Is your brand safe?
Getting a good domain that is a real word or combination of real words is almost impossible these days. Now, for someone like me that has a new product idea every week or so, this poses a problem. Sometimes I get “stuck” when I can’t either name a creation or get a good domain to put it on.
I’m done with picking real words.
I am one of those people that *refuse* to pay more than 7 bucks to GoDaddy to get a domain. I won’t do it. Paying for a domain that someone else squatted on it simply against my DNA.
Now I have no problem with domain farmers…that’s what I call them. These people take a domain, build it to have some valuable content, and then sell it. The squatters are the ones that do nothing, create nothing, they scarf up someones (trademark) in some cases and hope to play leech until they get blood (yes this happened to me). He lost.
Sometimes, paying a squatter good coin is just unavoidable, however, many companies have simply avoided this trap by making up words.
Look to the future.
What is the equivalent of domain squatting now? Where is the wide open frontier? Here are some things on the horizon.
Username SEO: What happens if you create a username of wwwgooglecom? or RecruitingSoftware? Try it.
URL shorteners: most of us have seen http://tinyur.com and http://tr.im. Both of these services are used widely in services like twitter, where cutting down a long URL can be important. Both of these services now offer vanity URL’s. For example try these:
http://tinyurl.com/shally (I secured this one for a friend…and let him know about it)
Yes, I made sure I got these before someone else did. I used each of these in a twitter post where cutting the URL to a reasonable size was important. Am I saying that tr.im is the next big thing? No. I am simply making a point.
Think about it. What is the value of having the username BarackObama on facebook?
What is your brand or trademark? Do you have the tinyURL, tr.im, facebook, etc for at least the important ones?
Spend 1 hour and secure them. Don Ramer and his company Arbita does a great job in reversing the “brand highjacking” that happens when a company’s job postings start showing up first on aggregator sites like Indeed. For the large corporations that are unhappy when a google search with “Jobs” + “your company” does not yield search results to your company… you need to call Don or George LaRocque, head of sales.
This is the large scale stuff… What about smaller stuff like a product name or trademark?
Perhaps there is an entirely new business model here to protect clients important product names. For a fee:
-Secure the major trademark names & product names for all the major social media sites
-Wrap them up and turn them over to the user via a single-sign on interface
-Facilitate cross posting across all sites (in many cases, you must keep accounts active to keep them)
This may exist already, but probably not in the form I am thinking here. There was a company called NameProtect. From what I remember, they are reactionary to protecting a brand or trademark once a violation has occurred. I’m talking more about a proactive approach to registering your brand under every major site, forum, etc. This would be too hard for anyone to do themselves. Ahh the wonders of automation.
Among my 12,000 readers… I can hear the vendors running to http://tr.im
Hopefully they are really running now. Take this to the next level. Shut eyes and think (after you read this senario):
1. Someone correctly secures a tr.im vanity URL and correctly assigns it to salesforce.com. So http://tr.im/salesforce points to http://www.salesforce.com
2. He starts using twitter and does real tweets about salesforce, using the tr.im/salesforce URL
3. Others using twitter start using that URL to shorten their messages
4. Remember, someone controls that URL, not salesforce. After that shortened link gets very popular, the one who controls it, changes it to point to netsuite.com (a salesforce competitor)
5. Brand highjacked!
Is your brand safe?