Corporate domain name portfolios often consist of domain names that do not resolve to relevant content. In fact, it’s not uncommon for less than half of corporate domains to point to live content. Sure there are domains such as those that point to “sucks” sites or those registered anonymously for future use that purposely do not resolve, but those are the exception to the rule. Most domains that do not resolve were registered defensively or acquired via acquisition — without much thought given to where the domains should actually point.
The best practice is to ensure that all non-core domains point to relevant content. Using domain forwarding, which is a common feature provided by corporate registrars, is a quick and easy way to accomplish this. It allows corporations to view historical traffic statistics to understand whether the name is being visited and should be renewed. Of course, for domains that do not appear to point to content, it is critical to understand whether DNS records such as MX records exist, before updating nameservers to support domain forwarding. Just because a domain does not appear to resolve, does not mean that it is not being used for mail or for some other internal application.
A common question that is asked, is often around how much traffic should a domain receive in order for it to be considered valuable? Of course, that depends. Raw numbers can be useful, but tracking conversion rates provides powerful evidence for understanding the value of a domain.
So if a domain does not receive any traffic, should it be allowed to lapse? While traffic is a good place to start when paring a portfolio, there are still a number of other factors to consider before lapsing any domain including whether DNS records exist, the domain was previously recovered, it supports an existing brand, it has inherent value, and the brand owner has cleared the name for expiration. However, the most important question to ask is if the domain were to be reregistered by a squatter, would that be OK?
While traffic is not the only measure by which to value the importance of a domain, it certainly can be helpful in making renewal decisions, and when determining what to lapse, it is a logical place to start.
Written by Elisa Cooper, SVP Marketing and Policy at Brandsight, Inc.