If you’re reading this, you may be thinking of starting your own business. First of all, we hope you go for it. Having your own business gives you a sense of purpose that is pretty hard to come by when working for somebody else. You get to make a real impact on people’s lives and make the decisions that help move your life forward. We got your back.
Alright, so now for the reason you’re really here. What’s the first thing you need to do when you’re about to start your own business? The surprising answer to this question is GET THE DOMAIN NAME.
Look, it’s no secret we live in an online world. Whether you’re selling products, services, or even if you’re a non-profit, the way people interact with you and your business is typically online. Having a website allows people to review your products, buy your services, and get a better feeling for your company.
You probably knew that already though, but why is it so crucial that you do this first? Well, obtaining the rights to a domain name is a relatively cheap investment compared to the rest of your business needs. For instance, buying a domain name on a website like GoDaddy.com usually only costs anywhere from $0.99 to $20.00. You can generally purchase multiple domains with similar addresses for less than an Uber Ride to your cousin Lenny’s house.
“If this is so cheap, then why does when I buy matter?” It matters because once the host sells those rights, the person who bought them has the power to sell them at the price they want. That means that the new owner of that domain can ask for thousands of dollars for a domain name that cost less than a cup of coffee the day before. (There’s a really good episode of The League on FXX about this very issue).
“I get that, but how would other people know what name I want”? So, this is the real reason why the first thing you want to do is get the domain name. When people open businesses, they have to file documents with the secretary of state. Many people go a step further and do things like secure their trademarks on an intent to use basis with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). The documents that these business owners are filing become public record. This means that anyone can go online and search for information about your business. Bring in the Domain Pirates. ARRRG.
“What in the world is a Domain Pirate. You’re just making stuff up now, aren’t you”? I wish I were. In the legal field, we refer to Domain Pirates, the people who look through the aforementioned public information and use their research to purchase domains (website addresses) before the business owner. What they do is try to scoop up the website addresses that they believe that business owner will want to use and, in turn, sell it to that business owner at a premium price. Well, if the name of your business is going to be “Zebra Pilates,” it’s going to be hard to explain to people why your website URL is anything different. Even worse, it’s going to cause confusion among potential customers and probably lose many potential clients.
Look, there are remedies against these Domain Pirates, but unfortunately, it involves hiring attorneys and the cost of bringing the issue to court potentially. In many instances, it would probably be cheaper just to pay the $4,000 the Domain Pirate is asking for.
We want you to start your business on the right foot. We also want you to be able to reach your potential customers/clients with ease. That’s why do yourself a favor, and before you file any documents with any government agency, make sure you get the domain name first. Also, let’s make sure that we get the domain name before posting our business intentions on social media. The last thing you want is your ex-boyfriend Kenny to see your post and try to race you to the domain name as a revenge movie.
If you’re starting a business, make sure you contact us, and please remember, My Brand Esquire, More than a Law Firm.