Naming Tip #6: Don’t get hung up on dot-com availability

By Mark Skoultchi

July 28, 2008

Everyone thinks they need the exact dot-com URL for their company name. Some are right, but many are mistaken.

Online consumer brands may well justify this prime internet real estate, because there’s no question that the average consumer will first try the exact dot-com domain. However, with the rise of deliberately misspelled company names, dot-net domains, and a host of other factors, search engines are becoming the consumer’s best friend. And, if your audience it extremely tech-savvy, you may have more freedom to explore domain names that require some modification (like adding the words Inc, Co, Tech, etc.). A relevant and exciting name that requires domain modification is often a better marketing decision (CatchwordBranding.com for example), than a Dr. Seuss jumble of meaningless letters chosen for sole purpose of having an exact dot-com domain (i.e., MoloGogo, Zimbra, Asoboo).

B2B companies, service companies, and non-retail sites in particular may be able to do without exact dot-com domains. High-tech business customers are much more adept at using search engines to find the web site they’re looking for. Additionally, well-executed SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can offset and even drive more traffic to your site than just owning the exact dot-com domain.

Very few real-word and pronounceable dot-coms are immediately available today. Sometimes your naming specialist will get incredibly lucky and stumble on that real-word dot-com that is completely available. That’s rare. So what can you do if you really really want an exact dot-com domain? You have three options: A) Be prepared to spend money for a real-word dot-com domain, B) Be willing to adopt coined or made-up names which are more likely to have immediately available domains, or C) Modify your name with a descriptive phrase (Tech, Inc, Company, Systems, etc.) to help acquire a relevant domain.

Domains sale sites (Sedo, BuyDomains, etc.) are becoming more useful in the name game. If you are convinced you need an exact dot-com domain, and there’s nothing your friendly naming specialist can say to sway you, then you should include a budget for purchasing a domain. You should be prepared to spend a minimum of $2,000 to buy a domain from one of these sites. The closer to a real-word and the more desirable a name or metaphor, the pricier they get. Expect to pay anywhere from $2k to $15k for a relevant dot-com domain, possibly much more for a highly-desirable word.

Negotiating the purchase of domain name can range from the quick and easy, to the difficult and complex. Yet another way that naming professionals can help you secure a fantastic new name and a great domain name to match!

This is part six in a ten-part CatchThis series. Check back every Monday morning for subsequent naming tips. Check out previous Naming Tips here.

  • Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!