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What Is Defensive Domain Name Registration?

Published November 1, 2010

With cybersquatters scooping up names related to brands left, right and centre; many companies engage in what's known as "defensive" domain name registration.

Large corporations may have huge portfolios of  defensive registrations that incorporate common misspellings of their company name, the names of products and abbreviations. Given the recent trend of countries relaxing regulations their domain name extensions, these defensive registrations may even include countries where the company has no business presence.

While this can be an expensive undertaking, corporations do this to protect their brands from cybersquatting and to avoid having to take costly and time-consuming legal action should another party infringe on their brand.

However, according to Elisa Cooper, Director of Product Marketing at MarkMonitor, with new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) expected to be available from 2011 and further expanding of the top level domain space as a result, companies are questioning whether or not they really need all of these registrations. Ms. Cooper also points out that many of these defensive domain name registrations don't direct visitors to any content.

For most Australian small businesses, defensive domain registration on such a scale usually isn't necessary. As the eligibility criteria in order to register a domain name is quite stringent, the likelihood of infringement is less, although not non-existent. Recourse for infringements in the name space is also a good deal more rapid. However, for Australian companies that have an international presence or reach, registering a domain with a country market extension where the business has a presence is advisable, as is also registering a .com domain name equivalent.

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