Love him politically or hate him, Donald Trump's strategy cannot be labelled "timid".  Recently the news included a story that Jeb Bush had failed to renew or claim jebbush.com.  Though the page was blank and, thus, no cause for concern, it now redirects to donaldjtrump.com.

Wait, that's not Jeb!

My friend, former co-worker, and fellow YouTube star Gabe Pytel wasted no time on Facebook asking me if the stunt looked familiar.  Of course it did.

One day early in my career my general manager and I were buying domain names for our particular auto group.  In the course of the process we discovered that the two closest auto groups, both of which eschewed any thoughts of an Internet advertising strategy, had only one domain apiece registered.  For a quick investment of $100 we soon owned multiple derivatives of our competitors' names.

In the world of SEO, unless we were going to build and optimize sites on these domains, they were likely to be all but invisible in organic search.  I bought them, however, because the tablet and smart phone browsers that were emerging were increasingly combining search into the address bar.  By redirecting these domains to my dealer site, someone who would type into their tablet browser "mycompetitorautogroup.com" would suddenly end up on my site.

Oh yeah!  Got 'em!


 It was more an exercise in fun than a quest for meaningful conversion.  It was also going to be fun to see how long it would take for the competition to even notice.  One of them was tipped off within a few weeks by one of our salespeople.  He called one of the owners in a red faced rant about how he was going to have me arrested by the FBI and thrown into federal prison, etc. etc.  That was funny.  It's hard to say if the other would ever have noticed.  We gave them all back.  They didn't even charge the $100, which would have been a small price to pay for the lesson learned, but that was their choice to make.

While it makes for a funny story to tell around the water cooler my stunt, which I'd like to believe inspired The Don, should serve as a reminder to all business owners.  I would not recommend wasting money on every possible derivative and variation of your business name, but at least own the basics.  If your business name is frequently misspelled or prone to error through fat finger syndrome, perhaps you should register the misspelling, too, and redirect it.  Laws protect you from trademark squatters, but who really wants to go to that expense or face the embarrassment of Jeb, and ... I won't mention his name.

Hey, it's my website..no...wait...NOVAK!

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