How many domain names (known as web names or URL’s) have you currently got registered for your business?. The answers should be more than one even if you have only one business or one product.

When registering your main domain name for your business eg: yourbuiness.com.au click the other boxes that ask if you want to buy the variations of the name such as .com / .net / .net.au / .biz. If you in Australia you should be paying between $20-$40 (for 2 years) for .au domains and anywhere between $10 – $30 for .com and .net domains. Once you own all of these domains you can redirect them to your main site and ‘park’ them with your main domain names.

So why bother? for the extra $150 that you might pay for 3 or 4 more names, you have taken one more step to secure your online Intellectual Property. I am always recommending to clients that they purchase all variations of domain names that refer to their business or product. I recommend using .au domains as your main web name if you are an Australian based company with an Australian based customer base (they are prioritised in google.com.au / yahoo.com.au etc) . If you have international customers consider the .coms and .nets

Here are a few good reasons why you should own all of your URL’s:

  • competition – 103,915,943 currently registered domains in the world – how many are your competitors?
  • Search engine optimisation – your URL is a key SEO tool allowing your site to be found and indexed in search engines
  • changes to Australian domain laws – anyone will be able to onsell .au domains to the highest bidder under new laws that have just come into effect.

Here’s the story from the newsletter I got from our web hosting company Jumba.com.au :

.AU Domain name policy changes
The policy changes regarding the sale of .au domain names came into effect on 1st June 2008.

How does this affect me?

The policy changes effectively means that the ban on consumers purchasing .au domain names and selling them to the highest bidder has ended. Consequently the risk of competitors registering .au domain names associated with your online brand will increase significantly.

If you haven’t registered the com.au and net.au domain names for your business or product name, in the future you may have to bid for them from auction sites against other prospective purchasers.

I also read a good story on Flying solo about tips on naming your business. Have a look on the site as they also have some good pointers on understanding copyright and IP as well.

Here are some good resources for understanding and registering domain names:

www.mywebname.com.au – Australian domain name lookup service and an excellent list of top Australian hosts and domain name registers

www.domaintools.com – useful domain searching tools

www.whois.net – global domain lookup service – see who owns what

www.jumba.com.au – Australian based Internet service and domain name registration service

The next steps are thinking about product and people friendly web names – if you make and sell easy accounting software consider yourbusinessname.com.au and easyaccountingsoftware.com.au as well.