Domains are an important aspect of business on the internet. Companies often spend lots of money to make sure their domains and related domains are safe from cybersquatters. These cybersquatters beat others to registering domain names and then sell them to companies and businesses for way over what they are worth.

It appears even a tech giant like Google is still involved in domain control. Just yesterday, Google has lost a court dispute with the owner of the domain

The Details

According to Robin Wauters at TheNextWeb, Google “failed to show that the disputed domain was registered in bad faith, which basically means its current owner gets to keep it.” The current owner is Christopher Neuman, who owns his own web hosting company. Bad faith means that there was nefarious intent in registering the domain, like stealing traffic from typos or intending, from the beginning, to sell the domain heavily marked up.

Robin Wauters also reports that “Neuman tried to sell the domain name to [Google] for $600,000 in 2009.” What? Okay, that sounds like wrongful intent, but ultimately the panel decided it wasn’t. There is nothing illegal about offering to sell a domain. If Google could have proved that this was the intent all along, they may have won the case. But according to Neuman, he registered the domain for a friend in 1999 when he was 13 years old.

Domains Still Matter

While a lot of news about domains goes under the radar these days, it’s still an important aspect of brand control and marketing for businesses. There are entire websites, like Sedo, that make finding and buying hundreds of domains related to your business as easy a few mouse clicks. People can steal traffic by using similar domains. In fact, they can do whatever they want with their domain off the graces of your good name.

That’s why companies like Google go after similar domains. Andrew Alleman at Domain Name Wire writes, “don’t be surprised if Google goes after the domain name through a different means.” That’s how serious these companies take domains.

If you read our blog post concerning Jack Daniel’s and a copycat publisher this week, you’ll remember how important reputation management is. These days, companies need to be careful about how they handle brand, domain, and reputation issues. They don’t want to be seen like a bully, which is often why there isn’t much press when it comes to domain issues. It’s doubtful that Google will take any flack for this, though.

It seems a lot of people forget about other ways to go about getting domains, though. There are easy ways for people to get on the internet without spending any money. Plus, they get to choose their own domain name. While it’s not a completely ideal situation, free domain services like blogger/blogspot work great. Heck, even Google uses it for their official blog instead of buying a new domain name.

Are domain issues a part of your business’ reputation management strategy?