Domain Name | Nathan Ives | Digital Products Platform | Digital Business

Five Things You Should Advise Your Client to Do with That Defensively Registered Domain

Domain Name | Nathan Ives | Digital Products Platform | Digital BusinessAs a trusted legal advisor, you have taken valiant measures to protect your client’s brand against evil cybersquatters, typo-squatters, domain tasters, and other nefarious enemies by defensively registering a domain. Your client has already spent money to buy the domain, so why not provide your client additional value by encouraging him or her to put the domain to work instead of letting it just gather dust in the registrar account?

Indeed, defensive registration of a new domain is an exciting opportunity for a brand to tell its story, and perhaps more importantly, to attempt something bold, innovative, and exciting. Here are five inexpensive and easy ways your client can utilize that new domain right now:

  1. Use the domain for a microsite or micro campaign. You’ve got to admit that www.yourbrand.rockslooks great on a billboard – certainly much better than a QR code – and it sounds great on the radio. It’s just different enough to turn heads and to position your brand as savvy to emerging tech trends and developments.
  2. Redirect the domain to a third-party social platform. Is your client’s brand on Facebook? YouTube? Periscope? If so, there’s a good chance that your client is getting lost in a lengthy and forgettable domain such as or By redirecting to your Facebook page, to your YouTube page, and to your client’s Periscope page, your client is providing customers and audience with a memorable and quality path to content that puts the brand front and center.
  3. Use the domain to emphasize a page on the client’s website that’s not getting its fair share of attention. It can be challenging to direct an audience to a specific page of your client’s website, especially if the user has to navigate an extensive website menu in order to get there. By setting that new domain to redirect to a particular page in the website, your client is providing his or her audience with a clear and exciting path to that content, whether it’s leading to a careers or company culture page or as a showcase for a corporate philanthropy page.
  4. Use the domain to aggregate the client’s social media streams or track a particular hashtag. Whether your client’s brand is hosting a contest or giveaway or your client simply wants to make the most of the brand’s social network aggregation by sharing the feed with his or her audience, pointing a descriptive and unique domain at that feed is a great way to celebrate this content as a destination. For social media aggregation, domains like and are fantastic options.
  5. Augment the client’s Search Engine Marketing (SEM) efforts. There are more websites and third-party content to compete with than ever before, meaning that getting found is half the battle. A recent study of the 100 most expensive keywords on Google revealed that the industry specificity of these searches happens to coincide with—and in many cases exactly match – these search terms. By redirecting a keyword-rich domain to your website, or by outright transitioning to a more keyword-rich domain, brands can significantly improve their search engine rankings even in the most competitive fields, like law. When personal injury attorney Eric S. Block realized he couldn’t match his competitors’ SEM spending, he decided to make the transition from to Where the previous website had failed to rank at all for any relevant search terms, Eric Block’s new .attorney website ranks first for the search term “Jacksonville + Attorney.”

Your clients have already invested in a marvelous tool, so why not help them put that tool to use? Don’t let your clients’ money go to waste!

About the Author

Statton Hammock | Nathan IvesStatton Hammock is responsible for guiding Rightside on business, legal, and policy matters related to its registry operations. Prior to joining Rightside, Statton spent five years with Network Solutions as Sr. Director of Law and Policy, where he provided legal and strategic business advice related to the protection of intellectual property rights, Internet governance, data security and privacy, and compliance with ICANN policies related to the provisioning, sale, and use of domain names.

Stylistic Uniformity | Nathan Ives | Digital Products Platform | Digital Business

Stylistic Uniformity

Stylistic Uniformity | Nathan Ives | Digital Products Platform | Digital BusinessWith the myriad of communications bombarding your customers, it’s increasingly important to get your message across as quickly and concisely as possible.  In fact, the average person’s attention span is only 6 – 8 seconds!

Effective branding visually conveys your message in a manner that subconsciously communicates key elements of your message without words.  Think of the best known brands and their stylistic communications…

  • Apple’s clean, white, contemporary backgrounds, images and styling;
  • Nike’s bold athleticism and swoosh;
  • Coke’s cool, wet red, and silver; and
  • IBM’s big blue.

In each case, the branding communicates volumes without printing or saying a word.  And everything the respective company publishes embodies uniformity in styling so to ensure viewers immediately recognize their communication and register the desired message.


Achieving this level of immediate brand recognition requires discipline and uniformity in the styling of all of your communications from your website and social media accounts to your presentations, videos, and podcasts to your stationary, letterhead, and business cards.

Key Elements

Immediate brand recognition occurs through consistent, repetition of messaging.  Receivers of your messages should always ‘see’ the same styling such that, over time, they come to associate the uniqueness of your styling with your business and its characteristics.  Key styling elements include:


The specific color combinations used across all of your communications, platforms, and products should be the same.  But how can you define an array of colors that both reflect your company and look good together?  One simple method is to use the predefined color scheme used within your website’s theme.  As is typically the case, these color combinations have been defined by professionals with an eye for what works together.  Simply choose the scheme that aligns with your desired messaging and then apply those colors across all of your many internal and external communications mechanisms.


Like colors, character fonts visually communicate the uniqueness of your brand.  Be careful to choose a font that is web and printer friendly; taking the lead from your website theme often works well.


Images illicit feelings among viewers and photographers each tend to exhibit a unique approach to the stylizing of their images.  Images may be contemporary, rustic, real-life, illustrated, etcetera.  Choose and image style that conveys the desired feeling about your business and consistently use those types of images.


Visual depth represents another styling variation.  Flat (lacking depth) is a cooler, contemporary styling whereas shadowed (deep) imaging is a warmer, conservative styling.  Whichever approach you choose, apply it consistently across all of your communications mechanisms.

Other Features

There are many other opportunities to reinforce your messaging through consistent styling including:

  • Logo (styling application and consistent use)
  • Taglines
  • Trademarking
  • Bullets (both type and color)
  • Icons (consistent application/use and color)
  • Indenting
  • Framing (images and text)
How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online | Nathan Ives | Digital Business

Three Keys to a Good Online Reputation

Headlines today are filled with cell phone videos of bad behavior, verbal attacks in the twitter-verse, and disturbing incidents of cyberbullying. In our everyday lives, disgruntled customers or employees tarnish reputations of local businesses or past employers and jobs are lost or never offered because of inappropriate social media sharing. Business owners who want to have better control of their reputation online should follow these three key pieces of advice:

How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online | Nathan Ives | Digital Business1. Build your reputational firewall

Build your online firewall. If your business could be hijacked by negative reviews and online attacks, then you need to ensure that you regularly publish your positive news and build a legacy of positive internet results. It’s tougher for negative information to take center stage in the future if there’s already a lot of positive information anchoring top search results.

Stake your claim to your name. This is really basic stuff but it merits repeating. In a crisis, it is important for your customers and the public to be able to hear your news as directly as possible from the source. Your company should have a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and a LinkedIn page if for no other reason than it verifies your company’s identity and authenticates your news.

Address negative info. If there’s negative information about your company posted online, you have to react in some way. Review sites generally enable companies to respond to comments, both positive and negative. Take advantage of this option. Damaging content can be removed in some cases, but simply allowing negative information to remain unchecked is typically not a good strategy.

2. Get a handle on online review sites

Review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List and Glassdoor are growing in both popularity and authority with search engines. The more companies participate on the sites, the bigger the sites become and authority grows. The impact is building. As one review site executive said to me: “The genie is out of the bottle.” Review sites are here, they are dominating search results, and they can’t be ignored.

Claim or create your company page on the main review sites. Your company may not yet have a listing on a site like Yelp, but any customer or interested party could create one without your knowledge and certainly without your consent. Business owners should look at the main review sites and either claim their page if one has already been created or create their own listing – this will give you a small level of control.

Build out your review site listings. Across the board, executives from review sites recommend completing profiles and adding information to business listings. Up-to-date photos, videos and descriptions increase page views as well as interest from prospective customers or employees. Plain listings without images look stale as customers on review sites are typically interested in getting current information.

Engagement. Likely the biggest trend in online reviews centers on engagement. Interaction between businesses and their customers helps build the overall sense of community, and executives from review sites universally advocate for responding to both positive and negative reviews.

Don’t try to fix “crazy.” When speaking with one executive who has had tremendous success with Yelp, he mentioned that they have some very simple rules. His company will bend over backwards for his customers, but “we don’t do crazy.” Sometimes customers have outrageous expectations, and every business owner has dealt with clients who may not be “all there in the head.”

3. In case of emergency, know your options

When confronted with negative online content that hinders your business or damages your reputation, the best advice is to remain calm and make a sound assessment. While the first reaction may be to blast away at the hate blog, defamatory post, negative news article, or nasty review, we have found that it makes more sense to slow down and develop a strategy before confronting the source.

Negotiate removal. Most websites are run by legitimate businesses that have no interest in publishing false, tasteless or potentially defamatory content. Of course, some sites are run by neurotic bloggers, but the vast majority have sensible human beings at the controls. If you are dealing with negative web postings or negative articles posted on a corporate site or corporate message board, it may be possible to negotiate removal.

Suppress, push-down or bury. When you research online reputation management companies, you quickly learn that they offer a distinct service known in the industry as “suppression.” They will create new, benign web content with the hopes of pushing down or suppressing negative search results. This tactic can be very effective, but it isn’t always the best solution, or the most economical

The idea is that you flood the Internet with positive content about you or your company and work to push down, bury, or “suppress,” the negative content. Information is not removed from search results but rather pushed farther down the search result pages to a point where fewer people will see it.

Remove it using the Covert Ops of reputation management. One of the Internet’s big secrets is that digital is not necessarily forever. The common belief is that once something is posted online, it will stay there forever. Many people endure a feeling of helplessness at this thought, but options exist. Content can actually be removed from search results and sometimes entirely from cyberspace. There are folks who can make things disappear from search results. It’s a fairly exclusive thing and exactly how it works I can’t explain, but we have been able to get stories and posts completely removed from search results These tactics are not the same thing as suppression, which pushes negative information further down the search results. I’m talking about either removing or hiding negative content.

More information about protecting your online reputation is available in How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online (Career Press, October 2016).

About the Author

John P. DavidFor more than 25 years, John P. David has counseled businesses and executives on strategic communications and marketing issues. He has developed a specialty helping clients facing online attacks because, sadly, anyone can publish negative information online, seemingly without consequences. His strategic communications firm, David PR Group, counsels clients in the areas of marketing, reputation management, and public relations. He frequently writes about communications and strategy on The Huffington Post. Follow him at @JohnPDavid.