Sure, it's possible to run a successful online business with a lousy domain name, but your business will always do better with a good domain name.
The internet is like a city centre shopping area - you can either have a high-street address or a side street address. A clumsy domain name makes a business look less credible and less memorable.
A domain name is not just something that you type in on a computer keyboard - it is your
brand, written on your letterheads, business cards, advertisements, maybe also on your company vehicles, carrier bags, promotional give-aways etc.
Your domain name also forms part of your email address. Furthermore the most exciting technological development now means that your domain name can also serve as your phone number for the very simple reason that it is much easier and more intuitive to remember a domain name than a telephone number.
Not only typed, or written, an extremely long or complicated domain name
makes it harder for people to type and to share through word of mouth.
A short domain name on the other hand aids for a memorable identity providing a powerful tool for marketing
and brand building. Examples of created brand names which fit into this category: eBay, uBid, xBox, iPod, Digg, Hulu, Bebo,Tivo,Bing.
The fact that they are short makes them easy to remember. The longer the domain name the more prone to
typing errors. This is even more true if your full company name is complicated to spell.
How do you spell that ? Some words are difficult to spell. It is therefore
easy to understand why it makes sense for organizations such as "Oconomowoc Developmental Training Center"
to have the 4-letter domain name "ODTC.com" and "Narragansett Bay Insurance Company " to have the 4-letter domain "NBIC.com". And for the company "Anderson Bauman Tourtellot Vos" (how do you spell that ??) then they were very wise to opt for "ABTV.com". Or how about spelling "Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation" which use "ACFN.com" or "ArbeitsGemeinschaft der KörperschutzImporteure" which use "AGKI.com" or "Deutsch Aserbaidschanischen WirtschaftsFörderinstitutionen " which uses DAWF.com!
It seems that increasingly firms are using short acronyms for their web identities - even Facebook has recently acquired FB.com. In fact, it is now revealed that Facebook paid a cool $8.5 million dollars to acquire the domain FB.com - which by comparison makes the prices of 4-letter domains small change! See Farm Bureau finds wealthy friend in Facebook
Some names are difficult to truncate without going for the straightforward four letter acronym option thus companies such as "The Country's Best Yogurt" use "TCBY.com" and "Forest Products Research Laboratory" have "FPRL.com" and "AAKD.com" the "Arthur Ashe Kids Day" and "TAKF.com" for the "Take A Kid Fishing" Foundation etc etc etc etc.....
And how much simpler and easier is it to type in "FBPC.com" than the unwieldy and lengthy FatBlackPussyCat.com ! And what a fabulous choice of name is "Angry Bald Guy Productions" using "ABGP.com"!
"Tennessee Valley Electric Cooperative" now uses "TVEC.com" (instead of the longer and clumsier "TennesseeValleyEC.com" )
"Herzog Railroad Services Inc" choose to use "HRSI.com". "Game Trading Technologies Inc" have since acquired "GTTI.com" (a vast improvement over their "gametradingtechnologies.com" domain name) and "ThinkDirect Marketing Group" choose "TDMG.com", and "Canadian Lender Solutions Ltd" choose "CLSL.com" etc etc etc.... See also some more 4 letter domain name acronyms
Prestige, ease of recall, branding, less prone to typos
The main reasons that 4 letter domain names are so desirable is that they appear more prestigious, are easy
to remember, are great for branding,are less prone to spelling errors as is the case with much longer domains (especially
true if the full company name is complicated to spell) and requiring less keystrokes (important on mobile handheld
devices with small buttons) and of course great for offline marketing. Mobile devices are becoming ever more popular
and more and more people are surfing the web on their mobile phones than from conventional PCs.
Voice recognition technology has now come of age, and will be used to power many of the next generation browsers. Dictating 4 separate letters .com into a voice recognition device is easier and less prone to error than a longer more complicated name.
As mobile usage grows you may be glad you have that 4-letter domain name in the future.
People can now phone your domain name - it's called Domain Dialing
The latest technology (such as SITER.com) now allows people to make a phone call to a domain name
To make a telephone call with your iPhone (or other smartphone) you simply dial the domain name instead of a telephone number. Some smartphones have a default ".com" button making it only necessary for you to tap in the domain name itself followed by the .com button saving you those extra keystrokes.
What is easier to remember - a short domain name or a lengthy unmemorable telephone number comprising of up to 15 digits (if you include international dial codes)?
Instead of struggling through pages and pages of content searching for a phone number, using the free Siter.com mobile app smartphone users can simply “dial” a domain name . The Siter program searches a database of more than 26 million assigned phone numbers worldwide and suggests a number (or numbers) to call based on that company’s domain name. Users wishing to contact their local Target store, for example, have only to type Target.com into the Siter program for a list of the best phone numbers based on proximity to their current location.
See Don't Know the Phone Number? Dial the Domain! The advantages of the SITER service are obvious because whereas numbers have no intrinsic meaning, domain names may have a meaning and may therefore be more easily recovered by the memory. In which case the shorter less complicated the domain name the better!
Why .com is the preferred suffix
As ".COM" is the most widely recognized domain name suffix worldwide, then the
preferred suffix should be .COM if you currently conduct business internationally, or intend to conduct business
internationally in the future.
It gives a more prestigious impression than less widely used domain suffixes such as .ORG, .NET, .US, .BIZ
, .INFO etc. Similarly many people are unfamiliar with country codes and usage of a two part suffix such as
COM.MX .COM.CN COM.HK etc... and less easily understood. This is even more relevant with some country codes like CO.IN - not COM.IN and CO.UK - not COM.UK !! There are also other suffixes - .AERO, .ASIA, .COOP, .EU, .TRAVEL, .PRO, .MOB , .TV, .CAT, .TRAVEL, .JOBS, .PRO, .TEL and more recently .XXX etc etc etc and the proliferation of more of these lesser-known "boutique" suffices simply reenforces the power and value of the .COM brand. You need to ask yourself when was the last time you saw a web-address with one of these suffices - if you haven't then it is unlikely any of your potential customers will have.
Some companies when expanding their brand into other countries choose .COM instead of the local country code suffix to avoid being burdened by local country laws and regulations. For example the Chinese giant social networking website Baidu changed its domain name from a Vietnamese domain name .VN to a .COM which allows avoiding the registration at Vietnamese agencies. see Baidu uses ".com" domain name to dodge Vietnamese laws.
Now may be the time to replace your "keyword-laden" domain name with an acronym "brand-name".
A number of years ago your website designer may have advised you to choose a domain name that was keyword rich and descriptive about what you do. That strategy may have been right at the time in the understanding that Google would give a boost in their searches to websites with domain names containing key words - domain names such as blahblahfinancialservices.com or blahblahbusinessconsultants.com or blahblahinvestmentmanagement.com etc.
However this was all too easy to manipulate, as companies started to register keyword-loaded domain names in the belief that Google would rank their websites more highly.
It is understood that Google has now addressed this issue in its recent Google Panda updates. See Brand-focused domain names favoured over keywords in new Google algorithm change
In the video, Matt Cutts (head of Google Webmaster guidelines) announcing a further change to the search algorithm that will reward domains that feature the brand name, as opposed to keywords, explains that "[Google have given] a little too much weight for keywords in domains. And so we have been thinking about adjusting that mix a little bit and sort of turning the knob down within the algorithm, so that given two different domains it wouldn't necessarily help you as much to have a domain with a bunch of keywords in it."
See also Keyword Rich Domain Names Are About To Be Targeted By Google's Algorithm
In summary, if you have a longish domain name incorporating keywords which you once thought were of utmost importance to people finding you on the internet, now may be the time to consider changing your domain name.
Who are using short domains?
In the article "Shorter domain names boosts online brand' Why choose a short 4 letter acronym for your business? the owners of ILoveFreeThings.com describe
their acquisition of the much more concise ILFT.com to support the company's web-based activities.
We ourselves, for example, Get On The Web Limited, have of course registered the domain name GetOnTheWeb.com (and other variants - such as the hyphenated version Get-On-The-Web.com etc) however we
prefer to promote the shorter 4-letter acronym GOTW with the domain name GOTW.COM which we believe appears more
prestigious but also takes less time to type into a browser. Furthermore, it makes giving our email address out
verbally much easier. Imagine spelling out the email address over the phone:-
i n f o @
g e t o n t h e w e b . com as opposed to the much simpler i n f o @ G O T W . com
The Chinese. There is an increasing number of Chinese purchasers of 4 letter .com domain names. (Sometimes the Chinese use the phonetic acronym as opposed to the written acronym - for example ahkz.com ：“安徽口子”). This may be due to a number of factors. Firstly, China is now selling its goods and services to a global marketplace and having a .com domain name, website and email address definitely assist when selling to a worldwide marketplace especially to the USA, which is widely tuned into .com domain names.
Secondly, there are now greater restrictions for companies in China (and worldwide) registering local Chinese .cn and .com.cn domain names. Indeed, GoDaddy (the largest domain name registrar in the world) stopped registering these Chinese domain names, due to the restrictions. See GoDaddy to stop registering .cn domain names.
There are a number of economic/industrial zones in China selling goods and services to the rest of the world. Having a domain name spelling that is complicated to westerners and having a domain name suffix that is unfamilar to westerners can be a disadvantage. Hence having a short .com domain name can be an asset when selling to a global marketplace. In progressive industrial zones in China a number of companies in this region aiming at the export market have registered 4 letter .com domain names starting with "NB" (for NingBo) and "AH" (for AnHui) etc.
See NingBo companies using domain names starting with NB
See AnHui companies using domain names starting with AH.
See HeBei companies using domain names starting with HB
See XiAn companies using domain names starting with XA
See also Fashion Brands using 4 letter domain names
How to put your new domain name to use
You may already have an existing (but longer) domain name.
The most straightforward method is to put your website on the new 4 letter domain and advise Google. See Tell Google when your site moves. You can then point the older longer domain to the new 4 letter domain. As demonstration of this, click on www.AsSeenOnScreen.com and you will see that it goes to www.ASOS.com
Alternatively, you could simply "point" the 4 letter .com domain name to your existing domain name.
For example, this time of a country code domain name: click on HAZK.COM (Hersteld Apostolische Zending Kerk) and you will see that it goes to HAZK.NL (Netherlands), or AHXH.COM (AnHui XinHua Computer Institute) which goes to AHXH.CN (China) etc etc etc......
Scarcity of attractive 4 letter combinations
Four letter domains (sometimes referred to as "LLLL" domains) are relatively scarce. There are only 456,976 possible 4 letter combinations of which
maybe less than 50,000 are attractive consonant/vowel combinations. Of these, only a much smaller number will be
available - a miniscule number compared to the total of over 99 million registered dot com names.
4 letter .com domain name prices
Because of their rarity and desirability, four letter .COM domain names with attractive letter combinations command
DUDU.COM (another non-dictionary word) recently sold for $100,000,000
See "Sedo Brokers Dudu.com for $1 Million".
BEEM.COM (another non-dictionary word) recently sold for $136,000
See "Beem.com Sells for $136k".
WEHR.COM (another non-dictionary word) recently sold for $74,000
See "WEHR.COM Sells for $74,000 On Afternic While AONE.COM Sells For Just $10K"
MAAC.COM (another non-dictionary word) sold for $63,000
See "Mid-America Apartment Communities bought MAAC.com for a solid $63,000"
Of course, some four letter "dictionary words" not unsurprisingly sell for extremely high prices
like such as FUND.com for $10million, PORN.com for $9.5 million, BEER.com for $7 million, TOYS.com for $5.1 million, SHOP.com for £3.5 million, WINE.com for $3.3 million etc....
For a list of the most expensive four letter .com domain names see Most Expensive 4 letter .com domain names.
For other examples of 4 letter domain names recently sold in the marketplace see "Example domain name prices
Buying a good domain name is an investment. Always remember, your domain name is an asset, just like any other assets that you own.
Of course it is also worth remembering that the age of a domain is a big factor in determining its value. Older domains tend to rank better in search engines and are therefore worth more money than more recently registered domains..
Despite being possibly one of the most important assets that your business can possess, the relative cost can often be small. see "Why $10,000 For A Domain Name Is Still Cheap". See also "Spend Up to $50k on a Domain Name"
Get that 4 letter .com domain name while you still can - Once it has gone it is gone!
So you think you're the only company that wants that desirable four character .com domain name - Think again!
There are probably many other companies that desire the same domain name that you are thinking about. Once it has gone, you may not get a second chance! And you are left with your second-rate domain name.
A classic example of this is the domain name "GTTI.com" reported to be sold for a mere $5000 see dnjournal.com snapped up in April 2010 by "Game Trading Technologies, Inc.".
|Game Trading Technologies, Inc
A whole host of other companies could have raised their game by obtaining this sharper more succinct .com domain name. There are probably many many more companies with acronyms such as GTT Inc, GTT Incorporated, GTT International etc. - but here are some examples just to name a few:
|Global Think Tank Institute
|Global Thermoforming Technologies, Inc
|Georgina Trades Training Inc
|Gambia Technical Training Institute
|Global Technology & Trading Inc
|Global Tactical Training Institute
|Global Transportation Technologies Inc
|Gruppo Telecomunicazioni e Tecnologie dell'Informazione
|Gedee Technical Training Institute
|Golden Tech Technologies Inc
|Global Technology Transfer Inc
|GT Training Inc
|Golf Talent Tour Inc
|Gallatin Truck & Tractor Inc