where and how to show off your domain name
I have decided to put this chapter at the end of the book because both sections are relevant to all of the various types and applications of domain names that have been covered throughout the earlier content.
4.01 WHERE DO YOU FLAUNT YOUR DOMAIN NAME?
The obvious answer to this is everywhere - or at least anywhere potential customers might see it. This would include any or all of the following:
* On all corporate stationery, including headed note paper, invoices, receipts and - in particular - business cards.
* Adverts, in all media. This refers to company domain names in general as well as promotional names registered for specific campaigns.
* All promotional literature. This includes not only direct marketing letters, flyers and so on, but product catalogues, trade show hand-outs and any other kind of printed materials.
* Promotional give-a-ways. This is an infinite list of virtually any item that can be given away, from pens and note blocks to sports bags. A personal favourite is mugs as they tend to get used rather than stuck in the bottom of a draw (or worse still, thrown out) and they often stand next to the user's computer, just where you want your domain name to be.
* Where appropriate, on the products themselves. This has obvious limited applications - few businesses can put their domain name on the side of aeroplanes as do Virgin and easyJet, for example. Putting your domain name on a piece of furniture would be unlikely to impress customers (though it could be included on a label on the underside). However, 'flymo.com' on the side of a lawnmower instead of just 'flymo' would not be unreasonable.
* Product packaging, including labels and boxes, cartons etc. Note that in these circumstances there is consideration of each product having its own domain name. If this is the case, the 'corporate' domain should also be included.
* Point of sale materials used in both retail and wholesale outlets. Note that in the latter the URL might be that of the section of the site that is relevant to the B2B trader rather than the end-user.
* Company vehicles. Trucks and vans obviously, but cars can also be suitable in some circumstances. The boot of the CEO or MD's Mercedes is a bit tacky, but if the nature of the business means there are a number of staff using cars to perform their duties then that would be a consideration. Estate/realty agents would be an example.
* Employee's clothing. Once again, the CEO or MD probably gets away with it and does not have their Armani outfit spoiled by having 'atrustingbusiness.com' emblazoned across the shoulders. However, polo shirts, overalls and work coats can actually be enhanced by a discrete - but readable - domain name. I could add baseball caps and tee shirts here, but although employees might wear them, they are better listed under promotional give-a-ways.
* On anything related to any sponsorship the organization might be involved in. This would include event banners, press releases, literature or other promotional material.
* On any materials or tools used in the course of the day-to-day operations of a business. For example, scaffolding and vehicles on a construction site, and 'for sale' signs.
* As a footer on all general communications emails (that is non-direct marketing emails). However, considerations include:
(i) Do you make it a hyperlink? I'm inclined towards no. It's a personal thing, but I think that they look aesthetically wrong as the link shows up blue, bold and under-lined - unlike the rest of the message that is (normally) black, not bold, and not underlined. To me, the hyperlink just comes across as in-your-face advertising, which might be in contrast to the actual message being transmitted. Should anyone want to go to your website they can 'cut and paste' the URL into a browser.
(ii) Do you use the domain name rather than a URL? My concern here is that the email might be about a specific product or subject that has its own page or section within a website. Putting the domain name only will take the reader to the home page of the site, and not the page of the subject in question (eg company.com or company.com/emailsubject).
Now that you know where your domain name should be seen, make sure you read the next section to read how it should be seen.
DOMAIN NAMES IN PRACTICE :
do as we say, not as we do
In November 2004 I had reason to check out the American Marketing Association (AMA). Naturally, I looked online, and started by typing in the obvious domain names and suffixes. I had to give up and revert to a Google search, which revealed that the domain name of the American Marketing Association is marketingpower.com. Excuse me, marketingpower - where did that come from? I can excuse them missing 'AMA' on the various suffixes (well, almost - the AMA has been around since 1937, did they not think of registering a domain name back in the mid 90s?), but what about americanmarketingassociation?
At the time of writing (August 2009) the .com (for americanmarketingassociation) was available for purchase, .info and .org (seemingly) owned by speculators and .net hosted a website that had 'American Marketing Association' across the top of the homepage, but is nothing to do with that organization - making it (I would have thought) suitable for a recovery claim from the AMA.
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