There has been much debate about which factors are the most important when determining what domain to purchase. Choosing a domain name should be deeply tied to the business plan and the vision of the company. A domain can be chosen for its advantages in Search Engine placement, a company’s brand, or as a description of a general term. One must consider a domain’s size, pronunciation, how memorable it is, and if the name is taken in other similar forms or extensions. For example, if one registers a domain.net, but the domain.com is taken and developed, creating a brand for domain.net would be very dangerous and might end up being confused for its .com counterpart.
Search Engine Placement Domains
The purpose of these domains is to rank high in the search engines because the actual domain name contains the keywords being searched for. Search Engine domains are very rarely brandable and are mostly used exclusively as side Internet properties to redirect traffic to the main site. A company that sells red widgets would benefit from acquiring red-widgets.com and redwidgets.com because it is natural that people will remember such address, but most importantly, that domain name has a high probability of ranking at, or very near to, the top of a search for red widgets.
When coming from the offline business into the online, the obvious choice for brand domains is the offline brand name as .com and/or .country extension. Country extensions are used in countries where there is more popular in their country extension than on the .com. In the case that no previous brand existed before moving online, one must be very creative in the approach of a brandable name. At this point, there are millions of domain names registered, and many times, one finds that the desired domain is taken.
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There is a consensus among most Internet domain experts that the shorter the domain, the better. A domain that is about 5 letters long is highly desirable for a brand. However, the domain must sound right as well. Xyqpt.com would be undesirable because it cannot be easily said or remembered by the general public.
General Term Domains
In the height of the Internet Bubble, general term domains were the most popular choice. Many companies failed, even though they had the generic word for their market. Companies like TheKnot.com refused to purchase Weddings.com because they were conscious that they needed to focus on the brand. Although this strategy worked for TheKnot.com, generic words have a value of their own that cannot be ignored. Like Search Engine Placement Domains, which attract a large number of visitors through search engine referrals, so do generic word domains.
For this reason, generic word names are still very much desired and their value continues to rise. What should be learned about the Dot Com Bubble is that generic domains are not everything in a dot-com business, rather they are a valuable (yet, not essential) component in an array of variables that make an Internet business a success. The current value of these domains and other domains, in general, can be seen in an online publication that covers recent domain name transactions at Domain Journal Sales