The Domain Game: Naming and Protecting Your Domain

Someone somewhere who is reading this has an excellent product or business idea, has been talking about it with numerous people, and still needs to buy the domain name before someone else grabs it. Do it now before you throw around the name within earshot of the wrong person. While registering, be savvy about how you approach your name choice.


Here are our favorite tips learned from years of experience:


  1. YOU should always buy/own your domain name. Don’t let your web or marketing company, your admin, or future-ex partner buy this for you in their name. This and web hosting credentials are 2 keys to your kingdom that you should always have in your own possession.  Associate them with your own email address.  We’ve seen ugly breakups where companies were held hostage by lack of access to these accounts.
  2. The world is a better place now that so many more domain extensions exist. Examples: .io, .ai, .marketing, .tattoo. Thank goodness we have moved 400 extensions beyond “.com”.
  3. I humbly and highly advise that you choose a shorter and easier-to-spell name than, when possible. If I could hitch a ride on a certain Delorean and travel back a decade and reregister a different domain, I would. When people ask for my email address, time slows for us both and I can feel them thinking “I before E except after C” as they methodically add me to their contacts with many keystrokes. Think short and sweet and don’t fret not having a .com extension.
  4. Fully vet the important extensions of your future domain and check that:
    1. The .com doesn’t look like someone who could be a competitor (or some of your prospects could land with the wrong company).
    2. The .com won’t emotionally scar your future prospects if they happen to land there. You don’t want your customers accidentally browsing their way to future therapy bills.
    3. If you are grabbing an “.ai” or “.io” extension, check them both for competitors and wholesomeness, also.
  5. Consider buying a domain misspelling (like Caffeine/Caffiene or Smyth/Smith) IF you think it will ACTUALLY be an issue. It probably won’t be. We have bought many misspellings in the past and they have generated so little traffic that we don’t do it anymore.
  6. If the .com is available for your domain name, buy it even if you plan to use a different extension for your website.  You can redirect that traffic to your website, and it is very cheap insurance against a competitor or unsavory company setting up shop there.
  7. If you already have a domain and someone else (your web or marketing company) owns your domain name or web hosting credentials, kindly ask them to transfer it back to you while you are on good terms. If you worry that this will shake your relationship, tell them that you are auditing all of your internal accounts across the company and putting everything in your company’s name. You can even tell them that you are happy with your relationship and this is just a housekeeping thing. They might need to charge you for the time it takes, but it’s not an arduous process and this should not be a large charge.

A small amount of extra legwork on your part will lock in a solid domain. Users should find you without detours.  A wrong turn at Albuquerque is a high-stakes issue. Lost prospects equal lost business.  Create a clear path for them, and make sure that you own the road there.  Now go grab that domain!