Defensively registering similar domains to yours is a good idea…but what should you do with them?

I saw an interesting article on CircleID earlier today about defensive domain registration that asked a question that I’ve heard many times before. Yes – I think in 2019 most people know that defensively registering similar domains to your primary domain is a good idea…but what the heck do you do with them, i.e. where should they forward? Or should they forward anywhere at all.

Here’s a nice nugget from the CircleID article that I think touches on some of the key things to consider:

When deciding where to point defensive registrations, there are generally three different approaches. The first is to try and direct users to their intended location. For typos and misspellings, this is typically straightforward. For other defensively registered domains, this may require working cooperatively with web marketing or digital marketing teams to determine exactly where domain names should resolve. This could include ensuring ccTLDs point to matching language sites, product names point to product pages, and executive names point to management team pages.

There is another school of thought, which is that redirecting defensive registrations could inadvertently teach website visitors to use the wrong domain names. In these cases, pointing domains to parked pages with a message asking whether the visitor meant to visit the company’s primary website is an option.

And for domains that have been previously used to perpetrate the sale of counterfeit goods, to commit fraud, or divert traffic to unauthorized content, pointing to a page that explains that the name has been recovered as part of the company’s brand protection program is yet a third option.(Source – CircleID)

I personally think that all defensive registrations should take the user to where they initially intended to go. If they typo your primary domain, I think they should end up at your primary domain, not a page that says, “is this where you wanted to go?” because that’s just an extra step.

At the end of the day, I think for most companies defensive registrations are more about getting the user to the right place faster vs. protecting against other people maliciously squatting on something similar to your brand but there’s certainly a bit of both.

I also think it depends a lot on what kind of company you’re running. If you’re a B2C company that has billboards and ads all over the place, registering typos of your domain will be a lot more important than if you’re an Enterprise B2B SaaS company that doesn’t advertise.

Another hot topic around defensive registrations is domain extensions – i.e. should you register your domain name in other extensions to further protect your brand, and if so, what extensions? Like I said above, I think once again this comes down to what kind of business you’re running – if you’re building a big consumer brand with broad reach you might want to register in a wide range of extensions.

Like most things in life, there really is no right or wrong answer, it depends on your business, your target market and a number of other factors. That being said, it’s a good thing to keep in mind when you’re first starting your business and acquiring your primary domain.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton