Heard of ‘channel squatting’? You’ve been warned

There’s a new playground for domain squatters – but this time there’s something you can do about it. CHRIS THOMAS

Chris Thomas

By Chris Thomas

Remember the game of trying to secure your new domain name? It can be a frustrating business!

Your scenario probably goes something like this; you’ve sat around the kitchen table and come up with the perfect business name, then raced off down your state’s Office of Small Business (or ASIC) and spent a few bucks registering it before anyone else!

You race home excited, ready to put your business plan into action.

The next step is to buy a domain name and create a new website to suit. Too easy!

But excitement soon turns to disappointment. The domain name you want is already taken. So after a while you have to settle for a domain that’s different from the actual name of your business. Really annoying.

The lesson here?

Settle on the domain name before registering the business. Otherwise it’s an expensive and lengthy process wrestling with the Australian Domain Authority Dispute Resolution Panel (say that 10 times quickly) to try and get the domain back from a squatter.

But it doesn’t end there.

There’s been a new ‘domain rush” going on for some time now, although it’s not so much a domain rush as an “account rush”. And social media is the new frontier.

I don’t need to bang on about the rise and rise of social media websites; MySpace, Twitter, YouTube et al – we all now know how big these classic web 2.0 sites have become.

All these sites require you to create an account, so it’s useful to name your new YouTube account the same as your business or domain name. It keeps a strong brand consistency flowing through all the various “channels”.

For a concrete example on how to get your domain/social media channel strategy right, look no further than BlendTec, creator of the famous “will it blend” series of videos, where they blend unusual products (such as iPhones and GPS units) in their blenders.

They’ve stitched up the scene better than just about anyone else, with a combination of domains and social media channels. They also responded to the rise and rise of their “will it blend” campaign by purchasing the domain www.willitblend.com and creating social media channels around it.

Here are some examples…

It’s already been reported by PCWorld that “twitter-squatting” is on the rise, so get in early before it’s too late!

I guess the lesson here is to not just secure your new domain name, but dive into Twitter, YouTube, Digg, MySpace or wherever you’re going to be promoting your goods or services.

It’ll save you headaches down the track when the account name you want in the social media channel you want to participate in is already taken.


Chris Thomas heads Reseo, a search engine optimisation company which specialises in creating and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.

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Des writes: Interesting article! I’d be really interested if you could write a post on how small business can take advantage of sites like Twitter and Digg… sites I’ve heard of but don’t know much about what role they should be playing in my online marketing strategy.




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