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BizReport : Domain Names : May 29, 2007

Should brands purchase alternate domains?

With phishers purchasing alternate domains, opponents of products purchasing negative domains, would it behoove brands to pre-empt such strikes by buying negative and alternate domains themselves? It may be.

by Kristina Knight

According to reports, Johnson & Johnson recently purchased a negative online domain to protect the identity of its Ortho Evra birth control product. In addition to their brand domains, J & J purchased sites like "" and "". By controlling these negative domains, the company could protect their brand from lawsuits, bad press or disgruntled consumers. The alternate websites aren't in use, but it is likely that they could have been used by lawyers or consumers.

"It's really a best practice move," says Larry Mickelberg, SVP of marketing at interactive pharmaceutical agency Medical Broadcasting Co., now known as Digitas Health.

Small and medium sized businesses could also take advantage of this practice to protect their brand from negative information. Marketers could also use these tactics to protect consumers from phishing attacks. One tried and true method of information scalping by phishers is to redirect a user to a fake website. If a business already owns the obvious alternate domains, the chance of a phisher being able to easily impersonate them is slimmer.

Owning multiple domains is expensive, however the cost to a business from bad press, phishing attacks and other online scams is much greater. Purchasing alternate domains makes good business sense.

Tags: domain names, online advertising

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