by Stuart Fuller (CentralNic)
Most companies have a portfolio of domain names but surprisingly few actually have a strategy on how to manage them. This often exposes organizations to brand damage, cybersquatting and misrepresentation online. This short article outlines the key things to take into account when managing a domain portfolio.
What is a domain name strategy?
Domain names form a crucial part of any company’s online go-to-market and brand protection strategy. A domain name strategy outlines types of names that should be registered and identifies gaps in the current portfolio as well as names that are no longer required.
Create a domain name strategy
A domain name policy needs to encompass the opportunities and threats that the organization faces online. The strategy should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure it reflects corporate strategy and go-tomarket requirements. The strategy should be written in such a way as to ensure that all stakeholders understand which domain names should comprise the portfolio and identify who has the responsibility for approving and registering domain names within the organization.
Evaluate your domain name portfolio against your strategy
Businesses register many domain names to protect their brands and to increase revenue by driving traffic to their websites. At least once a year, businesses should review their portfolio against their domain name optimization strategy. Companies should use a classification system for all names. For example:
Identifying the gaps in a portfolio
A final element in creating a domain name strategy is to define how to deal with domain names that an organization should own but doesn’t. Undertaking a global availability check segmented by industry verticals and geography in which the organization operates will help determine gaps in registration. Use of a common classification system helps with classification. For example:
On-going management and optimization
In order to maintain an optimized and easy-to-manage portfolio, companies should consider adopting the following guiding principles:
Until fairly recently, most companies considered their domain portfolio to be worth what they pay to maintain it. More recently however, organizations are considering the strategic value of a domain name based upon a ‘domain down’ scenario. This is where the domain fails to resolve to the correct website through either accidental or deliberate criminal action. Typically, domain down scenarios are calculated in terms of reputational damage to the brand or, in the case of retail websites, lost revenue. The Internet is going through its biggest change to the naming system since domain names were first released over thirty years ago. This has involved the introduction of over 1,000 new domain endings. Therefore, the need to have a clear policy for the management of a company's domain name portfolio has never been more important.