians. If an Australian company has a particularly strong interest base in specific countries, registering an equivalent extension may also be of benefit.

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