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Jan 9 / 2018
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Protect Yourself at All Times: An Interview with Gavin Mills from Safenames

Brand Protection, Domain Management and Online Trademark enforcement for companies across the globe is a paramount feature in today’s increasingly connected world. In this short feature, Gavin Mills from Safenames discussed such issues and their reaction to the gambling industry.

Domain names are one of the essential means of establishing a company’s brand identity. Choosing its name will impact the website’s success, included through search engine optimisation and social media marketing.

Does the choice of a good brand name increase your visibility on Google? In other words – does Google value
the importance of keyword matching in the domain name? The presence of the keyword phrase in the domain used to be a ranking factor itself – is it still the case with last year’s Google updates?

A keyword matching domain name is absolutely still important in terms of search engine ranking. I believe the Google updates you refer to were put in place to stop sites ranking highly simply because of the exact match term within the domain. Now Google are looking more than ever at the content within the site, rather than prioritising the exact match. A great domain with really poor site content will be penalized heavily by Google, this was not so much the case previously.

What would be your advice for those starting up their own online gambling businesses for having a relevant domain name?

For an affiliate the key is acquiring some great exact match domains (in addition to great content), however, these are becoming harder to obtain and more expensive to purchase. The addition of new TLDs over recent years has allowed more room for those looking to enter the market and whilst they are not as attractive for the search engines right now, I really believe they are going to take off over the next few years. For an operator I guess the challenge is very different, as for them it is about marketing and building a brand. One piece of advice I would give to operators is to protect the name at an early stage rather than waiting until the brand is well known and becomes a target for infringement activity. It will be much more cost e ective than taking legal action in the future.

What are the main steps for companies to register their domain name?

For a generic TLD such as.com the registration can be completed within seconds. However, this can get much more complex when you are trying to register domains in various country coded extensions, which have different rule sets and restrictions placed on the registrant. We’ve built a highly successful business around making this process as easy as possible for our clients and through use of our local presence services allowing them to gain access to markets which would otherwise be impossible.

The protection of domain names, online brand identity has been in the spotlight of many litigations in recent years, with cases of cybersquatting, domain name warehousing and the concurrency increase.

How does it work in practice and how can Safenames help online gaming companies to assure their brand protection? What are the legal tools that operators can use to protect their online identity?

One of the main things we do is ensure our clients have a defensive domain registration strategy in place. Many brand owners do not spend the money on protecting their brand in the early days, and end up paying for it later on. This being said, Safenames are able to help retrieve domain names which have been cyber squatted or warehoused. We have in house legal teams which utilise our specialist tools and processes to find infringements, prioritise the worst offenders and take legal actions to either shut sites down or retrieve the domain name(s).

In regard to brand protection, what is the most common form of legal action used within online gaming?

This would be the use of UDRP (Uniform Domain Dispute- Resolution Policy). When our legal team utilize the UDRP we put our case forward to an experienced panel. The panel has the ability to analyse our case and make a decision as to whether our client has the legal right to the domain name(s) or whether it should remain with the current holder. If the decision is made in our favour, the panel will send a request to the registrar and they are legally bound to transfer the domain to our client’s possession. Whenever our client is in a favorable legal position we will advise to take this route.

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