There are ongoing domain name management issues to be considered. Each registration includes contact information for the registrant, billing, administration and technical matters. If there are multiple domain names and different employees or departments involved within a business, it can be difficult to coordinate the management process. In some cases, third parties such as an advertising agency may register a domain name relating to a promotional event. Therefore, it is prudent to develop a generic name and e-mail address as the standard contact information for all domain name registrations. This will avoid potential problems where employees named in a registration leave the company or their employment is terminated.
Similar considerations apply to access codes and account information with registrars. There should be centralized account management and standardized procedures across the enterprise, including all subsidiaries and divisions, to ensure domain names are obtained and maintained as part of a proactive strategy. The strategy should specify the extent of protection required in relevant gTLDs and ccTLDs.
The importance of developing generic contact information is illustrated in two situations. First, there will likely be numerous renewal dates for existing domain name registrations. If a renewal notice is not appropriately responded to, a registrar may de-activate the domain in which case it will no longer resolve to the designated IP address, resulting in blank pages or error messages when customers attempt to browse the site. Further, the de-activated domain name may become available for registration by a third party.
Second, the administrative contact for a domain name frequently has the authority to change any aspect of the domain name record, including the server to which the IP address points. If an individual employee listed as a domain administrative contact, leaves the company on unfavorable terms, the prospect for problems exists if the employee knows that they can control the domain names. t is helpful to have domain names consolidated into a single account with a specific registrar. Some registrars will allow customers to assign varying access levels to designated individuals.
Finally, it is prudent to choose a registrar which offers heightened security measures. These measures, including various "locking" and hardening features, can help address potential cyber-attacks as well as dealing with domain name issues.
It is also important to conduct searches periodically to ascertain whether other domain names have been registered which are potentially confusing with the domain names being managed. The searches should extend to online social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which can be used for cybersquatting or name squatting activities. Typically, this will involve utilizing tools to monitor third party use of brand components in domain names and as a part of web content. Since there is much ground to cover the focus should be narrowed to what is most important. The proactive management of domain names and their link with brand names can be an important element in combatting online fraud as cyber criminals frequently attempt to use similar domain names as part of their schemes. Similarly, the brand owner should carry out periodic audits of domain registrations to ensure the portfolio is up to date. If a brand owner engages in online marketing, electronic branding guidelines, including brand name usage guidelines, should be developed. In addition, the steps to ensure compliance should be implemented.
It is also prudent to develop strategies to register new names a brand owner may wish to use in the future or to prevent third parties from using them. In addition, for new product launches, mergers or name changes, domain names should be obtained in advance and masked to avoid premature release. These strategies should consider the availability of new TLDs.
Finally, a policy should be developed concerning the recovery of domain names inappropriately registered by third parties. Consideration should be given to what is to be done with recovered domain names and associated website content. In deciding what to do, the Internet traffic generated by the domain name will be an important consideration.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.