December 9, 2014
BHP Billiton is copping a bit of flak at the moment over its apparent failure to secure the .COM domain name for its new company.
The Financial Review reports the resources giant has been thwarted by cybersquatters who registered the .COM domain name for BHP's new South32 business - and then reportedly tried to charge BHP $10 million for it.
The .COM South32 name was first registered on the 3rd of April this year and is currently in the hands of a Californian company.
BHP don't seem too fussed about the situation, stating they have registered dozens of other names that will be used in connection with the enterprise. However, it's hard to deny the importance of a .COM name for such a project.
It's an unusual choice of names for a business and was chosen in recognition of the latitude where its major operations are based; South Africa and Australia.
And on that point; what about the .COM.AU version of the name? According to the WHOIS query; it's been registered by a law firm - whether that firm is acting on behalf of BHP isn't clear.
Whatever the situation, what this does highlight is the importance of considering the domain name equivalent of a business name you may come up with.
Australians should check to see if the .COM.AU version is available and register it as soon as possible. Even in the case of a business being purely Australian; it doesn't hurt to register the .COM version either given the level of awareness that .COM has.
It becomes particularly important to register a name quickly if others are aware of what you are intending calling your business. We've reported in the past on a scenario where a name was chosen by a group and then one of the group members registered the name without being authorised to do so - and held onto it.
While registering a .COM.AU requires eligibility criteria to be met in order to retain the name; messy, time-consuming and sometimes expensive cybersquatting challenges are best avoided by not letting them occur in the first place.
Carpe Diem (and the domain name).
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