Microsoft, according to DomainTools, owns around 40,000 domain names. It’s the norm for companies of its size to own such vast domain portfolios, as doing so is a method of defense. Allow me to explain: If you make a game entitled Alex’s Adventure, you want to own ‘alexsadventuresucks.com,’ ‘alexsadventureisoverpriced.com,’ and ‘screwthisalexguyanyway.com’ And about two dozen others.
For larger brands, such as Halo, the domain buying can almost become absurd, as the number of domains that must be purchased balloons due to the sheer quantity of potential pranks that are possible. To illustrate this point, Microsoft recently picked up clicktohump.com, along with a grip of other domains that referenced Halo in-game trivia, actions, and sayings.
Why clicktohump.com? It stems from a common act, executed by the killer of an opponent in the game, in which the character will walk over to the corpse of the fallen, and use the ‘squat’ function to create the appearance of repeatedly sitting on the face of the deceased. You can supply the rest of the salient details for yourself.
Somewhere in Redmond there must be a team whose job is to conjure to mind potentially embarrassing, and open, domain names, and purchase them. The cost of the employee time is likley on the order of one hundred times as expensive as the domains, but the savings in search problems is sufficient that to protect the brand, it is all but required. I wonder if anyone on that task force still has the ability to blush.
Think about how many domains you own. Now try to imagine running some 40,000. No thanks. Via NeoWin.