Does a domain name matter?

12 August 2004


A Blue Perspective: Does a domain name matter?

When you're bringing a new venture to the Web, the first thing you have to do is head to your nearest domain name purveyor and decide what name they shall deign to permit you. If you're bringing an existing identity to the Web and is taken it can really throw a spanner in the works; if you're lucky enough to be creating a new identity then maybe you'll have to re-think the name altogether.

With the prevalence of domain name squatting and just plain useless web sites, it's becoming increasingly hard to find that perfect URL. Given the importance of the Internet, this in turn affects what names new entities will adopt in the "real" world. Previously, local companies only had to be unique to their area – "Bob's Plumbing" in Melbourne doesn't affect "Bob's Plumbing" in Sydney, so they can coexist – but with the advent of the Internet, identities now have to compete on a national, even global scale. Alternate Top Level Domains (TLDs) are meant to alleviate the squeeze by increasing the number of permutations, but many people squirm when confronted with, or, or even worse: But does it really matter?

Granted, entities with a large amount invested in offline identity, advertising and collateral want to use it all to their advantage, so it's fairly necessary to be able to type in "" and look at some jeans. And if you're doing plenty of print marketing, it pays to have a short and obvious domain name. But as the Internet – and technology in general – matures, I think that simple domain names will become less important. If not, then we are resigned to bestowing an arbitrary privilege upon those whose snapped up one of the 7-character .com permutations before they sold out in 2001.

Although weblogs aren't a good example of commercial application, I think that they do highlight emerging trends in Internet usage; and I couldn't tell you the exact URLs of half the weblogs in my bookmarks. Some of them are .orgs, some are .nets, some reside in european domain registries, some start at weird sub-directories. I don't think I've even typed the word mezzoblue into the location field before. You just follow the abundant links and Google entries to the content which you seek, then bookmark or discard as you see fit. Of course, this doesn't excuse, untypeable domain names, where you can avoid it, but even they have ways of getting traffic if they've got the right content.

In the end, domain names are just decoration – easy ways for humans to remember an address that is actually four 8-bit numbers: When we've run out of easy ways to remember those addresses, what then?




  1. 1/8

    Mark Wubben commented on 12 August 2004 @ 04:32

    In advertising (especially in advertising which you can't "take home") a good, rememberable domain is essential. A professional looking domain is important too, Bob's Plumbing shouldn't reside at, should it?

    Speaking about domains in advertising, there's still a lot which advertisers don't get. Sometimes you're not sure how to spell the domain, other times they use it with www and without (which probably only confuses me, in a way).

  2. 2/8

    Rob Mientjes commented on 12 August 2004 @ 06:04

    The best ones are mostly the ones with an unintelligible name, so I never get to visit those sites, is okay, but there are (for example) stock broking companies with names I always tend to forget. Too bad :op

  3. 3/8

    Jonathan Snook commented on 12 August 2004 @ 12:19

    Easy domain names are definitely a plus. It makes it easier to find a site I'm looking for. But thanks to Google, typing in the company name usually gets me where I need to be regardless... it's just an extra step that makes me think that they should've picked a better domain name.

  4. 4/8

    Razvan Pop commented on 12 August 2004 @ 15:48

    Easy to remember domain names are the best. When buying a domain you must choose between branding and a better position in the <acronym title="Search Engine Result Pages">SERPs</acronym>. The position is based on content and IBLs, but at the beginning the domain name helps. Unless you want quick money, choose branding.

  5. 5/8

    Chris commented on 12 August 2004 @ 17:32

    I'm currently looking for a good domain name. I'm more inclined to go for one with a .com suffix because you can type the word (without "www." or ".com") in the address bar and hit Ctrl + Enter in most browers to fill out the rest. I know that novice users might not know this trick, but unlike you, I often visit sites this way.

  6. 6/8

    Unearthed Ruminator commented on 12 August 2004 @ 22:08

    I've been torn about setting up a domain name, mostly because of funds (lack thereof) and the fact that the one I wanted was recently taken (I was a bit too slow on the draw).

  7. 7/8

    Matthom commented on 13 August 2004 @ 00:07

    Thankfully I use Bloglines to manage all my major sites that I visit. That, in a sense, is my "bookmark" manager, instead of individually bookmarking each one in the browser.

    I think RSS will play a big role in domain names future...

  8. 8/8

    GeoSoft commented on 27 October 2004 @ 03:04

    I think that this domain name it's important for better position in google or other search engine.

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