Reining in the Rogue

FairWinds Partners —  January 18, 2013

At FairWinds, one of the services we offer clients is a sort of “spring cleaning” of their domain name registrations. We know that, especially for large corporations, there are often many different individuals who register domain names – sometimes representatives from various departments within the company, and other times account representatives at partner agencies such as marketing and creative firms. We also know that even when these registrations are made with the best of intentions, after a certain point, things tend to go awry. As time goes on, employees leave and agency contracts expire. And eventually, the company’s network of domain names starts to resemble a tangled web.

Our job is to help clients wrangle in all of these registrations and streamline their portfolios. In doing so, we find a lot of forgotten registrations made by past employees and partners. But every once in a while, we come across a case where a disgruntled past employee or contractor, for lack of a better phrase, holds a domain hostage, either by refusing to return it to the company or using it to host negative content. We call these instances “rogue registrations,” and they can be a massive headache for companies.

But there’s good news for brand owners that applied for new gTLDs: such rogue registrations will be all but impossible in their new gTLDs. Since brand owners will have full control over their .BRAND registries, they will easily be able to determine which domains should be registered and ensure that they are registered by the appropriate people. This kind of control is one of the major benefits to operating a new gTLD registry.

Of course, the potential for rogue registrations in other new gTLDs and existing TLDs still remains. How can a company avoid those? The best way is to develop a solid Domain Name Strategy and Registration Policy and implement them across the entire organization.

Fortunately, we know some people who can help with that.