What happens when somebody hijacks your web address or domain name. Most of the time, it is actually your fault. If a domain expires and you do not renew it, the name goes to the open market for anyone to buy. You have read the story last year about somebody purchasing google.com. Just recently JeBBush.com expired and Donald trumps team bought it. There’s not much you can do about it if somebody buys your domain name. In fact, there is a whole industry of people that buy expired domains and sell back to the previous owners. Sometimes they will put up a new site of a competitor, or even worse, adult oriented content, to help drive up the price of you buying back your old domain.
We have spent a lot of time educating clients about the importance of building the brand. We’ve also spent a lot of time educating about the importance of protecting your brand. Usually, protecting your brand means monitoring and responding to negative reviews. One of the most important parts of your brand is actually your domain name. It is very easy to forget about your domain name. Usually, it is the responsibility of the web builder to obtain and maintain the domain name.
Number 1: make sure you have access to your domain name
You buy your domain name through a web registrar such as godaddy.com or entanglemedia.com. You should always know the name and password to this account. The account should be in your name or the company’s name. Do not let your web team or someone else buy the name in their account, because technically they own the rights to that domain name.
Number 2: don’t let it expire
This sounds like common sense but much easier than you think for it to happen. The most common issue is that you think it is on auto renew billing, but that option is not checked. The next issue is not updating your credit card after it expires. The easiest solution is to purchase several years at a time so that you reduce the odds of it expiring.
Number 3: Place a backorder on your own domain.
Most of the people that try to hijack a domain use a back order service to alert them when that domain is available. Once they get that alert they will act quickly to offer to purchase that the domain. You can also place a backorder on your own domain or domain that you would like to have.
Number 4: Buy a domain name for all of your Brands
We can’t say it enough about protecting your brand. Remember, your brand is your product name, your company name, your personal name, and your web address or domain name.
Number 5: What to do if your domain was taken
Hopefully you have other domains that are similar that you have already purchased. If not you need to buy a new domain that best represents your brand and move your site as soon as possible. Use your social media and blog outlets to alert your customers of the new domain name.
If it is a high profile situation like the jebbush.com, you will have to do the best you can to turn a negative story to promote your new website domain. This story has already become viral in favor of Donald Trump. You need to have your own story about the lost domain so that when people are searching for the story they read your version and you will have a vehicle to promote your new domain name.