Having worked in the industry for many years now, I have seen all shapes and sizes of domain portfolios. Whilst understanding the value of your trademark portfolio can be a difficult process, establishing the value of your domain portfolio can be achieved using the expertise and tools your domain service provider can provide. The two fundamental principals in managing any domain portfolio are to ensure the names are renewed and that the domains point somewhere relevant. However, if you want to generate the greatest return on your domain name investments, you should be considering developing a sound domain policy. A good starting point is to run through a simple S.W.O.T. analysis, with the help of your Account Manager.
STRENGTHS: Identify your top 5-10 trademarks and map those strings out across your portfolio. You should already have exact matches of those marks registered in your key jurisdictions/markets.
WEAKNESSES: Identify the gaps across at minimum, the exact matches of your core marks and understand which extensions within those jurisdictions are of greatest value to your business.
OPPORTUNITIES: Where those gaps are available, pursue the appropriate registrations based on your available budget. Even if you can only cover a small percentage now, make the commitment and prioritise. Investment in the right registrations in the long term can mitigate the risk of infringement, leading to either traffic diversion or the tedious and costly process of domain recovery.
THREATS: Identify existing infringements through appropriate trademark and domain auditing. Lean on your domain provider to help you understand where to be looking. Develop an understanding of where the key areas of infringement are in the domain space and even specific to your industry. Again, prirotise the pursuit of infringers in order to maximize your budget. There are a number of factors that will help you determine which domains you should go after and why.
These are just a few points to focus on when understanding the value of your domain portfolio. Over time you should be able to develop a solid domain policy that will help drive the right registrations to best fit your business. There are endless data sets that your service provider can provide, that ultimately can help you make quantified decisions about your domains, rather than have to make finger in the air judgments that take up your valuable time and ultimately cost your business.
Ultimately you need to be asking yourself, “Am I getting the greatest return on my domain name investments and what do I need to do to reach that goal?” By asking yourself this simple question, you are already on the right path building a living domain and trademark policy for your business.