A number of our clients recently had great successes in securing the exact domain that they sought. One simply waited out the owner who either purposely or forgetfully did not renew their domain. Uppercase monitored the domain's registration status and renewal date and purchased it the day it went back on the market. For another client we contacted the domain owner and after pointing out the they had been sitting on this domain for years with no activity and no revenue negotiated a very low four figure purchase. And we advised a third client to add a short word to the company name we created to secure the URL For $2.99 we kept the essence of the company’s name, secured a powerful URL, and promoted a secondary benefit that they had been hoping to communicate to their prospect.
So it seemed like a good time to revisit our POV of the role of an exact URL in evaluating a new name for a company. Here’s what we counsel our clients:
Rule #1: The company or product name is of paramount importance and should not be compromised to obtain an exact URL.
Rule #2: It is a guaranteed certainty that the dotcom for any shortish, real or real-sounding, English word or words will be taken. Period. Full-stop.
Rule #3: Every owner who parks their domains with the intention of selling it has an inflated sense of its worth.
Rule #4: If your new company is a 100% pure play web model, and you feel strongly about an exact URL, it is important to understand how often your prospect will access your site. This will be different for different types of businesses:
Rule #4a: If you expect your most valuable customers to be highly frequent purchasers, regularly ordering consumables for example, it is likely that after the first order they will have you bookmarked and their search engine will learn their preference and auto populate the address bar. So in very short order the importance of an exact URL is significantly diminished.
Rule #4b: If you expect a less frequent purchase cycle, it is important to understand how users input the URL to visit a site. Research suggests that most web users access a site through a search engine. So if your site is well optimized, the engine will find it whether the URL matches your company’s name or not. Further studies suggest that the search engine algorithm does not place much weight in the URL anyway.
Rule #4c: If returning but infrequent users want to revisit your site, it is likely that they will type in the first few letters of your company name and the search engine will auto populate the rest in either the address bar or the search bar.
So we conclude as we started: A great name is much better than a mediocre name with an exact URL.