As a business, one of your top 5 priorities, if not THE top priority, is to ensure that you retain your domain name. This is not only to prevent customer confusion when they land on a “This Webpage Is Not Available” message rather than your business’s website, but also to keep your competitors from buying up your domain and using your web traffic to their advantage.

A few Republican candidates in the 2016 Presidential race have learned this the hard way. Most notably, the folks over at Jeb Bush’s camp forgot to renew the domain name JebBush.com. Consequentially, the domain fell into the wrong hands (in the perspective of Jeb Bush) and has now been hijacked to promote the opposition’s campaign. The domain now redirects to none other than “DonaldTrump.com,” and the first thing one sees as they land on the site is the unmistakable Donald Trump logo with his now famous “Make American Great Again!” slogan beneath it.

Donald Trump Jeb Bush

However, as incredulous as this scenario may seem, Jeb Bush’s campaign’s massive blunder actually isn’t the first to ravage the GOP party. CarlyFiorina.org was sitting there for the taking, but before Carly Fiorina could purchase it someone had scooped it up and used it to get some feelings out about her days as an executive for HP. The site now displays this message:

Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain.

So I’m using it to tell you how many people she laid off at Hewlett-Packard.

It was this many:

The colon is followed by 30,000 frownie-faces that continue seemingly endlessly down the page. This certainly did not help her struggling campaign’s case, and last month Fiorina dropped out of the race (though not necessarily because of this incident – but like I said, it didn’t help).

Ted Cruz also got a little busy on his campaign trail and forgot to revisit that email he may have skimmed over reminding him to renew his domain. As a result, the domain “TedCruz.com” is now backing President Obama and immigration reform via this message:

SUPPORT PRESIDENT OBAMA.

IMMIGRATION REFORM NOW!

So, as a digital marketing company, why bring all this to light? The answer is simple: whether you’re in the public sector or private sector, you ALWAYS need to keep track of your digital assets, including your website and domain, to ensure you are maintaining your online presence without handing over all of your hard work to your competitors. I would assume all of these campaigns spent a lot of advertising dollars on directing traffic to their websites, and worked to improve their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to climb the ranks of Google and be more visible to searchers.

All of this work went to waste with some poor oversight, and now their competitors, as well as vigilante-like citizens, have used the candidates’ own names to pursue a totally different agenda. I urge you to check up on your domain renewal deadline, and ensure that you’re covered for at least a few years out to protect yourself from competitors who desperately would love to have your domain (especially if it contains vital keyword or location specific information). In addition, if you have a domain name in mind for your business and find out that it is available, I strongly urge you purchase it before someone else does!

Once you purchase your new domain, or renew your existing one, take note of the shape that your current website is in that is being hosted on the domain. Is it outdated? Does it send the right message to your audience? Is there even a website on the domain at all? After you have assessed the state of your website, determined whether or not you need to purchase a new website and get it optimized for search engines. After all, your domain is your investment and is a representation of your business – unless of course you forget to renew your domain name.

Need to set up a new domain and website? Contact the web experts at Davies Media Design today!

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