Avoid These Basic Branding Blunders

domain name

While searching for the perfect brand it’s important to remember the basics.   But surprisingly that’s exactly what many startups don’t do.

The domain consulting firm, NameNinja, reports that 78% of the startups, who attended the 2015 Collision Conference, had flawed domain names that were “counterintuitive and likely to pose marketing challenges.” To analyze these 491 domains NameNinja evaluated their spelling, extensions and brand matching.

The results of their analysis came out like this:

Radio Test – Almost 70% of the startups had domain names that were not spelled the way they sound.  That’s right. Potential customers who heard their domain name wouldn’t be able to spell it correctly the first time.  This is disturbing since discrepancies between sound and spelling can create unnecessary challenges and roadblocks for marketing strategies.

Dot Com  –  Just under 20% of the startups were using a domain extension that was not a dot com.  Google elected to use dot xyz for its new parent company, Alphabet.  But Google’s move to dot xyz, created a shock wave of international headlines.  So its xyz extension choice was brought to the attention of millions of people in a memorable way. This was accomplished almost overnight and with little or no cost.  No startup could match that kind of pervasive media buzz.  A more prudent move for startups would be to acquire the dot com extension and follow in the footsteps of 99% of the largest companies in America.

One on One – About 10% of the startups had a domain name that did not match their brand name.  Having a domain that is different from a brand, even slightly different, will likely confuse customers. Overcoming this customer disconnect could waste both time and money.

Let’s look at some examples of potential domain name issues using the fictitious brand: CoolCloud.

KoolKlowd.com – While one minor, phonetic variation may be acceptable in a brand/domain (ie Kool-Aid) it is not “cool” to have multiple variations in a name, especially when they don’t jive with conventional spelling principles.

CoolCloud.net  — In this version the brand is spelled correctly but with an inferior domain extension. While some country code domain names are suitable (ie Alphabet.xyz) the dot com extension remains the low risk, extension of choice for most startups.

GetCoolCloud.com – Creating a mismatch between the brand and the domain name by adding additional sounds or words creates a headache for a business.  It can handicap a marketing team before they’ve even started to carve out a successful strategy.

If violating these fundamental naming principles is as pervasive as it seems, then following them could be an edge for those that are alert. Startups could stay one step ahead of the competition by adhering to these principles.

A top shelf domain name is both doable and affordable even on a limited budget. Just use an established marketplace with a broad selection of curated, brandable domains. With a little consultation, creativity and shopping, almost every startup can have a domain name that provides a rock solid foundation for their long term, business success.



  • Domain Comment

    Great advice that even some Branding Agencies sometimes don’t even follow