Ten years ago, a good domain name was the most important thing in the world. Companies bid millions of dollars to get the right domain name, legal battles ensued over who should rightfully own a domain, and registering the right domain name was usually the first step in launching a company, campaign or new tagline. In those early days of the Internet, the domain made the site and marketers relied on a good memorable domain name to help promote a site. Since that time, marketers have begun to assume that the average Internet user is sophisticated enough to remember an increasingly complex URL, and are under the false belief that there are no good domain names left.
The fact is, there are many good domain name options out there, and marketers need to revisit the importance of the domain name in their strategy. Here are a few points that most marketers have forgotten about domain names:
- The domain name should come first. When planning a new tagline or strategy, consider the domain name first. This is not to suggest that every good tagline should be thrown out when a domain is not available … but consider who has the domain registered and be realistic about how important it is to your strategy to have it. If it’s gone and you can’t get it, maybe it’s time to rethink the strategy.
- Domain names aren’t gone forever. Remember those domain troll companies that registered thousands of domain names in the early 2000s in the hopes of selling them for megabucks? Well they are all out of business now and their archives of domain names they gobbled up are coming on sale. Sites like SnapNames.com and others offer good tools to place your bids on that name you always wanted and hope for the best.
- People can’t spell. They never could before, but with the rise of spellchecks and a new generation without the necessity to spell correctly (and finding a new lexicon for text messages), registering only a single spelling of a domain name could be a recipe for disaster. It’s not just AMC Theater having problems with this, when registering a domain for a corporate client, make sure you register the common misspellings. Otherwise you risk being victimized by the "typosquatters."
- Register the alternatives. As Internet users get more familiar with domain names online, the use of other domains beyond ".com" will continue to rise. Keeping an eye on additional Top Level Domains (TLDs) added and what is available in your domain name will be well worthwhile. Though I couldn’t get www.influentialmarketing.com registered, I do now own the .biz, .info, and .org versions of it. Perhaps I can convince Ropers to let me have the .com version some day … and in the meantime, I will have to make do with my newest registered URL for this blog www.influentialmarketingblog.com. Maybe that’s better anyway.
There are many other smart people working more directly in domain names. Any other lessons that marketers need to learn about domain name strategy?