If you’re going to focus all your energies and money on developing your online presence then there are some really simple things that you need to get right.
If you were to rent a small shop in the centre of any town or city you would have to pay “top dollar”, but if your main activity is centred around your website you don’t need to worry about that particular expense.
However you do need to make some small investment in your actual online brand, as it’s far too easy for someone else to grab it if you’re not careful.
I’m always amazed at how little attention companies pay to basic online brand protection and, speaking from personal experience, it’s an expensive lesson to learn after the fact!
When I first setup Blacknight I made a number of rather silly mistakes with our online branding. I didn’t check that all the domains were available to register – hindsight’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
Acquiring domains when they’ve already been registered by someone else can be awkward if not impossible. And even if it’s not awkward it can be expensive.
If you’re going to start from scratch then you need to check if the name you’ve chosen fits some basic criteria:

  • Is it short?
  • Is it memorable?
  • Can people spell it easily?

How many times have you heard an advert on the radio for some “cool” product or service and then not been able to find the company’s website?
It’s happened to me far too often. In some cases it’s because the company name is odd and forgettable.
In other cases it’s not clear how the domain name is spelt.
When it comes to registering the domain names a bit of common sense goes a long way. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper to register a couple of extra domain names NOW than get into litigation about them later.
How much does a legal letter cost?
How much does a WIPO dispute cost?
If you compare those costs against the costs of registering a couple of extra domain names it’s obvious which option to go for.
If you’re an EU company I’d strongly urge you to get the following extensions:
com,net,org,info,biz,eu and co.uk
If your company is based in Ireland, then getting the .ie domain won’t hurt!
Of course if you need to expand your brand into other markets in the EU then you probably need to get a few more extensions, but if you get the ones I mentioned now you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and MONEY !!

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