Don’t Gamble Away Your Brand Name: Buy Domain Names and Hold ‘Em

How valuable is your brand name?

You may think you’re not a gambling person, but if you don’t own all your brand’s top level domain names, you’re sitting at the table, and throwing away all your aces. You could take a bit of advice from The Gambler

If you’re gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right

Value can be fixed based on transactions, visits to your website and sales history. But a brand has value which extends beyond mere monetary transactions.

When you purchase your domain name for your brand, did you purchase every variable for it? If you only purchased one variant of it, you may be “out of aces” and leaving your business vulnerable to brand exploitation. As an example, no one would be better one than Ted Cruz*.

Don’t let your brand name be hijacked

Ted Cruz announced that he is running for President as a Republican candidate. His conservative stance upsets many on the left and in the middle. Opponents of his candidacy took advantage of available domain names related to the candidate’s brand/name. And It didn’t take them long to get busy with mischief. Because the Cruz campaign didn’t purchase these domains, there is now a bit of PR kerfuffle for the team to pay attention to when they probably would rather be working on other aspects of their candidate’s campaign.

The mischief makers redirected the domains they purchased (which should have been purchased by Cruz and his campaign long ago) to websites which are antithetical to Cruz’s platform and stated views.

  • is redirected to
  • has a message in support of President Obama
  • is redirected to

Anyone can purchase a domain name.

Back in the height of the housing bubble in 2006, homeowners who were disgusted with their homes constructed by a major national volume homebuilder, purchased a domain that was negative towards that homebuilder. They posted a website at that domain declaring for all the world how much they hated their homes and the builder. Even today,

  • is still proclaiming for all to see how much these homeowners hate the builder.
  • obviously states certain owner’s dissatisfaction.

Go beyond .com

When you purchase your brand’s domain name, purchase all available variants of it that you can afford. Include .com, .net, .org, .biz, .us and more. While you may never use these domain names to refer to a website, you don’t want to leave yourself vulnerable to pranksters or even competitors who decide to hijack your good brand and use it for their benefit.

As Kenny Rogers sang, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em.”

*We are not stating any partisanship nor support for any candidate by authoring this post. We are merely using this situation as a teachable moment for all business owners.

As a Leader, Brand Identity is Reflected in Your Presence

Your personal appearance is your brand identity

We’ve all had the experience — at the end of a long day discovering we’ve worn one black shoe and one blue shoe, or socks that don’t match or have worn our shirt inside out all day long…and no one noticed. When this has happened to me, I find myself wondering, “Why didn’t anybody tell me?” I also wonder who now thinks of me as sloppy, or someone who doesn’t attend to details.

For most of us, our personal appearance is important. We take care to groom ourselves to present a presence which reflects and reinforces our sense of self.

The ante is upped when you are a company delegate who speaks with the public or the media. You are an embodiment of the brand experience.

As a leader, you are the exemplar of your firm’s brand. You must check yourself in the mirror or ask your colleagues to review your clothing, appearance and presence to evaluate whether or not your appearance reflects the values of the brand.

quotation-Marks.jpgWhen you make a personal appearance representing your business, you ARE the brand.

Because of a shirt, for a moment, the world was inadvertently focused, not on the Rosetta Project’s success — as the Philae lander approached a comet — but on Rosetta Project scientist Matt Taylor’s shirt which was insensitively selected, given his position of leadership and need to appear on camera for interviews.


If the European Space Agency’s PR person had reviewed their team member’s appearance prior to interviews, perhaps all eyes would have been on mission success, not the shirt. With a bit more thought, the public relations team would not be defending the leader’s values and their congruence with the space agency’s, but would be talking more about the globally recognized accomplishment of getting a probe to land on a comet.

So, when is a shirt more than a shirt? Or a shoe more than a shoe? When worn by a leader.


Update: Taylor apologizes saying,

“I made a big mistake, and I offended many people,” Taylor said at Friday’s media briefing, his voice trembling, “and I’m very sorry about this.” Read more

Photo credit: By: Charlotte L