An observation I have made is that some new gTLD registries and some domain registrars promote various domain extensions to companies encouraging them to use these alternative domain names as companion websites. In my opinion, having multiple websites for one company can be confusing and potentially dangerous to consumers.
I read Alan Dunn’s well written article about Nissan and their attempt to get the Nissan.com domain name. It’s a very interesting read when you have a few moments. One thing that struck me was when Alan wrote about Nissan’s domain name strategy:
“In fact, on Page 26 of the opening brief, it reads:
“Nissan Motor’s Internet Strategy Manager, Merril Davis, puts it in a firm-wide memorandum distributed in 1999, ‘our current proliferation of regional websites and URL’s creates confusion for customers and fragments [the] Nissan and Infiniti brands.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Furthermore the corporate website for the Nissan Motor Corporation is located at Nissan-Global.com, which doesn’t show up on the first page of Google when you search for Nissan. The company even owns NissanGlobal.com (without the hyphen) and doesn’t forward the name to Nissan-Global.com. Obviously, Goliath has some issues in understanding how domain names work.
Nissan Motor Co. also operates ChooseNissan.com, NissanFinance.com, NissanNews.com, NissanOnetoOneRewards.com and likely others.”
I don’t know about you, but this section reminded me of registrars selling the new gTLD domain names to companies that already have a web presence. I still don’t know why major companies would want to go through the trouble of setting up alternative websites when their customers, clients, users, or other website visitors can easily find them already.
Without a doubt, I think brand protection is important. Major companies should absolutely own domain names in other extensions that could be used by nefarious actors to trick consumers. I think it would be best for these alternative domain names to be forwarded to the company’s website. However, I think it would be unwise to create confusion by using many different extensions when their main website will suffice.
Not only do I think it is confusing for a company to use various domain names for different activities that are associated with the company, but it could also lure consumers into a false sense of security. This could be dangerous for these companies and consumers that patronize them.
I recently wrote about an Enom phishing email that used Enom.ws as its domain name. If Enom had previously used a variety of non-.com domain names for various activities, a customer may have assumed they were using the .ws website for their verifications. I likely would have noticed, but other consumers, who could be accustomed to visiting alternative extensions, may have thought this alternative domain name was legitimate.
I am still not much of a new gTLD domain name investor, but I do see why some companies would want to use them. However, I think it can be confusing when a company uses a variety of new domain name extensions when they already have a strong presence.
As always, I welcome your thoughts!