CarInsurance.com is currently selling for $49.7 million.
VacationRentals.com is currently selling for $35 million.
Beer.com is currently selling for $7 million.
No person in their right mind would possibly pay these amounts for such a generic domain name, but there is no denying the clear SEO benefit. We believe that those who squat over domains drastically overestimate the impact of these names (it's why they charge so much). However, the flipside is also true. Many entrepreneurs severely underestimate what a strong name can do.
What if your company’s existing name is prohibitively expensive? Should you opt for a gTLD (generic top-level domain) or a ccTLD (country code top-level domain)?
For 80% of businesses, we believe the answer is no. We recommend avoiding a g.TLD such as:
.xyz .book .channel .tech .home
It seems future forward to choose a cc.TLD such as “.me”. But “.me” only means your domain is linked to the country of Montenegro. If a domain outage occurs with your Domain Name System provider, what are you going to do? Will your large company reach out to someone in Montenegro for support. Do you even know what language they speak in Montenegro?
If you choose a cc.TLD such as “.io”, you might believe you’re taking advantage of the popular buzzword -input/output, but it really just says that your company’s domain is associated with the British Indian Ocean (.io) Territory. This territory is now called the 'Chagos Islands'. Bet you can’t find that on a map.
Why does this matter? ccTLDs are used to show search engines that your website’s content is intended for a certain country. As such, unique TLD's can negatively impact Google Search rankings. If your domain ends in “.ai”, you’re likely killing it in Anguilla, but American SEO might be a bit of a struggle.
Our advice - don’t cater to unique extensions simply because they are cheaper. We work with several companies who are extremely successful despite owning a ccTLD. However, that’s due to an important distinction. An app store is their primary distribution method so there is significantly less need for them to rely on SEO keywords.
If your name is linked to the product your company sells, it’s going to be really easy to make a profit from an SEO-perspective. If it isn’t remotely linked or the field is already highly competitive, you might have a harder time. If another company in a different field shares your same name, you’re starting the race with a handicap.
Put it this way: A high advertising cost is the long-term tax you ultimately pay for the bad short-term decisions associated with naming your company.
If no other company shares your name but you wish to save $1,000 on a domain name by ending with “.ly” because a name like “trend.ly” is memorable, and cheap, you’re not killing two birds with one stone. Instead, you’re setting your team up for extortion (and not just because your domain is now registered in Libya).
Thousands of online predators search daily for these TLDs to profit off your well-intentioned frugality. They frequently place terrible content on websites that share your name (but end in “.com”), then tell you that they are happy to remove said content for a fee. Unfortunately, from a legal perspective - this practice is seldom likely to be ruled as extortion.
Communication problems exist, as well. If your email touches a domain name like @greatcompanyname.xyz, you’re more likely to end up in Gmail’s spam filters.
Additionally, these g.TLD name-servers often share name-servers that handle other g.TLDs, as well (as it’s not exactly a cheap ordeal). This occasionally causes them to run slower than a traditional “.com” or “.org”.
If the cost associated with purchasing a domain name is a holdup to starting your business, then don’t do it. If you don’t have the money to buy an expensive name up front, we recommend that you should simply change your name to something abstract.
Alternatively, add a prefix/suffix to your existing name: get, dojo, hub, station, mojo, wire. It’ll drastically decrease the price of your domain name.
Completely refuse to adopt a new name? Ask yourself why. In “Change Your Name”, Founder Paul Graham wrote, “Imagine you'd called your company something else. If you had, surely you'd be just as attached to that name as you are to your current one. The idea of switching to your current name would seem repellent. There's nothing intrinsically great about your current name. Nearly all your attachment to it comes from it being attached to you.”
With the occasional exception, we simply suggest your company makes a change and sticks to ".com".
The rebrand will cost less than the amount earned from an increase in SEO traffic, more successful email marketing campaigns, and the occasional Baby Boomer who can't figure out how to type your company name in correctly.
So does a domain name and TLD actually make a difference Yes, it does. Domains are highly linked to branding - and branding matters.
Need help coming up with a name? In the past 2 years, we’ve named over 10 significantly-sized companies. Alternatively, if you prefer to crowdsource the process of naming your business, check out www.squadhelp.com. We spend a bit of our happy hour time there.
Friday, September 20, 2019