Chaos lurks in the digital world. Any company can easily lose track of its digital assets in an era when domain registrations happen in dozens of different ways and when mergers and acquisitions constantly add new websites to the mix.
Domains that are registered and never developed. Websites that go years without updates. Mixed messages across marketing platforms. Redundant expenses. Lost revenues.
It's a volatile environment.
Companies' digital environments are constantly changing, and keeping track can be difficult, if not impossible.
Many companies have already gotten tangled up in this digital mess.
Consider the company that tried to register a particular domain and found it was already taken. Checking out the website, executives recognized content that looked very much like their own brands and trademarks and quickly had their legal department prepare a litigious assault – only to discover the domain was registered to a newly acquired subsidiary.
Understandably, the company was worried that a fraud was going on, and they would have gone to considerable expense to fight it because they had no idea that they owned it all along.
This is an example of the chaos that exists in the digital world. It's extremely difficult to track everything, everywhere, and to fully understand what you really have. It creates confusion and it will wind up costing companies money.
There are other risks facing the modern digital marketer including rogue employees developing domains the C-suite doesn't know about or posting substandard content on official company channels.
It's possible that employees are running their own side business on a domain registered to the company. They may have registered separately but incorporated the company's products or logos. Companies take for granted they know exactly what they have digitally, but it's very common that they don't.
Additional risks include unintended liabilities — the devastating possibility that some piece of content on some unknown website deep in a company's unmonitored portfolio might cause trouble.
If you aren't controlling your domains, how do you know what's on them? If a rogue employee or unauthorized agent registers a domain in your corporate name and posts derogatory or incorrect information, you could be liable.
There's also the risk of a company competing against itself – not just leaving SEO and other strong marketing technologies on the table, but actually hurting individual business units by unintentionally setting them in opposition.
For example, say you sell three kinds of widgets, all built by different divisions of your company. If you publish this properly, search engines will see you as a widget powerhouse and push you to the top of their lists. But without coordination, the search engines see three totally disconnected companies, and instead of getting a boost from your size, you knock yourself backwards.
All of these factors – from the expense of multiple domain registrars to companies holding literally thousands of unknown websites – create confusion, weaken brands and ultimately stop companies from enjoying a professional, efficient and user-friendly digital footprint.
Before a company can even think about improving that footprint, it must fully define it. That starts with completely mapping out a company's digital assets, no mean feat in an era when online realms shift constantly.
“How do you know what actions to take unless you know what you have?” asks Russell Artzt, founder and CEO of Digital Associates. “Once you have this information, you can make intelligent decisions about remediating your digital environment.”
Enter Digital Associates, the digital marketing company that helps clients understand their actual digital environment before recommending a course of action. At the heart of Digital Associates is Domain Discovery, a new product that is able to discover all domains registered to a given company. It makes use of a powerful global database of more than 200 million domains and 88 million companies, with a million new domains added each week.
Domain Discovery is a highly scalable software solution that reviews 88 million global companies and more than 200 million registered domains – with a million more added to the database weekly – to determine a company's digital footprint.
Scalable to businesses of all sizes, Domain Discovery uses its corporate database in order to decipher the detailed, corporate structure of more than 88 million companies world-wide – everything from IP addresses to phone numbers to C-Suite executives – to identify registrations likely to be missed by conventional domain-search tools.
Once a company truly understands its digital assets, Digital Associates can analyze that company's online performance and formulate a strategy to coordinate marketing messages, reduce digital expenses and maximize profitability.
It's those companies that truly have a handle on their full digital footprint that will be successful in today's economy. Right now, however, most companies don't realize how little a handle they have on their digital assets and how implementing some technological checks and balances can make all the difference.