Managing domain names is not for the faint of heart. Its many complexities and challenges have only increased in recent years. In a study from 2020, about 50% of corporate domain name managers said that managing corporate domain name portfolios has become more difficult over the past year.
Companies know domain names are important to their businesses, but clarity is often lacking about who has ultimate responsibility for domains. As companies grow, more stakeholders become involved, including digital marketing, legal, and more. Confusion and disconnects from poor management are potentially costly and damaging to the organization.
The Rise of Domain Name Councils (DNCs)
Forward-thinking companies have acknowledged managing domains is a cross-functional issue that requires input and oversight from several departments. These organizations have established internal Domain Name Councils (DNCs) which meet on a regular basis and oversee their corporate domain name policy.
DNCs help companies eliminate silos and foster interdepartmental collaboration on domain management. A company's DNC can address key goals for the domain name portfolio, including security, portfolio right-sizing, domain name expenses, domain names redirecting to relevant traffic, and defensive registration to protect brands online.
Paring Back Portfolios
DNCs are helpful when it comes to commonly needed tasks like paring back domain name portfolios. Over time, large corporations pick up many domains they probably won't need for the long term. However, one department cannot make decisions in a vacuum about which domains to keep or discard. Since DNCs combine people from the business, legal and technology areas, they can take the list of domains and review it with all relevant people around the table so each faction has an opportunity to comment.
Prepared During a Crisis
In March 2020, when organizations suddenly transitioned to working from home, DNCs were able to convene quickly to determine how the company's domain name assets could be adjusted to accommodate this massive change. DNCs were already focused on domain issues, therefore, when the pandemic hit, they could immediately focus on addressing specific issues such as whether defensive registration strategies needed to be revised.
GDPR and CCPA Impact
DNCs are helpful in addressing the impact of data privacy compliance regulations. GDPR and CCPA both impact domain name management on the brand protection side and affect the ability to identify infringement sources.
Determining Defensive Registration Strategy
How to determine which domains to register and where to register them are common concerns from both offensive and defensive perspectives. Legal wants to mitigate potential risks to the organization while marketing is focused on what campaigns are happening and where, and IT is thinking about the back-end. By having the right people around the virtual table, DNCs put companies in a much better position to launch a brand so everyone is consulted and opportunities are maximized, not missed.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
By meeting quarterly or even twice a year, DNCs can save companies considerable time and money, keeping the domain portfolio healthy and strong to serve the organization's goals. Done right, the DNC will be rigorous enough to uphold the company's policies and government regulations, but also flexible enough to be inclusive and account for ebb-and-flow as new people join the group and goals for the group evolve.
A company's DNC creates a sense of camaraderie so participants feel like they're part of a bigger team under a bigger tent. Instead of being on a proverbial island managing 10,000 domain names on their own, they are part of a team, a winning one.
About the Author
Matt Serlin is Head of Client Success and Operations at GoDaddy Corporate Domains.