Jacqueline Drew: Don't give in to the cybersquatters!

Money Talks is a collection of daily columns from The Business Network, which airs weekday mornings on CBC Radio One at 5:45 a.m. ET (6:15 a.m. ET in N.L.).

By Jacqueline Drew, founder of Start Marketing in Calgary
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Recently I was trying to find a good domain name for a client of mine that had just changed his corporate name. Unfortunately, almost every variation of the name he wanted was gone, and in particular, the ".ca" he wanted was being held by some company who wasn’t even using if for a website They had just grabbed it and parked it, waiting for a sucker to come along and offer them big bucks for it.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time I’d run into such devious companies – so I called a fellow I know who owns a hosting company to see what he thought we should do. I was quite shocked to learn that he said he too grabs names and parks them, holding out for some big fat offer from a desperate enough company.

Needless to say, I’m looking for a new hosting supplier. After all, in my marketing business, I develop names for companies quite regularly – and while doing so, I often develop a couple hundred names before the client settles on one they want. Does that mean I should go out and reserve rights to all those optional names, just to keep other companies away from them? Of course not! But I guess some companies do think it’s okay – and of course we now know why it can be so difficult to get a simple domain name.

So here’s my advice: Don’t worry so much about the domain name being perfectly matched to your company from the outset, just go ahead and reserve something similar. Use a variation of your name if you have to, as long as it is easy to say and easy to spell – for example, if you can’t get ABC Tools dot ca, consider “go ABC Tools”, or “ABC Tools now” “use ABC” or “ABC Tools Canada.” You could use a slogan such as “simple as ABC” and turn that into a dot ca domain name.

I hope that, in time, domain registration laws will change, and it won’t be so easy for any company to grab and reserve any name without justification. But for now, if we can be a little more creative, and resist shelling out dough to spurious domain parking companies, then they’ll eventually fold, and free up those domain names they never should have had in the first place!

-- Jacqueline Drew

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