Domain Monitoring is an automated service that periodically scans domains registered in over 1000 domain extensions for mentions of your brand keywords to detect brand and trademark infringements. This helps businesses guard themselves against online threats, cyber-squatting and fraud and forms the basis of your brand protection strategy.
Brand Protection online is a significant challenge and a high priority objective for growing businesses and corporations alike. As the corporate domain management provider of choice to hundreds of top Canadian businesses, Webnames.ca has launched Domain Monitoring to help brands monitor their protected keywords and terms.
Why do businesses need Domain Monitoring?
Let's review a few challenges that businesses are increasingly facing, in the world of online brand protection.
Company A is in the business of tax consulting and has access to sensitive financial data of individuals as well as businesses. Its employees and associates face several attempts of phishing by emails from deceptive domain names that bear accurate names of individuals in their organization. These contain attachments or links to websites that are designed to look like platforms used in Company A, in an effort to compromise account credentials.
Company B is a successful tech product startup which has rapidly grown over the past 3 years and is immensely popular. As it grows, the company has launched several product lines under different brand names. Protecting the brand names is proving to be a challenge because miscreants repeatedly engage in cybersquatting (registering domain names using their brand marks, spelling variants as well as names of upcoming product lines based on rumors and news).
Company C is a fashion brand with a dominant share of the e-commerce active-wear market. Its popularity has spawned cheap knock-offs from around the world who hawk their wares through illegitimate but deceptively identical websites that are use the correct brand name and additional information such as a country or city. For instance, if the brand name was Nike, the misleading domain name could be nikeincanada. This form of e-commerce fraud results in loss of revenue, and reputation for the brand in the yes of the cheated customers.
The scenarios listed above describe defensive uses of Domain Monitoring for brand protection, but businesses can also use this tool for brand research as I detail below.
Brand Research: If I was looking to launch a new business with my own name as the brand, I would probably first run a domain search to identify names that I can register. However, a Domain Monitoring search (screenshot below) provides me with a CSV file of all domains that are already taken. I can use the spreadsheet to brainstorm for ideas, rule out variants that might infringe on other businesses and identify my own niche.
Competitor Research: You could also use Domain Monitoring to keep tabs on what your competition is up to. Domain Management practices of competition provide useful insights into strategies they may be adopting, spin-off products that may be in the pipeline etc. If you monitor select brand keywords and track newly registered domains you may gain insights into new markets that your fierce competitor is entering.
One-Time Search or Ongoing Monitoring
One-Time search is a Domain Monitoring plan where you can purchase a specific number of credits, and each credit allows you to make one search of the entire domain database for all mentions of your search term. You can review the results in your browser or get a link to a CSV report that you can slice and dice on a spreadsheet. It is ideal for exploratory activities such as brand research, competitor scoping and to identify popular typos to your own keywords.
Ongoing Monitoring, as the name suggests allows you to get a daily, weekly or monthly email report of all occurrences of your search terms in the continuously updated domain database. This is best used for detecting any infringements on your name on an ongoing basis (for further legal action) or to track close competitors for research. We strongly recommend that you run one-time searches to narrow down search terms for ongoing monitoring.
Refining your Domain Monitoring search
Domain Monitoring in both One-Time Search and Ongoing Monitoring flavors offers flexible search options. You can
- Choose to search only generic TLDs or country code domain extensions
- Use wildcard characters (* for multiple and ? for single) as prefix, suffix or in the middle of search strings
- Search for domains that start or end with specific terms or even do a stem match
In addition you can configure to receive the monitoring alerts every day, week, month, quarter or year.
Domain Monitoring Reports
The results of your domain monitoring report (available as a downloadable CSV file) contain the Domain Name, Domain Extension (TLD) and a link to the Whois data for that particular domain name. Depending on your objective for the domain monitoring task, you can use the report in the following (non-exhaustive) ways:
- Use spreadsheet filters to highlight the names that are of interest
- Visit websites that you suspect of cybersquatting or fraud and explore the whois records to identify registrants
- Initiate appropriate legal action against infringing domains
Domain Monitoring gives businesses an easy and automated way to stay on top of online threats and scams. It is best suited for brand protection by intellectual property experts, brand managers, marketers and business owners.