Many companies defensively purchase typos and alternative extensions to prevent others from owning them. Defensive domain name registrations aren’t simply for brand protection though. They can also be done to ensure a company prevents another similar company from entering a newly created industry or niche using the type of product as the company’s brand or website.
I spent a couple of hours at the New York International Gift Fair today, and among the hundreds of exhibitors, I saw a company that had a new type of product. This unique gift item may or not be a hit, but it certainly is a one of a kind product that can and will be knocked off by others. The .com of the product type is currently sitting unregistered, available for anyone to register for under $10.
While this product is not similar to door knockers, I will use door knockers as an example. A few years ago, I saw a guy selling unique metal door knockers at the show. I forgot what they guy’s company was called, but when I was looking it up a few months ago for a friend, I was curious to find out who owned DoorKnockers.com. You probably guessed it… the guy who I saw at the show owns it. Smart guy.
Now back to this new product. I left the show intrigued about the product, but we weren’t convinced to buy it (for my parents’ business). We stopped by dozens of booths, so they are all blending together right now. I Googled it, but the problem is the guy took a very common utilitarian product (hundreds of thousands of Google results), and he made it completely unique. Because of this, I can’t find his company when searching for the term.
I get that many companies want to have a unique brand rather than a generic industry term for the company name, but even if he simply registered this product .com name, he could at least prevent others from knocking his product off and owning the space online.
The takeaway here is that if you develop your own special type of product and the .com is available, register it. Even if you don’t want to set up a website, at least you can forward that to your brand’s website and prevent someone else from buying it.