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The Perils and Delights of Launching a New Business: Part 2 - Domains, Domains, Domains!!

The Perils and Delights of Launching a New Business: Part 2 - Domains, Domains, Domains!!

11 Jul 09:00 by Steve Twinley

Library of cheeky monkeys searching for domain names to register and sell on

So we came up with the name Next Phase Recruitment (remember Part 1?) and it felt and sounded right. Then the reality dawned on me. This could actually work. Here was a name that A) represented what we do as a company, B) didn’t sound overly pretentious, C) looked good written now, and D) hadn’t been taken (ok it had, but by a company in America that was no longer trading). We were one step along the path towards rebranding. Eek.

My immediate thought was, I need to register the company on Companies House, before anyone else does. All the to-ing and fro-ing when coming up with a new name had taught me that pretty much any name or combination of letters had already been registered, so surely now was the time to register Next Phase Recruitment Ltd while it was still available. I was very close to doing this when I was given some crucial advice from my Accountant: Buy the web domains first.

I had not even thought about this. But apparently there are web domain companies (let’s call them “opportunistic cheeky monkeys”) who monitor Companies House so closely that, the minute someone registers a new company name, they snap up all of the URLs that that person might want. So, if I registered “Steve Twinley Limited” (ok, not the most snappy name for a business), someone out there would buy stevetwinley.com, stevetwinley.co.uk, steve-twinley.com etc etc etc (don’t try those links by the way – there’s no knowing what you might find!).

The aforementioned Opportunistic Cheeky Monkeys then contact the new company owner and demand extortionate amounts of money (often thousands) for the URLs that had, up until the new company had been registered, been available for a few pounds. Ah, the digital revolution.

So my advice is, if you are thinking of setting up your own business, whatever it might be and in whatever sector, don’t register the company on Companies House until you have bought all the web domains that you can possibly think of first. It’ll typically cost £1 - £10 per year per domain, but this could save you thousands in the longer term and you can minimise the risks of someone else setting up a copycat company with a similar web to yours.