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choosing the right domain name: a marketing perspective

This is the web page for the book; choosing the right domain name. If you are on this page then the chances are that you already have the book, but if you haven't, buy it as a paperback on LULU or read it online. book cover: choosing the right domain name

I have created this page to [a] keep the book up-to-date, [b] add links to web pages that enhance the subjects covered within the book, and [c] correct any mistakes I might have made. With that last point in mind - if you want to let me know about any errors, question my decisions or anything else that takes your interest, let me know on email@alancharlesworth.eu.

If possible, I will connect these links to specific elements of the book - but some are generic to the whole of its contents. Also note that some of the sites I link to require you to register: do so, it will be worth your while.


Chpt 1.04 [What characters can you use in a domain name?] November 2010 saw Nominet announce the release of two-character domains on .uk suffixes.

Chpt 1.04 [Internationalised Domain Names] - you might know that having spent eight years [off-and-on] writing this book, a couple of weeks after I published it ICANN came up with a significant change in domain name suffixes. That was; from November 2009 suffixes [as well as the actual name] would be available in non-Latin characters, meaning that IDNs could be in non-Latin characters from beginning to end. However, my comments in the book re limited applications outside of those countries/regions still stands. See ICANN's press release on th e subject - ICANN Bringing the Languages of the World to the Global Internet.

Not exactly 'internationalised' - but this is an interesting article on Choosing a Domain Name for Chinese Websites.

I could put this link in the section on 'domain hacks' - but I've included it here as a warning against using the domains of any country that might - for whatever reason - decide that they do not like your domain or your website's contents, see Time To Think Carefully About Which Country Hosts Your URL Shortener.

Chpt 1.05 looks at suffixes, and here's a VERY unusual application that perhaps only a government could get away with. In the UK there are a number of .uk suffixes available to government departments - which include .mod.uk [ministry of defence] and .nhs.uk [national health service]. But the trick is that if you type in just the suffix you get the homepage of the departments. Nice trick.

On page 16 I suggest that although the .xxx suffix was rejected in May 2006 that "experience still keeps nudging me to say it might not have gone away forever" - and sure enough, it was launched in September 2011. Probably using experience of domain names over the years, the firm managing the suffix, CM Registry, have banned the registration of the names of over 4,000 celebrities, and reserved another 15,000 on the request of international governments and child protection agencies. Laudable I'm sure, but I suspect the .xxx cybersquatters will still get around any steps the registrar take.

Perhaps the biggest shake-up in domain name suffixes is that of allowing organizations to 'buy' permission to use their own suffix. The idea is that, for example, Nike have the brand name as their suffix - and have sites on the likes of football.nike and tennis.nike. Or perhaps a company - or the City council - could register .London, and 'sell-on' domain names such as hotels.London and dining.London. For more, take a look at Your Top 5 Questions About The New gTLD Domain Extensions, Answered which is as good as many articles on the issue. And here is another, gTLDS: Catalyst for Disruptive Innovation. Early in 2015 we heard about the proposed dot crap gTLD.

In chpt 1.07 I am quite negative about finding the right domain to buy - but Discountvouchers.co.uk adds new domain name in 100k GBP deal is a fine example of good practice.

In the section on generating income from domain names [chpt 1.09], I mention domaining. I have written my own page on the practice, with an example, see what is domaining? This article - How Google & Yahoo Make Money Off A Twitter Typo Domain - also takes alook at the issue. Note that it mentions Google's 'AdSense For Domains', yet in the book I say Google is looking to clamp down on domaining sites. Well, 'AdSense For Domains' has a number of 'rules' that address some of the more dubious practices, and so might be considered to be an element of Google's effort to rein in these sites - indeed, changes to Google's algorithm since the book was published have been aimed at reducing domaining sites in the search engine's results pages. [see Merry-Go-Round Sites for not only details on this, but also different way of describing what I call domaining]. Despite this, however, Typosquatters Target Apple, Google & Facebook More Than Twitter, Microsoft would suggest the practice goes on despite Google's efforts. Towards the end of the chapter I suggest that you search search for "Kevin Ham" - here's an article with a title that says it all - The man who owns the Internet.


Towards the end of chpt 1.11 [multiple registrations] I look at how Procter and Gamble translate their global brand identity of P&G by using pg.com. P and O Cruises [P&O] also use the ampersand in their brand name, but the holiday cruise provider's website sits on pocruises.com. Hardly an ideal domain name I would think. PandO.com would be better, but it is held by a domainer. On the bright side, pandocruises.co.uk and pocruises.com both redirect to pocruises.com. If the cruise company can't get the preferred .com back through legal action, maybe they could have looked at pando.travel?

Chpt 1.12 looks at search engine considerations - and as with all things about search engine optimization there are no rules ... only opinions, a point that is emphasized in this article - Google Says Domain Registrations Don't Affect SEO, Or Do They?, and here is another which supports my thinking on the issue - 6 Ways Local Domains Crush Dot Coms In International SEO. However, in late 2011 it became apparent that my opinion [and that of others] was right all along, see Domain Name Matters ... study finds.

In chpt 1.13 I talk about constructing URLs 'right' - including how blank spaces in a URL present in a navigation bar as '%20'. Well, here's some more stuff along the same lines.

In chpt 1.14 I offer advice on 'What do you need to do if you are changing your domain name?' this article - How to Move Your Site to a New Domain According to Google - goes into more detail, and You Don't Have To Be Nuts To Worry About Changing Your Domain warns of the problems changing domains can cause to search engine optimization.

chpt 2.02 Even the top brands - who should know better - have problems Twitter.org Being Used For Scams, Twitter Seeks To Gain Control Of Rogue Domain.

At the end of chpt 3.01 on suffixes, I mention 'domain hacks' - here's some more examples:

  • The New York Times - nyti.ms [ms is the suffix for Montserrat]
  • Google's URL shortener tool - goo.gl [gl is the suffix for Greenland]
  • Facebook's URL shortener tool - fb.me
  • Soci.al [.al is the suffix for Albania] was reported to have been sold for $50,000 in October 2011. A good deal for the seller, in my opinion.

In this section I advise against the use of 'novelty' suffixes - Google Delists All CO.CC Domains From Index is part of the reason why.

This article - Generic Domain Names in Ads Outperform Non-Generic - is relevant to both chpt 3.03 [are generic words effective as domain names] and 1.12 [search engine considerations].

In chpt 3.07 I address 'choosing the right domain name for a product', and this article - Think Search Before You Name Your Next Product - would seem to do the same, but it should be useful for brands and companies also [plus the section on search engine considerations, of course].

Chpt 3.16 looks at choosing your personal domain name. This short video is actually about reputation management, but there is some content about suitable domain names for individuals. See Andy Beal talks about Google Reputation Management.

By analysing [in her opinion] the 10 Best and Worst Internet Company Names of the Decade the author of this article offers up some sound advice with both good and bad examples. As the subject permeates the whole of the book, I've tagged this link on at the end. When you read it, see how many of the examples you think might have been influenced by the availablity of the domain name of the chosen company name.

Also relevant to the whole book is Smaller retailers risk losing sales with unmemorable domain names.

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