Many companies defensively register or acquire domain names as part of a domain name defense strategy. The most common strategy revolves around securing domain names that could be used by bad actors for cybersquatting, phishing, or other nefarious activity. Some companies take defensive domain registration further by securing domain names that could be used against the company in any negative manner.
Over the past few days, I noticed one company that has taken defensive domain name defense to a level I can’t recall seeing before. My DomainTools Registrant Monitor email identified many domain name registrations related to a brand called Vestis, and it looks like that business went on a massive defensive domain registration spree.
From what I can see, it looks like many of the domain names were registered under Whois privacy at GoDaddy in March and recently transferred to MarkMonitor, a brand protection-focused domain name registrar.
The first Vestis-related domain name I saw transfer to MarkMonitor was Vestis.com. This domain name appears to have been acquired via the aftermarket since it was created in 2003. Vestis.com forwards to AramarkUniform.com. On September 5, Aramark published a press release announcing the new brand name. “Aramark (NYSE: ARMK), a global leader in food, facilities management, and uniforms, today announced that Vestis™ will be the name of the new company to be created through the expected spin-off of its uniform services business,” the company shared.
In addition to its brand match .com domain name, the company secured some of the more standard types of defensive domain names, including:
- Vestis.support (and many other alt-TLD extensions)
Many of these types of domain names make sense for the brand to own because they could be used by a bad actor in a way that could confuse people. A name like VestisSucks.com would be one of the first coveted domain names by someone looking to express their frustration with the company.
In taking things to the next level and beyond what I’ve seen before, it looks like the company secured many more obscure domain names that could be owned to prevent third parties from using them to protest the company. Here’s a list of some of the more interesting domain names that were registered and recently transferred to MarkMonitor:
There are many more domain names in many extensions that are similar to these. For instance, I can see SayNoToVestis.com, .net, .CO, .org, and .US are registered. Of the defensively-registered domain names I checked, none of them resolve to a website.
From my experience, these types of protest or litigation related domain names tend to be secured in the face of lawsuits and litigation. I don’t remember seeing creative domain names like some of these registered by many companies.
A strong defensive domain name strategy is wise. Given the potential for an endless number of negative domain name combinations that someone could create, I wonder if the registration spree was a bit excessive. For instance, someone who hates Vestis could go out and register IHateVestis.com, which currently sits unregistered. Regardless, it is good to see a company understand the importance of domain names and how they can secure a huge swath of potentially dangerous domain names at a comparatively small cost.