Protecting the Brand with Domain Names

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, March 16, 2007 at 07:05 AM with 3 comments

Years ago when I was working at a dot-com, I got together with our Marketing and Operations heads to determine what domain names we should be registering to protect the brand of our company. In our meeting we came up with just about every derogatory word to describe our company’s name and product, including words to prefix and suffix them. It was as much fun as it was serious. Unfortunately, by the time we went to register the names, the company folded.

Johnson and Johnson, the global giant that makes everything from Band-Aids to pharmaceuticals, went through this process for their alternative sweetener, Splenda. reported on the list of Splenda domain names. What is interesting about the list is that it goes well beyond adding “sucks” to the end of the product name and hints at some of the product's dangers, including diabetes.

J&J is smart to do this. It is common practice to register such names in the branding process. The cost of a domain name is small as compared to the damage to a new brand when someone registers a domain name that is against it. Some of these names may be disturbing to the common consumer, including myself. If they wanted these domain names, maybe they should have registered them in the name of an individual who worked for the company, and not in the J&J name, so not to draw such attention.

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