What's in a Domain?

Posted on 16. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, interactive

Choosing or modifying domain names is a major part of brand strategy. And, with the advent of new Internet naming conventions, it’s about to get trickier.

After you went through the rigorous process of naming or renaming your company, you probably sorted through the available “.com” names available to you. Those of you whose names were sufficiently unique (or those of you who registered your domain early) established a solid connection between your organization’s name and your domain name:

Acme —> acme.com
ABC Company —> abc.com

These pairings are simple and memorable.

But for many organizations, you had to settle for something close, but utterly unmemorable.

Acme —> acme-ct.com (Tack on the state abbreviation!)
Acme —> acme.biz (Use another toplevel domain, just like spammers!)
Acme —> myacme.com (People will feel like our company is a part of them! Right?)

The list of substitutions goes on. For many organizations that are just now focusing on their Internet strategy, this lack of a good domain name poses a challenge. And, as Internet naming conventions change and allow companies to register the characters AFTER the “.”, it’s going to get trickier. Potentially, over the next few years, you could register “something.yourcompanyname”. Initially, permission to use your company’s name after the “.” will cost around $186,000. Over time that cost will decline. The Financial Times provides an excellent explanation of the implication for brand managers and companies.

In the meantime, don’t neglect your domain name(s).

1. If you have one that is perfectly aligned with your company name, make absolutely certain that it gets renewed and that a responsible person in your company monitors it. If you let it expire, speculators are very likely to scoop it up and sell it back to you at a handsome premium.

2. If someone else has the domain name you would prefer, monitor it. Know the asking price so that you can capitalize on any opportunity to get it. (e.g. If the domain holder is going out of business or being acquired, they may be willing to part with it for a little less.)

3. If an entity is “squatting” on your preferred domain name, you may have a legal right to it, if it is trademarked. But, expect legal fees and uncertain outcomes.


Comments are closed.