If you’re starting new business beware of cybersquatting
One of the best ways to introduce your business to new customers is to get a domain name and setup a website. But that’s not so easy when most website domain names have already been bought. You have to be smart about selecting a domain name and thinking about branding your company online. Cybsersquatting is now much worse than ever before. Are you ready to deal with it? We’ve got some free tips on how you can find a domain name in the age of cybersquatting.
Beware of Cybersquatting
Starting a business these days is hard enough. Thankfully, getting a website has become a bit easier and we have all kinds of software to make server installs and website development much faster than ever before. It’s not all good new though, if you have to deal with domain squatting. This goes by another name, “cybersquatting.” Some people see this as a way to invest, calling it “domain speculation.” To understand what this is you have to go back in time to the dot-com boom.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s the internet exploded with all kinds of websites. People had more home computers and internet connections than ever before. This meant businesses could reach more people by simply having an online presence. This also meant opportunity for “get-rich-quick” scams, which included ideas like buying domain names with no intent on using them. Random people would buy a bunch of random names in hopes that someone else would need them later. They usually paid between $0.99 and $24.00 per domain name (e.g., “something.com”) in hopes of selling it for $1,000-$1,000,000 to the next person. In fact, some people would just buy any name they could think of, sometimes just buying dictionary names – until they were all gone.
Although some of these people made money, most of them didn’t. The result today is about 33% of domain names are registered, but remain unused. ICANN and Domain Brief information can only give us suggested numbers. Storm Sector, LLC performed a registry search in 2018 and found even higher amounts of unused websites because we included pages with no content or single landing pages. The amount of unused domain names is much higher than reported. This makes it difficult for new businesses because they find nearly every name imaginable has already been taken. What do you do?
Storm Sector, LLC is used to dealing with new businesses that have the unique challenge of finding a catchy domain name – all-the-while most have been registered. Before you try to give up and register something out of desperation, contact us. Although things are more difficult, don’t give up hope. We can usually find our clients a domain name with a few industry techniques. It’s really important that you put thought into your domain name – this is your business.
You have to get creative with domain names these days. We have special software that can help find the right domain name for you. The good news is the future of websites may change to where we get away from just domain names – most of which have been bought and are no longer available to register. Newer network technology may change the way web browsers find websites. As of now, you must type in a domain name and then a domain server routes that into a numerical address (something you don’t see happening – your computer does it for you in the background).
In some cases, if you have a registered business or trade mark, cybersquatting is illegal. There have been lawsuits against cybersquatters. Legally, cybersquatting is seen as somewhat distinct from domain speculation. This is because laws have described cybersquatting as an intentional act of bad faith to basically get money from a company by buying something they know the company wants. A record number of cybersquatting cases occurred in 2017, according to WIPO. This means big trouble for new companies trying to find a place online.
For now, you just have to be creative. And we can help. We include domain name search assistance with our registration and hosting setup services. We will work with you to find you a catchy domain name that promotes your business. Contact us for more info or questions.
Some of the free tips we suggest:
- Shorter domains are better
- It should be easy to remember
- Must be easy to spell
- Consider prefixes and suffixes
- Don’t pay someone thousands for a domain name
- Use a reputable registrar
- Use a web development professional to ensure your domain is secure