The Cheapest Insurance
You Can Buy
As most of you know by now, I pretty much
make my living by creating brands and developing brand strategies for
start-ups and existing businesses. A good deal of the time, that means
not only figuring out how to make the public buy something, but figuring
out what to call whatever it is we want them to buy. So more often than
not, I create the brand names, too.
When it comes to online branding, that
means I've got to do some fancy footwork, creating strategically sound
names that are -- hopefully -- not being held for ransom by some pimply
sixteen year old high school kid with visions of extorting millions from
If you've ever tried it, it's not easy
coming up with an original name. But when you do, I heartily recommend
taking out an insurance policy to protect yourself from poachers, squatters,
competitors and -- you guessed it -- pimply sixteen year old high school
kids with visions of extorting millions from you.
Ready? Here's what I do when I register
a new domain:
1. Register all three extensions: .com.
.net. and .org
2. Register the plural and singular versions
3. Register the hyphenated versions (if it's a compound name)
Sounds pretty obvious so far, eh? Well,
here's one you may not have thought of:
4. Register both the "e" and
the "i" versions, if you've got 'em.
For example, if you're into selling gerbils
on the web, your organization might be called "e-gerbils.com."
But if e-gerbils becomes a hot category, you just know a competitor is
going to launch "i-gerbils.com" -- if you let him. Better to
play it safe and register both versions and nail him before he gets out
of the gate.
In case any of you are wondering, "Hey,
Rob, do you really expect us to believe you would make a client register
24 -- yes, that's what it works out to -- URL's for only one site?"
You bet your trademark infringement suit I do. In fact, I did just that
for a client last month. We registered 24 URL's pointing to the same home
page, which is about as close to nailing down all the doors and windows
as you can get.
And what did it cost? Oh, about $1,680
-- chicken feed when you realize that just one squatter could choke you
for $10,000 per domain if he had the mind to.
You want the cheapest insurance on the
planet? Internic sells it to you daily -- if you're smart enough to buy