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Securing a Domain Name and Your Social Media Usernames

By CO Staff @canadaone |

Having a domain name that fits onto a business card, and is easy to remember whether seen in print or mentioned over the phone is very important if you hope to make it easy for people to find your website.

Yet equally important today is having a name that you can secure in popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Linked In.

As business names get gobbled up online, it becomes more challenging to decide what to register.

Do you opt for a .ca domain, which will tends to have more choices than a .com? What about your social media usernames? Are they also available on the most popular social media sites?

With Twitter restricting updates to a mere 140 characters, long usernames can be a real drawback. You want people to talk about what you have said by retweeting your own updates. If you have a long username you will need to leave more room for retweets. (Be careful about being dismissive of sites like Twitter; securing your brand on these platforms can be very important!)

Another issue is branding. If you register less common domain, such as a name with a dash (e.g. vs, which is a variant of a name already in use by an established brand, you may find that people accidentally send emails intended for you to this other site. (This also applies to versions of a domain, for example .net., .ca, .com, etc.)

Losing emails is a big enough problem. Having customers send confidential data to another site in error can be a really big deal.

Also, think about mistakes people will may when they type in your website address. Will they accidentally make spelling mistakes? Will they use the plural form of a word instead of the singular form, or visa versa? Make a list of possible mistakes. Consider if it is worthwhile to register additional domain names that incorporate these mistakes.

A final consideration is trade-marks. Business have lost their rights to domain names that they registered due to conflicts with existing marks for off-line companies. Before registering, there are two sites where you can do free trade-marks searches: Canadian Trade-marks Database and US Trademark Search. Keep in mind that if you register a .com domain, the US trade-marks will over-ride trade-marks from other countries.

Often today getting a great domain is a matter of compromise. Invented words can work out well, but the brilliance of a name like Xerox® is a lot more apparent after it's been registered (and substantial advertising dollars have been spent to create a public awareness of the name), Nonetheless, with a careful investment of time — and possibly by spending money to purchase a domain from a site like — there are still plenty of opportunities to secure a great domain name, as well as its social media variants.

(PS: If you find a great name, you may want to invest in trademark protection!)

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