Report: Protect the domain, protect the brand

Global Head of Marketing, MarkMonitor

In a market characterised by intense competition and change, domains are key to establishing brand identity. They also form the core of a broader business strategy and therefore must be protected at all costs.

But what are the best ways to approach domain management and security? How does this fit into the broader brand protection strategy? And how do different elements, such as dealing with infringement, fraud and brand abuse, affect one another?

We sought these answers in our latest Global Business Survey by speaking to 700 marketing, legal and IT decision makers about the state of brand protection, domain and cyber security in their organisations. Respondents were taken from a cross section of industries across the U.K., U.S., France, Germany and Italy.

Key finding: Brand protection responsibilities are fragemented 

Domain management and security tasks appear largely siloed in organisations.

Almost half the sample (46%) said that IT and IT security are responsible for domain management, while only 13% said they use a combined approach. This isolated approach is reinforced with findings about the renewal process; only 25% of respondents have a plan in place to deal with this that involves collaboration between departments. Twenty-six per cent rely solely on renewal notices, while 21% rely on just one person to manage renewal.

Domains are critical to brand health, yet this siloed view of management and security could put the organisation at risk.

Resourcing challenges

One-quarter (25%) of brands in the survey named lack of budget as a major challenge, not just in domain management, but brand protection as a whole. This points to the importance of optimising an organisation’s domain portfolio, ensuring all domains are adding value to the business, while those that aren’t are sold off for practical and commercial purposes. In this way, resources can be better spent on core domains.

Still, research showed that 32% of brands don’t monitor the value of domains, with a further 6% not sure if they did.

Streamlining a domain portfolio is critical both from a commercial and security point of view, especially in light of the changes taking place in the industry. Almost four in 10 brands (39%) have registered a gTLD, and of that number 32% said they’d experienced impersonation and abuse against it.

In addition, 39% said Brexit was affecting their domain strategy, 46% said GDPR impacted their domain strategy, with 18% saying the regulation was making it harder to enforce against infringements.

There is more to managing a domain portfolio than registering a name and renewing it. Management must include security, monitoring the value of domains and align to broader brand protection strategies.
To get the full story on the online brand protection lifecycle, read our most recent report.

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Alison Simpson
With more than 14 years’ experience in the domain industry, Alison has managed all aspects of Corporate Domain Managem... More