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Have you got your domain names covered?

The story of the domain name dispute between etoy.com and ... uncovers ... issue facing all ... should we register domain names that are similar toours? In the eToys debacle, a g

The story of the domain name dispute between etoy.com and eToys.com uncovers an
important issue facing all webmasters, should we register domain names that are similar to
ours? In the eToys debacle, a group of artists registered the domain name "etoy.com" in 1995.
Then in 1997, an online toy store bought the domain name "eToys.com" and in 1999, chose to
sue etoy.com for the use of a similar name. At first, etoy.com was forced to shut down it's site
but thanks to public pressure eToys.com dropped it's lawsuit in January. (For more on this,
please read http://www.rtmark.com/etoyline.html)

Of course, not all domain name disputes will lead to court but there are reasons why
webmasters should consider registering similar domain names.
Firstly, we spend a lot of time and effort marketing our websites. It would all go to waste if
someone registered a similar sounding website and all your traffic went to them instead.
Worse, if this site's focus was completely irrelevant to yours, then users would be totally
confused and will probably not return again. For example, if you had a site called
AboutBigApple.com dedicated to the city of New York and there's another site called
AboutBigApples.com all about apples. A visitor expecting to find pictures on Central Park or
the Empire State Building would be served up photos of Grannys and Galas instead. Rather
disorienting don't you think?

Another good reason for registering similar domain names is to use them as doorway pages to
help improve your search engine position. So you could have each domain name pointing to a
single doorway page which is optimised using META tags and descriptive titles. The doorway
page then links to your original site either automatically or via a link or button which users
click on. With this, you would have protected all permutations of your domain names AND
helped improved your search engine rankings.


So how do we decide which similar domain names to register?

It's entirely up to you but the following guidelines can help. Say you have a domain called
xxxxxx.com, possible high-risk domain names would be :

xxxxxxs.com
xxxxxx.net
xxxxxx.org
xxxxxxs.net
xxxxxxs.org

Or you can try this service at http://www.nameprotect.com mmonitoring.htm that helps track
your domain name for possible threats. The service generates a free monthly report on your
domain name and gives suggestions of high-risk domain names to register. It also has a
feature that can tell you if anyone is trademarking a name that's similar to your domain name.

What happens if there's already somebody else with a similar name?

The best thing to do is to co-exist with this other site. Most of the time, whenever someone
registers a similar domain name, it's done completely innocently. For example, our site at
www.payingads.com started receiving emails from visitors saying that they couldn't get into
their accounts using their username and passwords. A quick check in our databases revealed
that these visitors were not our site's members but members of a site called
www.payingad.com. This site pays people for viewing ads while our site is a global exchange
for people looking for paying web ads to place on their websites. Our businesses are different
so it was obvious that payingad was not trying to usurp our users. So we're content to just
leave things as they are.

However, we still get user complaints on our site mistaking us for the other site, typically
around 2 to 4 a day. If you find yourself in this situation, deal with it carefully. Though some of
the emails can get quite irate, remember to always be courteous and take time to clarify the
situation to them. It's bad enough that they keep getting "Invalid password/username"
messages whenever they try to log on even when they're certain it's the right password or
username. It's like being told you have brown eyes when you know your eyes are blue. Politely
explain that there is a site of a similar name and direct them there. Also, explain more about
your own site as they might also be interested in your own services. Who knowsFind Article, you might
even come away with a few more new visitors to your site.

Article Tags: Domain Names, Domain Name, Similar Name, Similar Domain

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Gim Yeap, PayingAds.com - a global exchange for webmasters looking for paying
web ads for their sites. Please send your comments or queries on the article to
gim@payingads.com.



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