4 Threats to Online Branding Coming in 2014 (and 1 Opportunity)
There’s a new pool of generic top-level domain names (gTLDs) being added to the world wide web. This will be done gradually throughout the year, and it presents both some great opportunities, but also some serious threats.
Talking about the positives first, marketers and affiliates will have a load of new possible website addresses to register.
For instance, TLDs such as .vegas or .reno will become available, along with various brand-centered TLDs (.nokia), or maybe even general stuff like .gambling.
But there’s also the other side of the coin. Here are some of the common threats to be aware of:
1. Trademark Infringement
Also know as domain squatting. It is the practice of trying to register a trademarked domain on a new TLD with the intent to profit from the goodwill of another brand.
For example, domains like coca-cola.vegas will probably start sprouting up.
2. Typo Squatting
Very similar to domain squatting, but this time it’s about trying to capitalize on people mistyping a certain brand name when looking for their website.
3. Online Phishing
Scammers use many tricks to hijack your traffic and redirect it to phony websites. Then, they can get your audience’s personal data or attempt to install malware of their computers.
This is based on the two other threats mentioned above. Scammers use websites that appear genuine (domain squatting or typo squatting) so the victim doesn’t even realize that they’re being tricked.
4. Brand Shaming
Let’s just say it this way, TLDs such as .sucks will become available very soon. And if someone registers a domain like yourbrand.sucks, it can’t be a good sign.
How to Protect Your Brand
The only sure-fire way to protect yourself from the above is unfortunately also the most expensive way. And it’s simply to register all potential troublesome domains yourself.
That is, of course, only if you think that something can become a big problem over time.
The 1 Opportunity Right Off the Bat
When those new TLDs get released, affiliates will be able to register domains such as somebrand.discount. This can be huge as it looks so much better than, say, somebrand-discount.com.
With a bit of SEO effort, such a domain can turn out to be very profitable. That is mostly due to the fact that it’s highly visible in comparison to all the other sites that are on the search engine results pages.
This is just one of the opportunities that will soon become available. Affiliates – being rather creative people – will surely discover many more that go way beyond this simple idea.