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How to Dominate the Internet: Book One: Protect Your Brand: Chapter 2 of 10: Domain Names

by WardBlawg on August 19, 2010

The second step I would suggest is creating at least one domain name, ideally a .com registration reflecting verbatim your brand name or a keyword-rich domain name. Do this through a reputable host of which there are many. Dreamhost and, within that, WordPress offer and operate a very simple but effective domain name registration and domain name management process. I have used this process a lot in the past. WardblawG started out with WordPress.com then migrated to WordPress.org for greater functionality. The dot org is to be preferred because of its much wider array of plugins.

Registering a .co.uk: Nominet and Third Parties

If your business trades in the UK, consider registering a .co.uk domain with Nominet. Surprisingly, I have found the Nominet procedure to be less user-friendly and more expensive than the indirect methods used under other sites, although it is the official registrar of .co.uk domains.

Registering a .co: cybersquatting

Another potential consideration, the .co domain, formerly exclusive to Colombia, was opened up not too long ago. It appears to me to be rather a waste of money to register with .co and it is unfortunate that so many businesses have, effectively, been coerced into doing so in case cybersquatters manage to steal their .co domain.

But even outwith .colombia, you should still beware of cybersquatters who stalk every corner of the web. Consider the financial crisis last year: when an HBOS and Lloyds merger seemed imminent, cybersquatters pounced onto their keyboards to register domains such as LloydsHBOS.com here, which currently exists as what is called a “parked” domain where a host advertises on the site for click revenue. When Merrill Lynch was in trouble, guess what was registered?: bankofamericamerrilllynch.com here. How inventive. Interestingly, that name is now owned by Bank of America. It is wondered if BoA paid through the nose for it.

Further obiter, any brand or domain beginning with the letter “i” costs fortune. It has to be wondered what KFC was doing trade marking “iTwist” other than to sell it back to Apple at a later point. And sticking a commercial advert on TV advertising its iTwist processed food with a person dancing about with headphones on further illustrates why the food should not have “i” or “information” anywhere in its title. Food that gives your brain information? Or processed food that will chop your life-span in half? Who knows.

PPS obiter, and this is perhaps the biggest but most useful tangent this evening: music has been known to improve your memory. Most of this theory came from people who listened to Mozart and thought they were smarter because of it. Apparently, it’s either because they were smart in the first place and had hypochondria, or, because listening to any type of music is beneficial. That’s for you to decide. Regardless, creativity plus logic synergise to produce genius.

Cybersquatter Disputes

So, a cybersquatter has, in its IP-troll role, hindered your business plans slightly or, perhaps, enormously. There are nevertheless at least three legal steps that can be taken to resolve the dispute with them:

First, you can take them to ICANN’s Uniform Dispute Resolution Procedure or “UDRP” as explained here;

Second, you can take them to court; or

Third, you could try to resolve your dispute extrajudicially to regain control of the domain name you deserve.

But all three of these methods will cost you, either in legal fees or in ransom money which the cybersquatter almost certainly will demand from you, if not refuse to communicate entirely. See the Bank of America Merrill Lynch domain name sale on ebay.

Cybersquatting on Twitter

Cybersquatting has now spread to Twitter. When you realise how Twitter urls work, it becomes a no-brainer why this has happened and indeed still is happening. Twitter operates its urls by http://twitter.com/[insert brand name here]. So, for instance, WardblawG is at http://twitter.com/WardblawG. Things start to go wrong when a user registers someone else’s name or brand name as their twitter username and, thus, as their Twitter Url. This has been covered in The Twitter Rules for which further reference should be made.

For further reading on the legal issues surrounding Twitter cybersquatting and indeed trade mark infringement with other social media sites, see tcattorney’s blog post at
http://tcattorney.typepad.com/domainnamedispute/2009/09/trademark-misuse-in-facebook-twitter-and-other-social-media-names.html

Company Names Adjudicator under the Companies Act 2006

The Company Names Adjudicator was established on 1 October 2008. That piece of information is in tiny writing at the top left of the mind map below. Follow the mindmap round for further information…

Company Names Adjudicator: A new way to protect your branD

Company Names Adjudicator: A new way to protect your branD

Domain Names and Trade Marks

If anything, it is much cheaper to register a domain than to register a trade mark, which is why the third step, that of trade marking your brand, should follow immediately after domain name registration, if not simultaneously. Which leads to Chapter 3…

WardBlawg

WardBlawg

Legal Blogger at WardBlawg
+Gavin Ward is the founder of WardBlawg, Director of YouBlawg Limited and Operations Director at Moore Legal Technology Limited, specialising in helping law firms, lawyers and businesses grow their businesses online and aiming to help get great legal content published and shared across the web. Gavin created this law blog or ‘blawg’ to aim to contribute useful updates, thoughts and advice to help law firms, businesses and the legal profession in the UK and across the world succeed both online and offline.
WardBlawg
WardBlawg
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  • http://absolvitor.com Iain Nisbet

    Interesting read, as usual. One small point though. It's very bad practice from an accessibility viewpoint to have your links reading simply "here".

    It contravenes the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and (arguably/possibly) the DDA.

    "Good link text should not be overly general; don't use "click here." Not only is this phrase device-dependent (it implies a pointing device) it says nothing about what is to be found if the link if followed. Instead of "click here", link text should indicate the nature of the link target, as in "more information about sea lions" …"

  • http://wardblawg.com Wardblawg

    Iain

    Thank you for your insightful comments. I look forward to reading more from absolvitor, which deserves a 2010 Blawggie itself.

    Three comments are to be made, before sending this to avizandum for your lordship's consideration:

    First, while disability discrimination laws and the w3 guidelines are to be welcomed together with the work done by Brodies associate Martin Sloan to champion this line of thinking, in every instance where the word "here" has been used it is immediately preceded by a description of the content of that which can be viewed by the click on "here"; if it were not so preceded then there is certainly a case for disability discrimination;

    Second, the word "here" is used with the link to distinguish the other "in-line" ads appearing on the site. To be honest, they are getting annoying already and will probably go in about a week; and

    Third, WardblawG's expert colleague of the IPKat, Professor Jeremy Phillips, at http://ipkat.com/ , uses the same technique consistently. His site is an inspiration to mine and, so, it is a big influence on my style.

    Certainly, it is good to know that there are others like yourself Iain who value website accessibility and I'm sure my site has much room for improvement. Further, I hope one day I can publish something about sea lions :)

    Thanks again

    Gavin

  • http://wardblawg.com Wardblawg

    That smilie has just destroyed what was otherwise a half-decent post :(

  • http://absolvitor.com Iain Nisbet

    The problem as I understand it is that for users with a visual impairment who are browsing using a screen reader (i.e. audio) one common way of "scanning" a page is to skip quickly through the links. On most browsers (even IE!) pressing the tab key will do something similar (albeit inaudibly). Doing so on a page like this one then simply gives a list of "here"s! Which is not so good.

    I think that adding descriptive mark-up to the links is another way of ensuring that the necessary information is embedded within the link, rather than adjacent to it!

    Offered in a spirit of helpfulness, not criticism.

  • http://absolvitor.com Iain Nisbet

    should read "descriptive <title> mark-up to the links"

    Pesky html!

  • http://wardblawg.com Wardblawg

    Iain

    Having considered that I am writing for a wider audience than most specialised blogs, and following your comments, I will change the way I link to material in the future.

    Thanks again for your helpful suggestion

    Best wishes

    Gavin

  • http://absolvitor.com Iain Nisbet

    Happy to help. Sorry to be so nitpicky, but it's a bit of a bug-bear of mine.

    • http://wardblawg.com Wardblawg

      No problem Iain, thanks again. How do the links look on my new post? Excluding the embedded Youtube video of Kate Winslet's Oscar acceptance speech, of course!

  • http://www.mcsporrans.com McS

    Some good information here. Getting the right domain name for your law practice is important, more important, perhaps, than high street presence nowadays.

    http://www.mcsporrans.com

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