How To Protect Your Brand

With the emergence of more than 300 top level domains, or web address endings, onto the Internet, it’s never been more important to protect your brand.
The release of a new generation of web address endings has been hailed as a revolution for the Internet. Not least because they offer a brighter future for branding. Everyone from Coke to Chanel have plans to use the new TLDs in their forthcoming marketing campaigns.
However, there are a few ground rules, you could do to employ to protect your brand, from the beginning. After all, new web address endings like .gripe, .fail, or .wtf have been released and could be used as a platform for bad press for any business. While ICANN has rules in place to protect companies, in order to keep domains in compliance, a company has to be proactive. Think defense!
Many top websites are purchasing blanket orders of 200 or more domains called Domains Protected Marks lists. This serves as an attempt to curb those looking to profit off another brand by purchasing all available domains that could link to a certain business. This is a great idea in theory, but with a price tag of $3,000, not all companies can afford the investment. That’s quite a bit of money for a threat that may not actually exist. Instead of this awfully expensive option we would recommend alternative actions that you can take without the expense. These include…
Watch or search TLD registrations
By keeping a close eye on WhoIs, you can watch who is registering domains that are similar or somehow tied to your brand. If questionable sites are found, look for a ‘go live’ date and closely monitor the content posted. By doing this, companies can be proactive in the fight against domain name abuse. At the first sign of abusive behavior put a UDRP plan into action. The quicker a reaction is sent, the fewer eyes will actually view the offensive posts.
Know the rules
TheUDRP (Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy) is an ICANN approved set of rules for domain registration. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers closely monitors the terms and conditions in connection with domain names registered. The applicable disputes are as follows, in compliance with the Rules of Procedure…
1. Domain names cannot be identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights
2. Domains cannot be registered to persons who have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name.
3. Domains cannot be registered and be used in bad faith.
If you as a business owner and complainant can prove these three things a UDRP complaint should be filed. The domain holder will then be instructed to prepare a response to your complaints, beginning the process to returning your brand to order. It is wise to also become familiar with the Evidence of Registration and Use in Bad Faith guidelines in Paragraph 4 (a) (iii). The more you know about domain abuse, the easier it will be to have the offenses removed.
Make a game plan
A company that becomes familiar with ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy can save themselves hundreds of man hours, thousands of dollars, and irreparable damage to brand reputation. Create a game plan or plan of attack in the event that a threat is detected through a registered domain. By acting on the threat quickly you can avoid any potential scam, cybersquatting, and phishing all together. In the case of a particular few websites that you are certain pose a threat to your trademark, a company can always register and hold onto the particular domains to prevent any attack.
For more information about registering domains visit the Midphase website.