It looks like the Brooklyn Nets learned the hard way. The fledgling team took a hit this week when owners discovered that the domain name Nets.com was already bought by someone with an apparent grudge against Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
The site was bought by a web company in 1994, but it contains an image of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sticking out his tongue and a message taunting Prokhorov. Whether or not you believe Cuban put the web company up to it, one fact remains: the site is being used to mock the Nets, its owner, and laugh at the silly oversight of forgetting to secure multiple domain names for the team.
Why Buy Multiple Domain Names?
It’s a lesson we can all take a page from. As a business owners, you need to protect your business’ reputation online. One of the ways to do that is to purchase multiple domain names that relate to your business and brand—both positive and negative name associations.
Many businesses understand why they should by the .com, .net, .biz versions of their domain name. Visitors to these sites can be automatically redirected to your site, and you don’t lose traffic that’s trying to find you.
However, not everyone thinks to buy something along like: [YourBusinessName]Sucks.com. Again, this is to control your reputation on the web as some people may use such domains to hurt the reputation of your business.
Additionally, your competitor can easily purchase a domain name similar to yours and milk some of your market. Buying similar domain names, as well as misspelled domain names, helps prevent competitors from using your brand to promote their own.
Be Proactive: Protect your Brand
The Brooklyn Nets story shows how imperative it is to think outside of the box when it comes to protecting your brand in the Internet age. Protecting your brand by purchasing related domain names is just one consideration. Today, you also need to consider social media.
Just twenty years ago, if someone was dissatisfied, they might complain to you, to their friends and family. But with the Internet, it’s easy for people to sound off online. Sometimes those complaints are limited in scope, but some gain traction and can be particularly damaging for your business.
The best way to protect your brand is to be tuned into the conversation surrounding your business online—and in control of it.
So, how do you control the conversation about your brand? Stay tuned! Next week we’ll discuss practical steps you can take to be maintain control of your brand’s image.