In Part 1 of our article on domain names we highlighted the importance of showing foresight with the development of your domain name strategy. In our follow up article we focus on providing you the information you need to register and manage your domain names effectively.
The biggest misconception when it comes to domain names is that registering a business name in your State of Australia automatically means that another organisation cannot register this business name as a domain name. This is simply not true.
The first thing you need to know is that registering a business name in your State only prevents another business from a similar industry from that same State registering the same name. Another similar company can register that same name in another State of Australia. This is best explained in an example. A business called ‘Joe’s Cleaning’ could be registered by different businesses in both Victoria and New South Wales, however, the business name ‘Joe’s Cleaning’ could not be registered by different companies in the same State.
Similarly, another business can register a .com.au domain name even though it may have been registered as a business name by another entity. This principle is even more important when it comes to .com domain names as anyone in the world can register a .com domain name without any restraint.
The examples presented above highlight that prevention is a much better than cure when it comes to domain name registration. You should protect and secure all the variations of domain names in the major spaces of .com.au and .com if they are still available for registration.
Can you own domain names?
Businesses and individuals cannot own a domain name. Domain names are registered for a nominated licence period which is required to be renewed by the domain name holder to retain rights to the domain name licence. This means if you do not renew your domain name the rights for the domain names can be registered by another party.
Don’t lose your domain names
It is important to keep your domain name contact information up to date to avoid the risk of your domain name licence expiring and the name being lost to another party. In the .com.au namespace a licence holder is provided 14 days after the expiration date of a domain name prior to the name being released to the open market. If you do not renew your .com.au domain name by the expiration date all Internet services such as your email or website will be de-activated until the name is renewed.
Given the high employee turnover rate in the corporate environment and the frequency with which e-mail addresses change, we suggest that your business list two different contact individuals under your domain name licence so that two people are receiving revewal notifications to minimise the risk of losing the domain name. It is critical to keep a secure record of the domain name owned by your company and its due expiry date.
If there are any particular domain names that you would like to register that are unavailable, you are able to place a free monitor on the name so that in the instance that the current registrant forgets to renew the name, you have the opportunity to secure it. This is a very common practice as the value of certain domain names only continue to increase given the growth of the Internet in the worldwide market.
If you would like to purchase an existing domain name from another party please be aware that the rules and processes for change of domain name ownership will vary per namespace. In Part 3 of our article on domain names we will provide a guide on how to choose the most valuable domain names that can help your business stand out from the crowd.