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Business Owners Beware – How to Protect Your Domain Name

By: Kevin Michael

MIAMI – Your domain name is more than just a web address for potential clients, vendors and employees to type into an Internet browser. It is also a very important aspect of your brand and is as much of a brand asset as your logo. That being said, it is very important that every organization take the necessary step to ensure their domain name is protected. Here is a cautionary tale.

Recently an attempt to resolve a client’s issue required us to sign into their domain registrar account. Suprisingly once we gained access to the account, we soon discovered that their company domain name was no longer under their control.

The short version to the reason why, was that their domain contact information was directed to an email account of a former employee that no longer existed and the domain name was not setup to be auto renewed. While they went along with business, their domain unknowingly expired and was quickly snapped up by one of their primary competitors (gasp) when it became available for purchase. Now this particular client is left to negotiate with their competitor to repurchase the domain name or fight for it on the grounds of trademark infringement.

This situation could’ve been avoided entirely if more attention was paid to the value of their domain. Here are a few ways to keep your domain in check:

1) Long Term Domain Registration

Registering your domain for 5 or more years into the future is not a bad idea if you’re willing to spend the extra cash now. Not only do search engines look favorably upon domains that have a long term registration, but it also takes that one extra thing to do off your checklist for the next 5 years.

2) Update Your Contact Information

Make maintaining accurate and up to date contact information for your domain’s registration a priority each year. Your domain registrar will send you a reminder notice once a year for you to update your contact information so please take advantage of the opportunity.

3) Use A Distribution List or a Special Contact Email Address

Instead of listing a specific individual’s email address as the contact for your domain registration, use a distribution list or create a special email address for this purpose. This will ensure that things don’t get missed and more than one person at your company has eyes on your domain name.

4) Set Your Domain to Auto Renew

Quite simple, but often overlooked. Configure your domain with the appropriate payment information and set it up for auto-renewal. This will take the hassle out of managing your domain name registration and you’ll have a better chance of noticing if the renewal gets missed.

5) Purchase Extra Domain Protection

Many domain registrars offer what is considered ‘domain protection’, which include additional safeguards to maintain your domain registration. This can include protecting your domain from unauthorized transfers or even placing your domain in purgatory for a longer period of time should it expire. If you are able to stay cautious and attentive to your domain, then the extra protection may not be needed. However, it may still be useful for the scatterbrains among us.

Kevin Michael

Kevin V. Michael serves as co-founder and Managing Partner of Invizio. Overseeing business development, strategic partnerships and client relations for the company this Antiguan-born entrepreneur and corporate alumnus of Motorola and Citigroup is one of South Florida’s brightest minds in the IT industry. Mr. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology & Software Engineering from the University of Miami College of Engineering with majors in Computer Science and Computer Information Systems and is a Microsoft Certified IT Professional.

His company, Invizio offers computer support for everyday technology issues, ongoing IT support, management and monitoring services as a vitual IT department. No matter the size or scope of the technology need. Invizio will serve as a trusted advisor.

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