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How to avoid mistakes when buying web domains

Keep your web address costs down to a minimum

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News of the potential sale of domain name sales giant GoDaddy.com for more than $2 billion sparked me to research how many domains are in use today. And a quick Internet query turned that info right up.

According to DailyChanges.com, there currently are 130,676,830 active domains operating with the ".com," ".net," ".org," ".info," ".biz" and ".us" extensions.

As of Monday (June 27), DailyChanges, which monitors activity of all those generic top level domains, logged 95,979 names deleted and 82,175 names added. The deleted pile must include domain owners that are cleaning house on all the names they've collected over the years.

It's an exercise I highly recommend for CFOs and their teams. In fact, it's one of my favourite topics.

Chances are you own and annually pay for domains that you no longer need. Out-of-date products, projects that have since shuttered and placeholders for products that never materialised probably constitute some portion of your domain name stockpile. Getting rid of even a fraction of these will save money over the long run.

I recommend searching whois.net, a database of registered domains, to identify all the names your company currently owns. Take the time to go to each of those addresses to see what content exists. You might be able to tell right off the bat if the material is no longer in use and the domain can be let go.

There will be another portion of the domains that will need to be cleared with legal, marketing and product teams. Hand them a copy of the report and ask them to note which domains are in active use, which are being held for projects in the works, and which are for trademark protection.

At the end of this exercise, you should have a clear idea of domains that are core to the business, those that are waiting to go live, and those that are associated with your brand. Those that don't fit into any of these categories are fit for deletion.

This audit can be carried out regularly to ensure that your domains stay aligned with your present and future business goals and objectives.


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