Marvel's The AvengersI have a confession to make. I’ve never read a comic book. I’ve flipped through the pages of graphic novels once or twice out of curiosity, but growing up, I was way more interested in coming-of-age novels about slightly awkward teenage girls than I was in picture books about dudes in spandex. You can probably imagine why.

What’s weird about my utter disinterest in comic books is the fact that I absolutely LOVE movies (and the occasional TV show) based on comic books. I grew up on Batman movies and am not ashamed to admit that I adored the Adam West TV series as a kid. And I’ve been delighted at the recent onslaught of superhero movies over the past few years, most recently The Avengers and all the movies that led up to it. I’ll probably be seeing The Amazing Spiderman this weekend, in fact.

So you can see how my interest was piqued when I saw a post on the Unleash the Fanboy blog describing how Marvel has registered a handful of domain names referencing upcoming movies – including some that, honestly, I don’t even recognize (who is Thanos? Seriously, someone explain), but others for movies I am seriously looking forward to seeing. Many of these movies, however, are in the very nascent stages of script writing and likely won’t be arriving at theaters for years.

Right now, Marvel is redirecting most of these domains back to its homepage at Marvel.com. So what does it accomplish by registering these domains so early? Aside from stoking the fan fire and building buzz around future movies, Marvel is also ensuring that down the line, when the plans for these movies are more concrete, the company won’t have to worry about securing the domains. If Marvel waited until the movies were already well into production (and thus all over the media), it would run the risk of losing out to squatters or domain speculators, who may in turn try to charge Marvel a high fee to sell the domains.

Even if your brand isn’t in the business of producing blockbusters, there are lessons to be learned from Marvel’s strategy. If you’re launching an important new product or service, it pays to reserve corresponding domain names early – that way, you have them for when you’re ready to use them. On the flip side, if your company typically attracts a lot of media scrutiny and you want to keep a new product or service under wraps, it may be wise to register the domains under a privacy registration and redirect them to unrelated content such as a blank page. That way, you may be able to throw inquiring minds off your trail.

Meanwhile, I’ll be counting down the days until Thor 2 comes out.