This image of a hand holding a compass illustrates the blog's topic: building a complete domain strategy.

A complete domain strategy for 2024 

In the fine margins of modern ecommerce, a good domain strategy can change a company’s fate. Domains, the cornerstone of the internet, support crucial business functions, from lead generation forms and web shops to emails and digital security.  That’s why we’ve asked our technical experts and seasoned domain management specialist to provide their best tips for a future-proof strategy.  

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Evolving domain landscapes offer plenty of new risks, as well as new opportunities, so here’s a complete domain strategy for 2024. 

1. Defining your Domain Strategy  

Domain strategy isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and businesses must tailor their tactics to meet their needs. Businesses often maintain multiple brands and products, requiring different domains and extensions to launch, promote, and sustain them. Deciding which domains to maintain, scale back, or expand depends on your trademarks, popular products, and next line of services.  

Beyond that, your target markets also shape your strategy in 2024. Different continents, countries, and regions all have different domain extension preferences, based on languages and cultural idiosyncrasies. Equally, different regions and extensions also pose different threats, from infringements to fake shops and phishing attacks. Businesses often fall into the trap of creating a unilateral strategy for each department, or even multiple competing strategies that clash and conflict, between marketing, legal, IT, and security teams. Busting these silos, and outlining your goals in terms of IP and geography lays the foundations for an effective, holistic domain strategy.   

2. Exploring the Domain Landscape

Once you’ve locked in your goals in terms of branding and scope, it’s time to see what’s out there in the domain landscape. Businesses typically identify a domain wishlist for TLDs and CCTLDs, but they should also be aware of what’s over the horizon. Registries are always launching new domain options, and each TLD launch opens a new avenue of digital opportunity. Since ICANN launched their new gTLD program in 2012, over 1,200 new domain extensions hit the market, highlighting the industry’s rapid growth. Some companies even register their own ‘piece of the internet’, by establishing their own dotBrand domain. While it’s important to register existing domains for the here and now, keeping an eye out for the most valuable new launches helps future-proof your strategies, embracing new opportunities as they arise. 

Get the latest on choice new TLDs like .Tr, .Music, and .Lifestyle in our recent guide

3. Monitoring your Domain Strategy Effectively 

Acquiring your domains, and your domain wishlist, is just the beginning of a robust domain strategy. Businesses must also implement domain monitoring, to check for changes in the landscape, and detect and malicious infringements or suspicious registrations around their brand before they cause any harm.   

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Historically, businesses deployed manual domain monitoring strategies, searching each registry for each string one by one. Traditional tactics also included organizations trying to register their way into safety, and wasting resources on every possible domain available. Modern monitoring strategies take a smart, nuanced approach, deploying smart tools and savvy expertise. These solutions take the hassle out of your domain strategy, sweeping attack vectors and infringement channels with AI and automated detections to keep your brand safe. Learn more in our detailed domain monitoring deep dive.  

4. Implementing a Domain Blocking Strategy 

Rather than passively waiting for a domain infringement, or even actively searching for them, forward-thinking brands support their strategy with domain blocking. Blocking tools allow brands to register their intellectual property with various digital authorities, and block malicious parties from registering key domains.   

The market provides various types of domain blocking. These include:  

  •  AdultBlock, for blocking adult-themed domains  
  • DPML, for blocking registrations across a vast portfolio of around 200 gTLDs 
  • GlobalBlock, a new solution with an unprecedented breadth of coverage, including double or even triple the quantity protected DPML. 

Domain blocking helps protect your domains without the expense of defensively registering tonnes of extensions, so it’s well worth exploring to enhance your domain strategy. Get all the details right here in our domain blocking guide.  

5. Optimizing your Domain Portfolio 

A company’s journey is rarely straightforward, and many feature employee churn, strategic changes, and even mergers or acquisitions. These evolutionary cycles leave a lasting mark on your domain portfolio, like the knots and rings on a tree. Unfortunately, this organic growth often fosters an inefficiency that an effective domain strategy seeks to correct.  

Mergers and international expansion often result in businesses relying on multiple hosting providers and registrars. Some lose track of their administrative controls, or even forget which domains they’re paying for altogether. Corporate Domain Management therefore plays a crucial role in organizing your domain portfolio. With the solution in hand, businesses regain control of their valuable digital assets. Consolidating domain portfolios and strategically organizing their resources, businesses minimize waste and maximize value. 

6. Securing your Domains 

Domains underpin crucial ecommerce operations, making them a prime target for cybercrime. Fortunately, domain cybersecurity experts provide several key concepts to live by, and tools to implement them, that keep your assets safe and secure.   

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EBRAND’s Chief Technical Officer, Anouar Adlani, provides a definitive domain cybersecurity checklist for any business looking to reinforce their defences and keep hackers at bay. Key principles include registrar access control, domain change management, domain name protection, and more.   

A working knowledge of security features like Registrar & Registry Locks, DNSSEC, SSLs, DMARC, SPF, and BIMI all help your team build a well-rounded, versatile, and secure domain strategy. For more first-hand guidance, get Anouar’s insights right here.  

7. Staying Vigilant across all Threat Channels 

A comprehensive strategy keeps your domains efficient, secure, and potent, which is a big achievement for any modern brand. However, businesses must also recognize that threats arrive from other channels, beyond the domain landscape. Incorporating other risk protection and brand protection solutions into your strategy provides the best chance to boost and protect your brand in 2024 and beyond. 

When it comes to risk protection, brands face all kinds of threats and infringements online. These span from ripped-off branding to company colors, imagery, and more. The newest generations of infringement tactics often target senior management teams on social media, and some even launch fake apps on app stores. Scammers attack domains, businesses, and executives, making Digital Risk Protection a vital avenue for forward-thinking businesses to explore.  

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Similarly, brands also face infringements and impersonations across digital marketplaces and web shops. Brands with physical products face counterfeiters and fake shop scammers, while service providers see their services impersonated on web copy and social media channels. Online Brand Protection helps industry leaders take a stand against scammers, delivering the tools and expertise to fight back and protect their digital presence.  

Conclusions: How to Build your Domain Strategy

In conclusion, building a great domain strategy is easier said than done. Businesses need to balance their branding priorities with their budgets, and with the ever-volatile landscape of available domains. They need to find a strategy that works not just for the IT team, but also for legal, and sales, and marketing, and security, and anyone else with an interest in the company’s successes. It needs to be broad enough to achieve your ambitions, but not too broad that it wastes your resources. A complete domain strategy for 2024 must evolve the calendar year, accounting for the many threats and opportunities looming in the next 5, 10, 20 years, and more.   

As experts in the field, we’re more than happy to talk it through. Reach out to the team for a free domain audit right here

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