A fresh look at domain name management


Matt Serlin

A fresh look at domain name management

Cecilie_Arcurs / iStockphoto.com

Several factors should be addressed when companies are considering whether to change the way they manage their domain name portfolios, says Matt Serlin of corporate domain name registrar Brandsight.

Domain name management in large corporations has changed considerably over the last decade, but there is still one constant: organisationally, corporations struggle with where to manage domains within the enterprise. I believe it’s this struggle that has prevented a truly complete product coming to market.

When speaking to companies today, it’s clear that domains are managed in very different ways in each company—from digital marketing to legal to IT, managers of corporate domain name portfolios have a varied background.

Different users of any technology have different needs and the same is true for domain management. An individual in an IT department is going to be much more focused on things such as traffic analysis and SSL certifications (small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organisation’s details) than, say, someone in the legal department who is going to look at things in relation to registered trademarks and other intellectual property.

These differences in how domain names are managed have led to products in the market that try to satisfy each type of user, with varying degrees of success. Bringing together functionality that addresses a wide range of users is challenging. For the most part, no single domain management solution has been able to meet every need.

To address the gaps in technology, companies have implemented a variety of solutions ranging from the very sophisticated (deploying internal technology resources to build tools and integrate multiple data sources) to the old standbys like spreadsheets and email. Every company has its own unique way of managing its domains, so what can be done to make the experience better?

First, understanding the needs of different types of domain name professionals is paramount and domain name registrars should be spending time talking to their users about how technology can make their jobs easier. It’s amazing to hear stories of all the manual work being done to manage domains that could be addressed by technology.

Looking at the multitude of data points related to domain names and trying to pull those together from a number of different sources is also key. Companies are trying to get as much intelligence about their domains and the associated assets (trademarks, SSL certifications, etc) to provide a comprehensive view to enable better, data-driven decisions about the portfolio. That said, synchronising all that data is often an uphill battle.

A need for change?

Should companies change the way they are managing their domain name portfolios?

In most cases, probably not. Companies should continue to manage within the departments, using the business processes that make the most sense for them. But when it comes to selecting domain management technology, companies should consider evaluating vendors based on the following criteria:

  • Is the platform flexible and highly customisable? As domain management is performed by myriad functions within the organisation, the deployed technology needs to account for that by providing as much flexibility as possible. System configurability is essential, so that the needs of every user within the organisation can be met.
  • Does the system contain the various data points required across the organisation? Domain names and their associated assets have powerful data that can be tracked and reported, so having technology to gather and present this information to users can streamline processes and provide valuable insight.
  • Is reporting robust and configurable? From talking to users of existing systems, it is clear that corporate domain name managers spend a considerable amount of time pulling together reports from different data sources to get a comprehensive view into their entire domain name portfolio. Often these reports are run on a regular basis but are consistently manual in nature when it would seem automation would greatly improve the efficiency of such reporting.

Companies should expect their domain management providers to build solutions that meet their needs so that they are not forced to build and maintain custom solutions, or use spreadsheets and email as a way to manage their portfolios.

Undoubtedly, corporate domain name management has come a long way in the last 15 years, but there is still room for innovation to streamline processes, provide greater visibility and optimise the value of corporate domain portfolios.

Matt Serlin is SVP, client services and operations at corporate domain name registrar Brandsight. He can be contacted at: matt@brandsight.com

domain names, management, business, Brandsight, domain name registrar, portfolios

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