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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Have a New Corporate Initiative or Product? Don't Forget to Register the Domain Name

Companies these days need to pay a little more attention to the internet.  That may sound like an overstatement of the obvious, however Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer and no online laggard, recently missed the boat.

Wal-Mart has been working to overcome negative perceptions about their worker health care plans.  After many lawsuits from employees over cases of sexual discrimination and failure to pay overtime, Wal-Mart has also come under fire for paying wages so low that many employees cannot afford health care and even end up on welfare, while working for Wal-Mart. 

So Wal-Mart hired a PR firm to draft a strategy to change public and employee perception.  Almost a year ago they launched the initiative titled "Working Families for Wal-Mart."  Despite hiring a PR firm, Wal-Mart slipped up on the internet.  They neglected to register the domain name .

The result is that the website has been registered by an anti-Wal-Mart group, Wal-MartWatch.  The site is now being used to provide information about how Wal-Mart is falling down on the job, even laced with a bit of satire.  Wal-Mart failed to protect its marketing flank.  They should have registered domains for

Registering a domain costs about $6.50 for the first year and can be registered for multiple years at a time.  For less than a $100.00 Wal-Mart could have registered all of those domains for multiple years and avoided the embarrassment and degradation of what may have otherwise been a solid PR plan.

Ipower Domains

There are many different companies that offer domain registration services.  Frankly, its amazing that Wal-Mart hasn't started selling their own domain registration service whereby they could by domains at wholesale and save another 30-50 cents.  There's a time when cost conscience and practical don't meet half way and it would appear that Wal-Mart's two ships may have passed in the night with out passing a signal.