The start of the .sucks era changed the way companies viewed negative domain names. With the development of the .sucks era came a new outlook on negative domains and a fear associated with their possible usages. The debate on whether anyone should be allowed to buy a company’s negative domain names was controversial as some though anyone should be allowed to buy a negative domain name to use to express their opinions and give companies constructive criticism. Many business owners felt the opposite, fearing the intentional and unintentional harm negative domain names would cause their companies.
The Power of Negative Domains
Negative domains have the power to hinder your business' growth and future success. When examining the power of negative domains, we can break it down into three categories.
Integrity and Reputation
Your brand’s integrity and reputation are everything. They define you as a business and serve as your company’s identity to the world. Damage to your brand’s integrity can greatly affect the relationships you have with your customers. Through negative domains such as (your company name)sucks.com your reputation can be tainted resulting in a loss of customer trust, interest, and loyalty. This can lead to the abandonment of current customers and a decrease in future customers. Protecting your brand is imperative, therefore buying negative domain names is essential to keep your company’s name crystal clean and ensure positive customer relationships.
Power Over Competition
Competition is what drives business; it can destroy you or you can destroy it. Allowing unowned negative domains to float around gives your competition a leg up, as they can buy these domains and use them against you. If your competition were to get ahold of a domain, such as (your product)stinks.com, they have the control to affect how potential and current customers view your business. By purchasing these negative domains before your competition does, you are taking steps to protect your products, services, and future accomplishments.
Internal and External Threats
Protecting yourself in the world of business is essential as internal and external threats exist. Negative domain names are a prime blackmailing source. If negative domain names are to fall into the wrong hands, your company may be susceptible to blackmail or extortion. People known as cyber squatters intentionally buy incriminating domain names and charge companies money not to use them. Not only can this cost your company thousands of dollars, it gives others power over you and your business and the lingering fear of threat.
Internal threats may also exist in the form of bitter employees. A wronged employee may buy negative domain names and use them to seek revenge. Buying negative domains acts as security for your company.
Domains as Investments
Brand specialists and web experts have always advised companies to buy negative domain names for the safety and protection of their company. However, Toys”R”Us and their recent bankruptcy have demonstrated a new use for negative domains. In 2015, Toys”R”Us bought a plethora of negative domain names, from Sex“R"Us to Cabins“R”Us. While the domains helped fend off competitors during the chain's successful years, they are now helping to save the company from completely drowning by acting as investments. Toys”R”Us is selling all of their domain names in order to raise money to pay back their creditor. Ownership of negative domains comes with a hefty price tag but can be used in unconventional ways to save yourself in the long run.
The Good in the Bad
Purchasing negative domain names is controversial as some companies think their brands will speak for themselves while others believe it is imperative to own every potentially damaging domain name. While buying every name is out of the question for many business, it is smart to buy the essential negative domains. By giving the competition or any potential threat a leg up, you are putting yourself at risk of becoming a target to destructive content. Protecting your company and the potential investment associated with negative domains should be the push your company needs to go out and become owners of your negative domain names.
Do you own negative domains associated with your company? Are you interested but not sure where to begin? For this and other eCommerce conundrums, contact our team for help.