LIKE business names and trade marks, domain names are now a valuable component of a company’s marketing and promotional strategy.Arthur Robinson & Hederwicks senior associate Sarah White said, originally, domain names were intended to assist users to locate computers on the Internet byproviding alphabetic addresses for computers that were easier to remember and identify than underlying numeric Internet protocol addresses.“Domain names have begun to acquire significant, independent value as identifiers of the individuals and businesses with whom the domain names are associated,” Ms White said.“Internet users searching for the web site of a particular business will tend, as a first step, to guess that business’s domain name by typing in its business name or familiar trade marks followed by the suffix for the relevant domain space such as .com if searching for an American or international site.“If the ‘guessing’ process is not successful, users may then try searching the web site using an Internet search engine.“Therefore, the more obvious a connection between a domain name and a business name or trade mark, the easier it will be for Internet users to find their way to the business or trade mark owners web site and the more valuable the domain name to the business or trade mark owner.”Vianet managing director Tony Broughton said web sites auctioning domain names were doing big business.“Every business, whether they think they need it now or not, needs a domain name,” Mr Broughton said.“Even if you don’t use it immediately, register it or one of your competitors will beat you to it.”Mr Broughton said many companies were not able to get the domain name of their choice.“A client rang us recently to see if their domain name was still available. It was so we told them to register it,” he said.“They didn’t register it immediately. Then they called up the following day saying they wanted to do so.“When we checked again, the name had been taken by a company in Sydney involved in the same industry.“The worst thing about it is they had used that address already in Yellow Pages advertising at a cost of $20,000.“Their advertising is now only serving to send clients to their competitor,” he said.Mr Broughton said .com.au domain names were coming down in price and domain names such as perth.com had yet to be registered.“Wallst.com sold for around $4 million,” he said.
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