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Defensive Domain Name Registration
June 26, 2018
OK, so what does "Defensive Domain Name Registration" mean. Well first let's start with some terms... Your domain name is the name people can type in their web browser to get to your website — like tunedinweb.com. That name actually consists of two names with a dot separating them. The name on the left is your domain name, the name on the right is called a "top-level" domain name, or TLD for short. Examples of these are ".com", ".net", ".info", ".org", ".gov", ".edu", etc.
Most of you have a ".com" TLD because that name was one of the first TLDs created when web pages started. But in the last few years many more TLDs have been opened up — ".solar", ".soccer", ".social", ".sucks", and many hundreds more.
With so many new TLDs, this can create a problem for a company. Let's say you are American Airlines, and you own the domain name "aa.com" and "americanairlines.com". But what if someone with an axe to grind against your company registers "americanairlines.sucks" and creates a website. You have no legal recourse since courts have ruled that your domain name is not copyright protected. Anyone can register any domain name, even though it's very similar to your domain name, and you will not be notified, and cannot stop them once they have done it.
So this brings us to the term "Defensive Domain Registration". It means registering all veriations of your domain name that may be used against you. If I have "tunedinweb.com" registered, I may also want to register "tunedinweb.sucks", "tunedinweb.porn", "tunedinweb.xxx", and any others that could be used to cast my business in a negative light. I can just sit on those domain names — do nothing with them to keep them away from any others, or I could link names like "tunedinweb.sucks" to my own website where I gather customer feedback.
By the way, it's not just these new TLDs that can be used to create negative domain names about your business. People could register "tunedinweb-sucks.com" too and accomplish the same goal.
So big companies with reputations to protect, may be very interested in doing this. But what about you? Personally I have not registered defensive domain names for tunedinweb.com. I just don't feel that there is much chance that large amounts of people will want to spend money to smear my reputation. You are probably in the same boat. And the people who are pushing Defensive Domain Registration are, you guessed it, the domain registration companies, who make money on every domain name that is registered.
Here is a link to a presentation created by Network Solutions, the domain registration company I use. You may not want to bother registering all the variations of your domain name, but I thought you should have the information to make an informed decision.