Don’t Forget to Check Your Domain Name Registrations

Many thanks to a regular reader who pointed out several posts reporting on a domain name registration fail by celebrity chef Guy Fieri, who apparently neglected to register guysamericankitchenandbar.com for his new Times Square 500 seat restaurant Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar.

website-conversationAs a result, it was purchased up by someone with a robust sense of humor who published a satirical menu poking more than a bit of fun at the chef’s culinary sensibilities.

It made me think back to the early days of the Orchestra Website Reviews when I discovered that more than a dozen orchestras did not own the .org extension for the most rational incarnation of their name; for example, one shouldn’t be hard pressed to assume that seattlesymphony.org will take you to the homepage for the Seattle Symphony Orchestra (whew, it does!).

At that time, 2005, I picked up the domain names in order to keep them out of the hands of squatters and funnel them to the rightful owners.

Out of a sense of nostalgia, I went back to that original list to see if everyone still owned their domain name. Certainly, I thought to myself, everyone on the list must own their domain name by now (save the one group that has sense gone out of business).

Gahhh! Nine out of 14 not only didn’t own the .org extension of their full name but several didn’t even own the .com extension!

Kudos to those from the list who do own their domain names but I’m not going to play the role of Lord Protector of orchestra domain names this time around. Instead, I’m going to leave them up for grabs.

To be clear, I only checked the permutations on the original list from 2005 and I recall that all but a few picked the names up shortly after that point in time. I officially let the remaining stragglers go after the initial year’s registration expired but who knows what else is out there; frankly, it is amazing that squatters haven’t picked those names up yet.

So now it’s a race, and this time around, I’m content with spectating.

Do Yourself A Favor

Even if your group isn’t one of the orchestras from the 2005 list, take some time today and double check that your organization owns as many of the obvious domain name permutations for your ensemble as possible (and don’t forget to check branded artistic efforts etc.).

And if you want to search for the domain name, avoid unscrupulous registrars such as networksolutions.com.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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3 thoughts on “Don’t Forget to Check Your Domain Name Registrations

  1. I can attest to the vital importance of spending $100-$200 to grab the domains and extensions for 5-10 yrs. I had a “rival” organization’s head go and purchase no fewer than 72 variations and extensions of the name for 5 years. Took me weeks of brainstorming to find an available variation, then had to set up a website with a bizarre combination of abbreviations and then market it. Double whammy when the owner of the other domains forward them to other webpages or subdomains to proactively undermine your organization.
    I was lucky that my husband is a web developer and has masterful SEO skills. Other groups are not so lucky. I had an alert for the day the ownership expired (check WHOIS) and swept in at 12:01 am and bought 20 of them for 10 years.
    Any person or company with a bone to pick and a decent amount of SEO experience can knock your organic search results on their rear and create a long-lasting cache of really detrimental PR.

  2. In my 10 years in the domain industry it still amazes me that clients are much more focussed on being reactive than proactive. If they got the domain name the first time around (when we recommend them to register it), instead of trying to recover it later with an UDRP or paying the registrant a fee. Another important aspect is to check that your Whois details are correct. Many use an email to register or administrate the domain which they later abandon, only to let someone else get the chance of taking over that email (and in worst case the domain). I just did a post a couple of weeks ago regarding how you can actually steal a domain name with that process.

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