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WEB/DIGITAL Domain name woes

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GettingThere

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Dec 3, 2007
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So, I am going to be developing a website for my wife's little side venture and we have brainstormed company names and matching domains. The domain we feel fits best is unavailable in its simplest form, but a hyphenated version is available. The hyphen fits with the name from a grammar/logical standpoint, but I would like to get some opinions on how a hyphenated domain may affect traffic, if at all. The name is memorable and catchy with alliteration, but the hyphen has me second guessing the domain marketability.

At least by word-of-mouth, the hyphen makes it a bit more difficult to communicate, but I am not sure how it may affect the average googler.

Insight appreciated. :coffee:

-John
 

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Analyzer

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Aug 31, 2007
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You'll lose sigificant traffic to the domain with no hyphen. People aren't used to see them in sites urls and will type the other address.

If the domain belongs to a competitor don't even think about using the one with the hyphen, otherwise it's your choise.

If the other domain is not developed (it's registered but with no site built) run a whois and try to contact the owner. You might me able to get it relatively cheap even though I wouldn' bet in that. It seems nowdays everyone believes their crappy domains are worth at least $10k.
 

LightHouse

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Just did the WHOIS and emailed the guy. Thanks

Hope he isn't too steep with the price. lol
This will be my first domain "bid".

You may have to convince him first. hopefully his phone number is there as well.
 
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GettingThere

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Dec 3, 2007
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lol...thanks. I've actually been convincing her that it could really be big and that she need not limit herself to thinking small. I guess 'little' slipped out because right now it is starting from scratch in her spare time, as she is a full-time teacher of very involved subjects that take much of her time. I certainly don't want that word to limit the possibilities, so I'll keep it in check.

While she is working the product/service aspect, I am focusing on the web development and business technicalities for/with her. I don't want her getting bogged down in the technical stuff and get discouraged when i can be working it...i have some background in programming and I have more spare time than she has for figuring out the business-oriented options. Ultimately, she has the final word since this is her baby. It is also a great learning experience for myself that I can apply to my own business plan that I am working as well.

Thanks
 

MJ DeMarco

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Hyphens are ONE of many mistakes people make when buying domains -- it is often their first big business decision and they do it wrong.

Can you name me one HUGE, WELL KNOWN website with a hyphen? Google? LinkedIn? Facebook? I've been online over a decade and can't remember any property that I've done business with that utilizes a hyphen. (My first domain I bought back in the 90's had a hyphen and I soon learned this mistake early).

Your domain is critical to your business success ... don't go cheap on it. If you need to hit the secondary market for a quality dot-com and pay $500 vs $9.99, do it. Let me repeat .... DO IT.

Good luck.
 
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GettingThere

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Thank you. That was my gut feeling, but I wasn't 100% since I haven't run a site before, let alone market one. Points taken.
 

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PEERless

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Jan 23, 2008
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I'm going to swim against the current on this one and say that the hyphen does not matter. Web navigation is driven by clicks, not typing. Search engines and social bookmarking sites all use links. Once your customers hit that link, they can bookmark your site and use it every day without ever having typed it into their address bar.

i.e. Quick show of hands: how many people got here today by TYPING, "http://www.thefastlanetomillions.com"?

I can understand the argument for a cute, catchy domain; but prospects will be Googling you anyway. I'd focus on SEO.
 

MJ DeMarco

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I'm going to swim against the current on this one and say that the hyphen does not matter. Web navigation is driven by clicks, not typing. Search engines and social bookmarking sites all use links. Once your customers hit that link, they can bookmark your site and use it every day without ever having typed it into their address bar.

i.e. Quick show of hands: how many people got here today by TYPING, "http://www.thefastlanetomillions.com"?

I can understand the argument for a cute, catchy domain; but prospects will be Googling you anyway. I'd focus on SEO.
Unfortunately you couldn't be more wrong on this one. Sure any domain can be SEO'd to death and keywords bought likewise, but if your interested in creating brandable name that can be marketing in ANY MEDIUM, a hyphen is simply foolish. The case against a hyphen has ZERO to do with 'type-in' traffic but the holy grail of marketing: Creating a brand that can leverage all aspects of marketing and promotion.

Had I registered "The-Fastlane-To-Millions.com" and someday I take-out a billboard on the highway, or a radio spot (or even a TV spot) and a voice over said "Visit The dash Fastlane dash To dash Millions .com" I'd be throwing $$ down the toilet and giving free advertising to my hyphenless counterpart ... who BTW, could be anybody, including a competitor. If I put the name in print (say my book for example) the same result: 1/2 visit the hyphenated version while the others hit the de-hyphenated version - lost traffic and lost momentum.

If you harmlessly tell a friend, "Visit my website at xxx-xxx-xxxxx.com" you can bet they will never get there, but your hyphenless friend will get the visit. Word of mouth marketing? Forget it. Your hyphen just killed that marketing avenue.

Secondly, not ONE hyphenated domain name has been branded successfully into the mainstream -- simply because they suck a$$.

Now, if you objective is to start a website, earn a little bread with SEO, keywords and typical e-marketing strategies, go ahead and hyphenate. However, I can predict with some decent probability that no one is gonna come knocking on your door looking to buy you for $150 million.
 

AlwaysCurious

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Jan 16, 2008
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There is a counter example though, the biggest german telco named "Telekom". It´s been one of the first big players that started the dotcom boom in Germany, hoster of millions of email accounts, and they did open their portal with t-online.de

I think they do regret, because ever since they open other sites like tcom, thome or tmobile without hyphens. Meanwhile they also baught the domain without it and redirected to the original one. This is the only big example I know and it honestly speaks against hyphens.
 

Z5 FILMS

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Aug 13, 2007
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I'm going to swim against the current on this one and say that the hyphen does not matter. Web navigation is driven by clicks, not typing. Search engines and social bookmarking sites all use links. Once your customers hit that link, they can bookmark your site and use it every day without ever having typed it into their address bar.

i.e. Quick show of hands: how many people got here today by TYPING, "http://www.thefastlanetomillions.com"?

I can understand the argument for a cute, catchy domain; but prospects will be Googling you anyway. I'd focus on SEO.

Hyphens are fine for junk "thrown down" sites for 16 year olds trying to make a couple dollars with Adsense.

If you're trying to build a brand and an image, hyphens "suck a$$" no doubt.

Not to mention it just makes your site look amateurish. Every time I'm searching and see the domains such as "www.my-awesome-great-super-cool-website-online.com" my first thought is it's owned by a kid who does not take his site too serious and the content must be crap and probably filled with ads.

NO HYPHENS!
 

Merkin Man

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Jul 25, 2007
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Well, here is the response from the owner:

"Hi John. Thanks for your email, but no, I'm not selling any domains.
Best Regards;"
While I have no experience in this area, reading this response got me to thinking of how I would handle the situation if in your shoes.

If it were me, and I couldn't find a name that was better or equally suited for my website idea, I would pleasantly reply to the domain owner with an offer. Not just a polite are you interested in selling? I would come up with an attractive dollar amount, that you can live with paying, that you honestly think he would be willing to take to part with his domain.

What's the worst that happens? He says no?

You're there now anyway!!! :smxB:
 

Analyzer

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Aug 31, 2007
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Portugal, Europe
Another point on this issue, do you really need that specific domain for it to work well?

When I think about the big companies whose names everyone recognizes it's lear they didn't wnt after the perfect description domain, for example:

Google.com vs. search.com
Youtube.com vs. videos.com
MySpace.com vs. socialnetwork.com

I bet all the domains on the right were taken and expensive when the guys on the left started. That didn't prevent them from succeed though.

It might work well to choose a new term, even create a new word and develop the business/brand around it.
 

Merkin Man

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Jul 25, 2007
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It might work well to choose a new term, even create a new word and develop the business/brand around it.
Love the advice, Analyzer. Particularly the idea of creating a new word to build the business around.

Speed +++
 
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GettingThere

New Contributor
Dec 3, 2007
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Thanks for all the feedback. At this point we are back to brainstorming domains. We will hit an available one that we feel is just as fitting with no hyphen, I'm sure.

- John
 

mypenplease

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Jan 22, 2008
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well this is interesting question all good post, I own 900 websites. In domain ownership trying establish value is hard; don't over pay this will be a waste of your money and time. Stay away from hyphenated domains use a name spinner like domainsbot to help.
 

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rico

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Aug 14, 2007
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At this point we are back to brainstorming domains. We will hit an available one that we feel is just as fitting with no hyphen, I'm sure.
Thats the best way. Have your favourite URL as your main site, with others directing to it.

But if you come across any you like, always buy them. Think MJ did a thread on this advice. Just set up a simple re-direct page to get traffic.

Also look for mis-spellings. I've registered a domain which is a slight mis-spelling of our industry. EG www.industtry.com This is already sending me traffic, before I've even launched the main site. :)

Then go to www.stumbleupon.com and similar sites and get all your friends to upload your URL to those sites too. You'd be amazed how much traffic you can get for free.

In summary..

1x main domain for the site
Multiple other domains with good SEO pointing to main site
 

PEERless

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Jan 23, 2008
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Unfortunately you couldn't be more wrong on this one.
WOW! I stand corrected. I thought my insight as a consumer of web content would have meant something, but I guess I haven't made the big bucks yet.

Thanks for being gentle with me. ...Still learning.
 

aptohosting

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As always EVERYONE can check out domain names they are interested in

www.aptohosting.com/domainchecker.php

YOUR DOMAIN NAMES WILL NOT BE CACHED AND WE AT APTO HOSTING WILL NOT TRY TO REGISTER NAMES YOU ATTEMPTED!!!!
 

Jonleehacker

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aptohosting

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Jonleehacker

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I understand the benfit of using pickydomains, but what kind of protection do you get?

It just doesn't make sense to me to give my ideas to a bunch of seasoned domainers.
My understanding is that you don't pay unless you register the domain, so there is no point in their service if they are going to steal your domain ideas. In other words the names that they brainstorm for you must be available.
 

mtnman

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I get ya, but I was just thinking from a domainers viewpoint. It could be highly lucrative to have people spitting DNS ideas at you all day....take the primary spin-offs and submit a secondary value name.
 
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GettingThere

New Contributor
Dec 3, 2007
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Central Florida
To follow up, my wife came up with an entirely new name that she likes and the domain for the name was available with no hyphens or other oddities. We scooped it up on Friday.

Now I have to get on the site development so we can get this thing going.

Thanks for all the tips and responses.

Apto- will contact you when I am further along with the site for hosting (slow going teaching myself new code languages). Thanks.

-John
 

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