Today, in the world of digital commerce, brands have a lot to worry about. You have counterfeiters, phishers, squatters and a slew of other types of cyberthieves all looking to cut into your bottom line (steal) and in so doing, damage your reputation.

The New gTLDs
Now, brand marketers have a new worry that keeps building. What do they do about all the new gTLDs? After all, this represents the biggest development to happen to the Internet since the early 90s, when the WWW came into being.

By now, you all should be familiar with the .com, .org, and .net TLDs. They are some of the oldest, but what about .shop, .sucks,.store and so on and so on. When all is said and done, estimates are that there will be over 1,400 new gTLDs available to the public. As a brand looking to protect yourself, what do you do? Do you go and register for every domain that becomes available? Hold on. Not so fast.

Opportunities Abound
The release of all these new gTLDs also presents brands with an opportunity to revitalize their online presence, with a select few domain names that you see lining up with your business objectives and that could be generating revenue for your brand.

The Risks
Brand marketers need to be aware as well of the risks that this development presents. Globally,the release of these new gTLDs is just the fodder that Cyber pirates need to cause your brand damage, both in reputation and revenue. Think about all the variations of brand names. Someone looking to purchase Adidas sneakers, might just enter a website called into his or her browser, bringing them to a counterfeit site. These typosquatters drive consumers to counterfeit sites, and much of the time, they look like the real thing and unsuspecting consumers can fall for it. This could be quite costly to a brand’s bottom line.

Squatters, counterfeiters and a slew of other lurkers are out there, trying everything they can to inflict damage, and sometimes even registering a variation of your domain, and holding it for ransom until you cough up some cash, sometimes a lot of cash. Some even operate like the mafia, saying they will protect your brand for a fee. There really is no end to the madness.

In the case of counterfeiters, Cyber thieves can use a number of ways to divert shoppers to their own counterfeit sites or to those of competitors. If you are a small brand and are low on resources, it is very hard to protect yourself against such heinous actions, as even though there are laws against this, the culprits are probably located on the opposite end of the earth and just the legal fees alone can put you out of business.

How do Brands Deal With It
Sure. There are a lot of ways for brands to protect themselves on their own using free tools, but doing it manually can utilize a lot of resources, that would very soon outweigh the costs of utilizing a Brand Protection Tool. By using online brand protection, you would have a tool that is powered by sophisticated algorithms and monitors the web round the clock, and will be able to identify any entities out there that are damaging your brand based on the keywords that you define.

Additionally, by implementing such a tool, you will also be protecting your customers. Brands that let their customers know that they have their best interests in mind, strengthen their connection with them and build customer loyalty. Ebay does a great job by showing customers how to identify an authentic Prada purse. Prada only uses 5 zipper manufacturers and one of those names (See Photo Below) should be embossed on the back side of the zipper.

Not Just an Afterthought
Now, don’t you think you can maximize your marketing ROI by moving forward instead of always having to spend your time identifying these violations? Even if you were able to identify violations to your brand, where would you start? Online brand protection should not just be an afterthought. It is an imperative business tool. It is one that will keep your brand protected, moving forward, and thriving.