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04-Jul-2007

Five Common Domain Name Myths

Author: Steve Ashton

Copyright 2006 Steven Ashton

With domain name articles and tips floating around all over the Web, most people probably feel that they know a good deal about picking and protecting a domain name. However, some common domain name myths persist. Letís debunk a few.
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Myth: Once I register a domain, I can use it forever.

Fact: While itís possible that youíll keep your registered domain name forever, itís not guaranteed. Several things can happen that would cause you to lose your domain name. First, you have to register your domain name each year (or register it for multiple years up front) in order to keep your access to it. If you forget to renew your registration, you could lose your domain name, or someone else can register it and charge you a huge fee to have it transferred back to your name. Second, you could lose your domain name in a trademark dispute.

Myth: My Domain Name is automatically trademarked, so no one else can ever use it or anything too similar to it (such as with other extensions).

Fact: A domain name cannot be trademarked in the US! It also isnít protected by a copyright. However, if your businessí name is trademarked before anyone else is using it, then you could sue if someone registered a domain name using your business name (or a common misspelling) to sell products or services that are extremely similar to your own. For instance, if someone else ever tried to register something like Microsoft.net, or even microsort.net, for the purpose of selling computers and software, Microsoft could sue them to stop them from using the domain name. This is to stop scammers and competitors from trying to profit off of a trademarked name. In some countries, you canít even register a domain with their country-specific extension unless you own the trademark there for that business name.

Myth: If I own the trademark for my companyís name, I automatically have the right to register my companyís name as a domain name.

Fact: You do not, in fact, have the right to register any Domain Name, even if you have a trademark on the corresponding company name. The reason for this is that a trademark on a business name doesnít give you exclusive access to use that name. It only gives you exclusive access to use that name for the particular products and / or services that you offer. Going back to our above example, letís say Microsoft forgot to renew their registration on Microsoft.net. While they could sue another computer manufacturer or software company for registering the domain name without question, letís assume itís registered by a small company making microfiber-covered sofas and other furniture. The name makes sense Ė "micro" as an abbreviation for microfiber, and Ďsoftí because itís a very soft fabric. That company has every right to use the company name Microsoft, and they would own the trademark for that company name as it applies to the products they sell. Because of that, Microsoft couldnít do anything to get their .net domain name back except offering to buy it outright.

Myth: A domain is only worth registering if you can get the .com version.

Fact: Many web sites have been successful using .net, .org, and country-specific domain extensions. Donít reject an otherwise good domain name just because the .com extension isnít available. If youíre setting up a domain name based on keywords, a .net or .org shouldnít make too much of a difference. If youíre selling products or services to only residents of your country, a country-specific domain extension could prove to be quite profitable for you, as it tells your target market that youíre specifically selling to them.

Myth: You should never use dashes in a domain name.

Fact: While including dashes in a domain name isnít ideal, it also shouldnít be forbidden. Dashes make it harder to market your domain name via word of mouth, but they can be very effective if youíre determined to use a keyword-rich domain name for a general content site, if the version without the dashes isnít available.

------ Learn more domain name tips at http://www.domainnamescenter.com and find cheap web hosting at http://www.abetterwebhost.com

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