Starting a Business and Need a Domain? Don’t Get Too Crazy

Oct 29 2010

I had a friend of mine recently ask me what I thought about new start up using a domain hack ( an unconventional domain name that combines domain levels, especially the top level domain(TLD), to spell out the full “name” or title of the domain ie blo.gs)  as a business name/domain name.  It was using a country code tld but spelled out an english phrase.  My answer?

Don’t do it.  You want a dot com. Plain and simple.  You can brand any domain but the easier you make it, the less likely you’re going to lose traffic to typos.  I can almost guarantee that the company will end up rebranding to a dot com down the road.  Almost every non url shortening company that bought a hack either ended up buying a dot com equivalent or wish they had.

The easy example is delicious.com  They started with del.ico.us and people eventually figured it out but half of their users couldn’t even spell delicious, let alone figure out where to put the dots.  And Justin.tv ?  I guarantee they would have been happier with justintv.com. If you own the dot com version of the hack why redirect it to the hack, just use the dot com  And what about advertising?

You almost HAVE to put a www in front of the domain.  Nobody would know what retou.ch means at the bottom of the page.  Retouch.com at the bottom would be self defining.  I know the response many would have and that would be “the hack is much much cheaper”.  I don’t care,  this is business.  Get a longer or crazier name in the dot com.  Pick your name based on available dot com domains you can afford to acquire.

Share This

About the author

Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

View all articles by ShaneCultra

5 comments

  1. Svein Tore

    i agree with you. but thats assuming on can afford the .com.
    if on is just starting a business and are low on capital. an expensive .com may not be a the priority.
    and as you said on can always buy the .com at a later date when the business has become profitable.

  2. Ciprian

    I sold a XXXXXtv.com this year. It was the hardest deal i ever made. It took me about 8 weeks, a lot of “outcalls”, and after going over sedo…..it was $250. Go figure

  3. DTalk

    When people are looking for some site that might offer what they’re looking for, I think fewer and fewer people are typing in the assumed (domain).com these days (unless its a true killer generic, like Shoes.com, or, Insurance.com)……More and more typically people use the search box – or, increasingly, Apps – and so the traffic bleed to .coms, from a brandable name, is less & less an issue……Its more about site SEO, Page Rank, page position, and general marketing awareness, now – not whether its (term).com, or not, imo.

    I like short, descriptive, hacks like, say, Ma.am – tho, not long, complex ones like del.ico.us…..They can be brilliantly memorable, easy to spell, and, not a lot harder to brand than any other brandable keyword.


    1. Post author
      ShaneCultra

      @DTalk

      when you read techcrunch daily you look to google? In this case we are talking about a site that people will come to daily. They will obviously at some point figure it out, regardless of name or tld. I’m merely saying keep it simple. The easier you make it, the more likely they’ll get there the first time or the less likely someone will squat the dot com. I couldn’t even find a highly popular site that uses a hack domain. The only people that are more accepting seem to be domainers.

  4. Vada Lynn Smith

    Nowadays, branding is the real deal. It always gets down to that point in this age. The easier your customers will remember you through your brand, the greater the chances of you dominating the niche.

Comments are closed.