Registering domain namesFor most new parents, the birth of a child involves rushing around and making last minute purchases for items that may have been missed in preparation for the new arrival. Nappies, dummies and formula are all relatively common items. However millennial movie star Ashton Kutcher has added a more unusual item to the shopping list – domain names.

The 36-year-old admitted during an interview with Conan O’Brien that one of the first things he did after arriving home with his new daughter Wyatt Isabelle, was to register all available domains that matched her name.

“We immediately went home and we reserved all the domain names. We got the Twitter handle, the Instagram—everything that you could possibly [have].”

The question is, why would anyone make domain names a priority purchase for a newborn?

Domain names and reputation

In the same way that hackers often buy domain names in the hope of defrauding people with a site that looks and sounds similar to an established brand, others create sites intended to harass or defame. As Kutcher said, “I don’t want a porn site with my daughter’s name! It’s unacceptable to me and it’s not gonna happen!”

By registering domain names as soon as he had chosen a name for his daughter, Ashton and his wife Mila Kunis have taken long-term action to protect Wyatt’s reputation. However the couple is adamant that they did not choose ‘Wyatt Isabelle’ based on domain name availability!

A lesson for businesses

It may seem quite extreme to buy up domain names and social media accounts for a baby, but it was done in the name of protecting their daughter’s reputation, which is something that businesses can, (and should) emulate. Whenever launching a new brand or product, your business must seek the domain naming rights in the same way you would trademarks and patents.

The relatively small cost of domain name registration offers no excuse for failing to collect applicable website addresses. The cost of trying to recover from reputational damage is likely to be far higher than the registration fee – normally as little as £5 per year for a for instance.

Another factor for consideration

Taking a step back, your business should also be considering domain name availability before settling on a name for the product/service.

Just as naming a child is an awesome responsibility, so too is choosing your brand or product name, and joining all the dots for your company’s online presence. When you have finally settled on something that ‘fits’, make sure you do a Kutcher and grab all the available domain names and online profiles to prevent problems for your ‘baby’ in the future.

This will ensure that your branding is aligned across all communications channels and your customers will not inadvertently be sent to a competitor when they try and access your website.

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