Domain Names and Branding:
A person can compile a long list of successful Internet companies that built their empires on a domain name that doesn’t immediately communicate what their business is:
These web brands are all household names, but they certainly didn’t start that way… they had to pour considerable funds into marketing and branding these domain names in a way that communicated what to expect at a website called “Amazon”
Other well-known brands started with investing their funds into the domains that immediately told their story. Their domain names are often referred to as “category killer” domains:
And then there are the tweeners, where once you hear what the website is about, the domain name instantly makes sense:
Naming strategies for startup companies will often just come down to the the founders going with their strengths, and aligned with their wallets.
When I acquired control of the domain name MO.com, it was with the intent to build an online resource about my home state of Missouri (MO). As things progressed it became clear the domain name was highly versatile and very brandable. I think domain owners may have invented the word “brandable” because Bill Gates keeps telling me it isn’t a word by underlining it in red when I use it to describe domain names. But for domain owners and investors, how brandable a domain is will often factor into the value and price of a domain name.
To date, I have leaned heavily in favor of the middle group; generic domains that clearly communicate what the website will be about, and define a niche, such as OfficeSupply.com and GolfCourses.com.
By switching MO.com from being a website about Missouri and instead focusing on entrepreneurs, I have started down the “brandable” domain name path. I have to say, it excites me… but I guess “the new path” usually does excite entrepreneurs, eh?
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