Aug 30, 2021 - by Elisa Cooper
Jenni Jargstorf is a Client Success Manager at GoDaddy Corporate Domains (GCD). In this role, Jenni works with a broad base of large corporate GCD clients, assisting them with their domain portfolio management and their use of the Brandsight platform. Her clients are primarily in the fields of entertainment, consumer goods, insurance, technology, hospitality and healthcare.
Below is an interview with Jenni and Elisa Cooper, GCD’s Head of Marketing, in which Jenni describes challenges facing today’s domain name professionals and how she is helping them troubleshoot problems.
Elisa Cooper: Tell me what a typical day-in-the-life is for you as a senior client success manager for GCD?
Jenni Jargstorf: No day is ever the same. A typical day could include running consolidation projects, assisting with domain acquisitions, guiding people on how to use the Brandsight platform, or advising clients as to how they can keep their domain assets secure and optimized.
Elisa: What does a consolidation project entail?
Jenni: Often, companies have domains housed at a number of different registrars. Sometimes the domain manager has inherited domains from a predecessor who inherited it from somebody else. Other times, there has been no strict policy in place to regulate when and where domains get registered, which makes it tricky for companies to keep track of all their domain assets. Frequently, clients come to GCD to consolidate various registrar accounts into one centralized account with us. This way, they have a clearer “big picture” look at their portfolio and can see what’s going on, and where gaps and opportunities lie.
The first step in consolidations is making sure that the ownership is up-to-date and tidying up the domain portfolio. This involves checking that email addresses are still valid and operational, and ensuring that previous or outdated company names aren’t associated with domains that the company currently owns.
Elisa: How does GCD work with clients that do not want to centralize all domains with one registrar?
Jenni: Some clients like the idea of having certain parts of a portfolio with different registrars. One of the awesome attributes of the Brandsight platform is that clients can have a chunk of domain names managed with us in one section, but then they also have very clear visibility in another section of our platform called the “Tracker”. In the Tracker, they can monitor all these other domain names too, even if they decided not to bring them all under our management.
Elisa: What are some of the trends you’re seeing among your customers, and what challenges do they face on a daily basis?
Jenni: Though environmental factors may change, like the COVID pandemic for example, the challenges domain name professionals deal with are recurring. Our clients have the big responsibility of maintaining the domain names for their organization’s online presence while also keeping an eye on budgets and online security. Clients ask which brands they should register as domains and where to register them. They also are focused on what to keep and what to lapse. It’s a constant balancing act.
Elisa: Do you see a lot of cybersquatting?
Jenni: Yes, cybersquatting is definitely one of the biggest challenges that brand owners and domain portfolio managers face. It will always be an issue because no company or brand can – or should - register every single iteration of their brand, trademarks, and products. This approach is overkill – it’s not cost-effective and there is no way that you can include everything.
If a bad actor is going to register something that infringes on a company’s brands, my advice is to implement a monitoring program so that rogue domain name registrations can be dealt with, as needed.
Elisa: If a client is trying to register a new domain, what will their biggest obstacle be?
Jenni: If a client is trying launch a new brand and is looking to register domains, they will find that they are often unable to register dot com equivalents. Clients may need to acquire the name from someone else, or purchase it on the secondary market, so they need to get way ahead of the launch and be ready with more time and budget. They also need to be prepared with alternate brands in cases where the domains cannot be acquired.
Elisa: Do you see people inventing words for new products and brands because English language words are already taken?
Jenni: Yes, and the funny thing is that a lot of those “made up” domain names are already registered too. Unless it’s a really “far out there” word that someone invents for their startup or their product, it’s already registered. It’s amazing how low the inventory is for dot coms.
Elisa: What about the next round of gTLDs, do you think that’s going to have a big impact when it finally comes?
Jenni: Yes, I think it will, and I’m encouraging the companies I work with to make sure that they keep their trademark clearinghouse marks validated and updated because eventually they’re going to want those to be in place for the next round. They won’t want to be scrambling when the time comes, especially since they will still have to deal with day-to-day management of their domains at the same time.
Elisa: What are the blind spots that clients should be watching out for?
Jenni: There is no substitute for day-to-day diligence on the basic housekeeping of domain name management. Clients must make sure that domains are registered and forwarding somewhere so traffic can be captured. There’s also the flip-side of the equation where budgets are always important, so we help clients make sure that portfolios are pared down to eliminate unnecessary domain-related expenses.
Clients should assume that any domains that they allow to lapse will get scooped up by a speculator, whether that is a bot or person. I advise my clients to weigh whether or not it will cost more to maintain renewal of some of their less useful domain names or to recover it if it falls into the hands of a third party. And if it falls into the hands of a third party that then does something nefarious with it that could harm the brand’s reputation, will they have to engage in litigation or trying to get the domain back again? That’s the sort of balance that our clients have to strike because they need to be monitoring the names and make sure that they’re protecting their consumers and their brand reputation. However, as was mentioned earlier, it is not feasible for them to register and maintain domains for every single iteration of a brand name. It’s a constant challenge.
Elisa: Are domain investors watching for names to expire?
Jenni: Domains with generic words are quite valuable on the after-market (after they have been dropped.) Clients may do better by trying to sell their own names so they can recoup some of their budget. Otherwise, if they simply drop the domain name, someone else will likely scoop it up and resell it.
Elisa: How does the Brandsight platform and GCD help clients on a daily basis?
Jenni: Since many of my clients are consolidating with us, we need to bring all their domains into our platform. The Brandsight platform helps clients to centralize and optimize their portfolio so they can leverage and manage all their domain assets.
Some clients are seeing issues with domain names not resolving, and they contact us for help. With these, our team has the opportunity to redirect them, whether it’s just to our homepage or to a generic parking page so that we can start to track traffic. If a domain name is not resolving, we need to do some detective work to find out what’s going on. Our platform can easily be used to identify that list of names. Other clients may want to identify attributes of their domains and pull reports for their IT teams, and our platform can do that, too.
Bringing with her 20 years of marketing experience, Elisa Cooper joined the company in 2017 to lead the organization’s marketing strategy and execution. A domain name industry veteran, Elisa has worked closely with many Fortune 1000 companies in assisting with domain and brand protection policy development and has spoken and written extensively on these topics.
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