The Basics of Domain Names for Your Business
If you don’t have online presence, staying competitive is quite hard. For people who are not very web savvy, they may not know much about the ins and outs of creating a website. Choosing a domain name, what to do to maintain it and what happens upon the expiry of the domain name? These are some questions you should know the answer of.
1. Choose a registrar with good customer service.
As small businesses rarely have their own IT departments and would need assistance to get their site up and running, you should look for a domain registrar that has comprehensive customer service where they can help you with resolving daily problems that you may have. Registrars like eNom, Dotster and Godaddy have these services. For a small business website the domain name is the single most important thing and so they should always ensure that the domain name is owned by them and not by their marketing company.
2. Be aware of others’ trademark rights.
You should be very careful as to not to use a domain name that does not sue another business’ trademark. If a business registers a domain in the hope of profiteering from another brand’s goodwill, the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) actually provides for damages ranging from $1,000 to $100,000. You may also face trademark issues if a company’s name is too similar to yours. You can look up all this information at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website.
3. Consider an alternative
For business sites, a .com name extension is the best; whereas .org is commonly used by non-profit organizations and charities. The problem is that .com is getting very crowded and so business owners have to now add things like city or business type to find a name that is still available. Only a dozen or so domain name extensions are available now but in a few months, there will be extensions like .shop, .store and many others.
4. Keep your domain names up to date.
Many companies have multiple domain names all with different expiry dates. Business owners should have a calendar with all these dates marked so that renewal is done on time. There is usually a grace period between the due date for renewal and the domain being available to someone else. However, things like website content and e-mail could go down the day of expiry, meaning you will not have communication with your clients.
In the case that your domain has lapsed and someone else has taken it over, you can always try negotiating with them to get it back. in the case of a trademark where you can prove rights, you can always take it to the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP).