In simple terms, a domain name is the address through which internet users can access a website, for example, www.companyname.co.za or www.companyname.africa or www.companyname.com. Although these addresses are reflected in Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, domain names provide easy-to-recall access for users. Domain name protection is important for protecting brands and trade marks online. Domain names, like trade marks, are assets to any business and it is thus essential to have a domain name strategy in place.
Examples of domain names
In South Africa, the most popular domain names include:
- .co.za – specific to South Africa.
- .com – global.
- .africa – specific to Africa.
Other examples of domain names include:
Domain name process (search, registration and renewal)
The first step in domain name protection is conducting a domain name search to establish whether the preferred domain name is available. Once it has been established that the preferred domain is available, Smit & Van Wyk can register the domain name with the appropriate registrar on your behalf. Immediately after the domain is under a company’s control, it can host a website and serve emails. For example, the “companyname.co.za” domain can be used for the website (www.companyname.co.za) and to serve emails (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Importantly, if a preferred domain is established as available, it should be registered as early as possible. Domain squatters, who look to register company domains in the hope of selling them for a profit later, monitor the trade mark and company name registers to identify potential targets.
Domain names must be renewed annually. A failure to renew a domain will result in expiration, preventing further use of the domain and associated websites and mailboxes. Expired domain names revert to available domains, resulting in the possibility of others acquiring the domain. Recovering a domain name after expiry is a complicated process with an un-guaranteed result. It is therefore important to renew the domain name as long as a company requires it.
Business Start-up Package
Smit & Van Wyk offers a business start-up package for companies that are just starting up. The package includes the following services at a reduced cost:
- Company name reservation,
- Company registration,
- Domain name search,
- Domain name registration,
- One trade mark search in one class, and
- One trade mark registration in one class.
For more information pertaining to our start up package, please refer to company start-up package.