It may sound very simple – remember to check when your domain expires – but so many people have fallen for this simple pitfall. In the world we live in, where potential customers will search online for your business, services or a particular campaign, it’s safe to say that a website is crucial to your business’s success.
But what if your domain lapses? Potential customers could visit your website, only for it to direct to a clickbait celebrity website or a page offering lude services… or worse – a competitor’s website.
Here’s what happened to Heinz recently. Their ketchup was sold with QR codes printed on the side of the bottles for a number of years. Recently, a chap scanned the QR code on an old bottle, only for his phone to direct him to a porn website. Not cool Heinz. Not only does this highlight the importance of keeping on top of your domains, but also just how little people actually use QR codes.
Forgetting to renew a website domain is one thing, but how about linking to the wrong website via official brand channels. The official Twitter account of car company Nissan in America recently tweeted about their new Leaf electric vehicle. Their tweet was widely promoted during their new product launch with a link to Nissan.com.
Sadly, Nissan does not own Nissan.com. A small American business called Nissan Computer Corp. does. If you visit Nissan.com, you see a message about how much they hate the Nissan car company and how they’ve had to fight a lawsuit just to keep their domain. The main picture on the homepage is a group of five men wearing anti-Nissan t-shirts. A perfectly planned marketing campaign effectively ruined in one fell swoop.
The Nissan case – their US domain is actually NissanUSA.com – is a reminder that even the largest corporations cannot automatically jump in and use the perfect domain. If someone was there first with a legitimate reason, they can keep hold of it. Or win a lucrative court case. Or receive a tasty out of court settlement.
Take the case of Microsoft. Yes, even the almighty Microsoft was with its pants down when it came across this next website URL. Enter Mr Mike Rowe, who has a company called MikeRoweSoft. Yes, I kid you not.
The 12th-grade student had a part-time website design business with the domain MikeRoweSoft.com. Microsoft viewed this as a breach of copyright. They demanded the domain ownership, sent a letter from their lawyers and then a cease and desist order. Mike’s response was brilliant. He replied with a request of $10,000 and contacted the press.
The story gained momentum and portrayed Microsoft in a negative, heavy-handed, light. In order to gain back some of the moral high ground, Mike Rowe was offered a new website paid for by Microsoft, a Microsoft certification course, a subscription to the Microsoft Developer Network website, a family visit to Microsoft Research Tech Fest in Redmond and an Xbox with some games. Oh, and a Wikipedia page dedicated to his efforts for an eternal reminder. It could be worse, imagine if Microsoft let something like Hotmail.co.uk expire?
All of these examples are facepalm moments, something to have a laugh and joke about. But it could happen to you and your business. At Fox, we manage several websites and domains. Making sure the domain never expires is a top priority. It might be seen as a small task that can be completed at a later date. But out there online, be sure that there are people who make a living out of either sniping expired web addresses or buying up new domains for emerging trends and technologies before the businesses arrive. Don’t lose yours: plan ahead.
Fox Agency has a dedicated web development team, happy to design new websites from scratch, part of our Integrated B2B Marketing Campaigns.