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I came across a government site that had also registered the .com, .net, .org, etc of a specific topic. It seems like squatting and monopolizing a topic to me. Just seems wrong to me but I'm no lawyer.

Gov site: www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/

Domains:

Are there any rules against this? Will the frame effect the search rankings of the source site?

  • Why would a government doing it be different than a private company? Isn't it just marketing regardless of the source? – MrChrister Jun 9 '11 at 21:46
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I came across a government site that had also registered the .com, .net, .org, etc of a specific topic.

The UK local government guidance notes for naming and registering websites recommends doing exactly that. They don't differentiate "topics".

9. Defensive registration

As part of a defensive strategy, you should consider registering other, closely related domain names, eg generic top-level domains (gTLDs) – .com, .org, .info and in the .uk second level domains (SLDs) – .co.uk, .org.uk.

The objective of defensive registration is risk management – to avoid or reduce occurrences of:

  • typosquatting (common misspellings of your domain name)
  • cybersquatting (registration of domain names reflecting or similar to the names of existing organisations with the intention of selling the names back to you or for using them for bad faith purposes)
  • cybersmearing (where anonymous authors set up web sites that spread alternative, false or disparaging information)

gov site in a frame, not a redirect

Using a frame makes no sense for any site, and was possibly a "mistake" on their part. (However, I notice that these have since been changed to 301 redirects.)

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If private companies can do it, so can the government. There are no rules against owning all of the TLDs for a given domain. In fact big corporations do it to protect their brand.

  • 1
    There are rules for .gov and .mil. Private companies can't buy them. – craigmoliver Jun 9 '11 at 22:04
  • Very true. They can only purchase the ones that do not have a specified criteria for owning one (.edu for educational institutions, etc) – John Conde Jun 9 '11 at 22:54
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A .gov (and .mil) are reserved because the government agencies that run them need to be able to deliver a certain amount of accountability. If a citizen grabs info from a .gov site, they can trust that information is the official word of the government. The government has a stronger need that a private company to deliver a specific message and have people be able to trust it as the same as they would trust a law.

While the content of a .gov site is certainly not a law, the fact is that plenty of citizens mentally treat them the same.

However in terms of marketing, reaching an audience requires the same methods from public and private enterprises. Browsers do not have a keyboard shortcut to go to a .gov site, so to effectively reach a broad audience, they have to own .com names and setup Facebook pages.

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