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Alphabet could spell trouble for Google: Here’s how to secure your digital real estate

Broede Carmody /

 

Google says restructuring into umbrella company Alphabet Inc will make it a more efficient operation, however the internet giant has made one crucial error.

The trademark for the word Alphabet, as well as the internet domain alphabet.com, belongs to German car manufacturer BMW, according to The New York Times.

And BMW says it does not want to give them up.

Google has yet to give any indication of what it will do, however it has so far been using the domain abc.xyz for Alphabet Inc.

Securing the right domain name is a critical issue for small businesses due to a crowded marketplace and issues around domain squatting.

Domain squatting is where a person or business registers a domain name with the intent of selling it to the person who owns the trademarked name at an inflated price.

Trevor Young, founder of Expermedia, told SmartCompany it’s crucial for businesses to invest in their digital real estate right from the outset.

“Whether you’re a personal brand-based business or a smaller business, the lesson is to do your homework in advance and make sure you snap up a suitable URL and whatever key social media account names that you need,” Young says.

“It’s best to be consistent; have the one handle across multiple channels and including your URL if possible. Consistency is important in branding. The other reason is if you build the name for your company and build a reputation, yet someone’s got the Twitter handle or a more effective URL, there’s every chance you’ll be confused with that entity and you’ve lost control of the perception of your brand.”

Young says the chances of getting any generic URL or social media handle these days is “nigh impossible”.

The solution, he says, is to get creative.

“If you’re starting from scratch it makes your picking of the name all the more important today and that’s why we see so many made up words – such as Google ironically – because that’s the only way you can get control of your domain and social media channels,” Young says.

“It’s an opportunity to get really creative and potentially put two real words together. The examples are Facebook, Evernote, Snapchat or changing a word like Zirtual.”

“Some domain registers allow you to auto-renew, so if that option is available it’s certainly worth looking at in case you miss the renewal notice,” Young adds.  

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Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior reporter at SmartCompany. Previously, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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