11 February 2020
3 people sitting on wooden chairs at table working on laptops

Today’s blog post discusses brand protection and your .au domain name. We look at the importance of protecting your brand, common strategies for businesses and individuals to follow internally and additional measures that can be taken to ensure your brand and domain name remain safe. 

Why do I need to protect my brand?

Your online brand (including your domain name) is your digital identity, and with nearly everyone beginning their search for products and services online, it is critical that your identity is clear and protected. Whether your business is large or small, it is increasingly important to have strategies in place to ensure your brand is managed effectively, as explained in this article by Hubspot.

There are essentially three strategies to follow to protect your brand name online.  

First, before you even begin your business, you should research your preferred name to see if it is already registered by someone else. This way you can proactively register your desired name (and common variations/misspellings) in relevant zones (like the generic .com and .info zones) as well as the com.au zone. While this may seem like a waste of money (to pay for names you won’t use) it is much cheaper than stopping someone else from using your name later.

Second, you must constantly monitor the entire internet (social media, news feeds, etc) for potential misuse of your name.  For example, let’s say you have set up and registered a business and domain name for your cake business: ‘colourfulcakes.com.au’. Your business is successful and people are frequently searching for you online. However, when you search for yourself, you learn that someone else has registered the domain name ‘colourful-cakes.com.au’ and is capitalising on consumer confusion to attract those prospects to their website, instead of yours.

Third, you need legal assistance (from a domain-savvy firm) to correct situations such as the above. There are clear procedures for disputing potential illegitimate uses of domain names available on the .au Domain Administration website, but you may also choose to let a lawyer handle disputes. There is also the auDRP, which works to protect the .au namespace against unlawful disputes. For more information on this visit the auDA website.

What services are available through .au registrars?

While there are global brand registrars who specialise in brand protection services for .au domain names, such as CSC Global and MarkMonitor, there are many other registrars who successfully manage .au brands for local businesses, including DDNS, VentraIP and Crazy Domains to name a few. Along with these registrars, the team at Afilias Australia suggests it may be worth your while investing some time and resources into brand protection.

Have a question or some feedback? Get in touch today at blog@afilias.com.au