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A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald has detailed how the owner of let the name expire and it was snapped up at auction for $125,000. This follows on from which was bought by Woolworths late last year for $33,000. In the article, the spending is justified as being a small part of a large marketing budget. Obviously there is nothing that is going to stop CEO’s or marketing directors from buying domains that are that overpriced, if they overall budget runs into the tens of millions. However the problem is exactly that, they are overpriced.

Here are 7 good reasons to not buy generic keywords for your domain name;

  1. Unique names, like Facebook, allow you to brand your business however you want. People may already have an attachment one way or another to the word “Hardware”, for better or worse.
  2. You will never really “own” the name, as it is generic. You can’t trademark the name “Hardware” to describe your service.
  3. Good SEO practice, as we have detailed before, means that the domain name is not a big part of the overall value of a site. Any good SEO manager will be able to get you to number one for your search terms without owning the domain.
  4. A memorable name like Facebook, Google, Twitter etc allows you to dominate a service category by becoming the alternative name for that service. When someone says they will search for something online they say “Google” it. They don’t say “Search Engine” it.
  5. A name that you own, and can trademark, allows you to branch out into other areas not connected to your core service, like Virgin Mobile etc.
  6. Having an online brand that matches your offline brand gives you synchronicity, which increases your marketing power.
  7. Buying a domain name for a large portion of your budget is a big sunk cost. If the market shifts and moves on, you are stuck with a generic name that may no longer applies. Imagine owning (although this may have a large vintage market, it probably doesn’t have the same attraction it once did).

You get the general idea. There are many better ways to spend your marketing budget than on a big domain name. It is a lot like having the first 30 seconds of a Super Bowl ad, you might get people to take notice, but your money could easily be spent elsewhere.


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