When The Domain Name You Want Is Taken

Steve RivkinApril 8, 20132 min

So you want to register a domain name – let’s call it “www.smith.com” – but that URL is already taken.

No surprise. More than 225 million domain names are registered worldwide, according to Verisign. (That’s something in the range of 30 times the number of existing trademarks.)

So, what should a marketer do? Let’s work from three assumptions: First, you want the status of a dot-com and won’t be happy with a lesser billing.  Second, you’re unable (or unwilling) to change the “Smith.”  Three, you’ve explored the purchase of the existing domain, but it’s either too expensive or too time-consuming a process.

You could…

  • Expand the company name. Consider SmithCorp.com or SmithLLC.com. Or consider telling more: SmithTechnologies.com or SmithVentures.com.
  • Expand the product or brand name by adding the specific: SmithCoffee.com or SmithOptics.com. (This should also boost your search optimization.)
  • Wave the flag. You should be proud to be identified as SmithAmerica.com or SmithUSA.com.
  • Go bigger. Consider SmithInternational.com or (using the common abbreviation) SmithIntl.com. Bigger yet: SmithUniversal.com.
  • Urge action. Following the lead of the direct-response crowd, consider GoSmith.com or TrySmith.com.
  • Underscore immediacy. SmithToday.com might work.
  • Be irreverent. With a nod to college rah-rah: WeAreSmith.com.

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Steve Rivkin

One comment

  • Mike

    February 13, 2014 at 10:23 am

    One effective branding technique for domain acquisition is to review BrandStarters ( http://www.brandstarters.com ) or similar brandable domain marketplaces to locate a name. This approach has the benefit of knowing that the name will ultimately be available for purchase at a known cost rather than engaging in frustrating negotiations with uninterested owners. Even if you do not purchase a name, you may wind up with some great ideas through the process of window shopping.

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