Interesting Generic .COM domain useage

Posted March 11, 2011 by
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I regularly reference established brands who use generic domain names on prime time television. Last night, I saw an Ad during Desperate Housewives (No, I watch this, actually think it is awful, but my wife does watch) by California Closets, which featured the domain name ClosetOffer.com, a pure generic dotcom domain that is separate from the CaliforniaClosets.com brand and url. ClosetOffer.com takes you to a California Closet’s landing page with 2 direct response offers; one to take a showroom visit and one to receive a free consultation. The domain is intuitive and also, disarms the customer who is not sure they want to use California Closets, getting them to click and see who the offer is from. Two key points: 1) we will continue to see MORE brands using more generic keyword phrases that tell the consumer instantly and intuitively what the ad is for and 2) we NEVER see anything but .COM In prime time. EVER.

Go Daddy and the lost TLD

Posted February 7, 2011 by
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Last night, as I sat watching the Superbowl at a great annual party that I had hoped to miss when I assumed I’d be rooting for the Patriots in Dallas (was tough to stomach last night), I witnessed the zenith of my many years of preaching that .com is the only extension/tld that matters.

The GoDaddy .Co commercial (while I appreciated Joan Rivers head on a Fergie like body), was the single best example I have yet to see on the irrelevance of other tld’s. I quietly watched the ad, and didn’t say a word, until halftime, when the 39 people at the party, from close friends to friends of friends, went to eat the huge spread that our friends graciously served. I stood up and asked people if anyone knew “What website to go to in order to see the next part of the GoDaddy commercial, as they said in the ad”. Not 1 person answered GoDaddy.co. A few said they didn’t know, and most of the 39 said GoDaddy.COM.”

You see, no one even saw or noticed the .co. Everyone is conditioned to assume .COM.  Aside from that  failed ad, there were over $250m spent on  branding on SuperBowl Sunday prime time TV alone, all which branded the .COM; CokeCheers.com, CareerBuilder.com, Pepsi.com, Chevy.com, StateFarm.com,Doritos.com,Groupon.com,Coors.com,Target.com,NFL.com, Superbowl.com, and on and on. I have been a broken record for years, that other tld’s are a great money maker for the domain industry but irrelevant to brands and consumers. Billions of dollars are spent on .COM to every penny on other tld’s, every month, on TV prime time, radio,in print, and outdoor advertising.

In GoDaddy’s case, it is OK. Its not a big deal that 90 percent of the viewers saw .COM and went to .COM and not .co. It’s still a win for GoDaddy. But imagine if a different company spent big money on say, chocolate.co, and one of our websites,  Chocolate.com got 90+ percent of the traffic. Cha Ching for us, big bust for .co.

SimpleDomains.com’s Sarah Perry was quoted in an article on the .co tld in Fortune magazine and Fortune.com on Thursday, http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/02/04/whos-bowled-over-from-the-super-hype-about-co/.

Hooray for the 93 domainers that appreciated and saw the .co in the GoDaddy ad. Just note, in the Nation’s eyes, Joan Rivers joined Danica Patrick as the next GoDaddy.com girl. You can read much more on this in the SimpleDomains.com blog archives, http://simpledomains.com/blog/.

The Beginning of the End

Posted January 25, 2011 by
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I have been extremely vocal, via blogs and talks, for many years, on my concern that domainers taking dotcom generic domain names that could be superb potential brands, with deep useful content, products, or value, and “faking” it with a page of content here or there, to try to game the system and get in google. I have always maintained that it was short sighted and did not add to or bring out the high value a domain can offer a legitimate website or brand or business. It became even more obvious to me when sites like Ehow.com started populating page one of my own personal search results. I would click on the link to find literally, one page of generic garbage that was not remotely helpful, even exasperated when it came to medical searches and important things along the same line. I was disappointed in Google for letting it happen. I was longing for another search engine for the first time in years. And, now, just this week,  came this very insightful piece titled “Did Google Just Declare War on Demand Media?”.  It is worth reading, as i believe the faucets are opening.  Click here to read http://gigaom.com/2011/01/21/google-war-demand-media-ipo/

P&G getting in the game

Posted January 14, 2011 by
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Another , yet another, great smart use of a domain name by a major corporate brand, P&G (Procter and Gamble). It is also a fabulous online strategy by the consumer brand behemoth. They recently launched a website geared to MEN, under the domain, Manofthehouse.com. As you have seen and will continue to see, the more Madison avenue and corporate brands take to domains like this, the  more valuable the domain as an asset class becomes.

A Healthy, Happy Holiday to All

Posted December 22, 2010 by
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A Healthy, Happy Holiday to all Domainers, Brand Managers, Advertisers out there. It was a good year for Domain Names and understanding their critical importance to the Online Landscape.  Generic Category Dotcom domains are growing in importance each year and the people responsible for online operations at companies small to large are BEGINNING to realize it. To a fabulous 2011. See you then.

Happy Thanksgving

Posted November 23, 2010 by
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Wow, we are in the home stretch of yet another year, one where domains continue to be more and more important in the branding process, more and more recognized by large brands and corporations, more and more recognized by large ad agencies. BUT , we still have a long way to go. The continued availability of other TLD’s , money makers ONLY for ICAAN and those who create the TLD’s, continues, when still, at the end of the day, DOTCOM is what matters. So, I leave you all with my Thanksgiving Weekend Homework assignment. I am sure you will be traveling, whether by plane,train, or automobile, this holiday; look at advertisements in airports, on highway billboards; read special year end Magazines;I HOPE you will be watching my Patriots go to 9-2 on Thanksgiving day, as well as the other great NFL and College games. While doing so, watch the commercials, watch the promotions during the Broadcast (NFL.com for example); you get the drift. I bet you will see, as always, 99 percent .COM, to the tunes of billions of dollars of media. It is part of the branding. So, if someone wants to buy Chocolate.co and actually do something with it, market it, advertise it, go for it as we will get all the traffic at Chocolate.com. You see, .com is just conditioned as part of the brand experience. It is Walmart.com, Target.com, NFL.com, Superbowl.com, AmericanIdol.com, ABC.com, People.com, EBAY.com, Amazone.com, Google.com. Do your homework while you feast on turkey and football.

Big Brands are catching on

Posted October 15, 2010 by
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Time for my broken record blog. Big Brands are catching on. I have continually blogged about this time and time again. the 80/20 rule applies to domains. 80 percent of the value of Generic Dotcom Domain Names are the brand value to an end user, be it a VC, start up, entrepreneur, or big brand. The parking revenue, natural traffic is BS. This week I saw 2 more examples. John Hancock, one of the largest insurance companies, marketed the domain and website “FindTheAnswers.com” on prime time TV during the MLB Baseball playoffs, and, during the NFL Monday Night Game. Kraft Foods promoted a great cause under the domain “huddletofighthunger.com”.

At SimpleDomains.com, we continue to email our newsletter subscribers with offers of domains at 20 cents on the dollar. Our average selling price at SimpleDomains remains over $13,000 per domain to end users. We are offering domains as low as $3500 via our newsletter, at steep discounts off the end user price.

Follow me on Twitter at  AMiller325GD

MOREBIRTHDAYS.COM

Posted October 1, 2010 by
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I was watching prime time TV last night and saw the American Cancer Society’s compelling and moving ad, with the domain name MoreBirthdays.com. This is their rally cry, for cancer survivors and stricken to achieve more birthdays.  It is a terrific website, an incredible cause, and, a brilliant use of a generic dotcom domain name. It is simple, memorable, intuitive. See it once, never forget it which is a good thing when used in so much prime media advertising. Kudos to the brilliant people who decided to use that domain, and do something so compelling.

Reprint of Important Article I Authored

Posted September 28, 2010 by
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I wanted to re post an article I wrote a little over a year ago on domains, to remind everyone of the big picture.  Also, note, we are about to offer some incredible prices on a few domains in Sept and October at SimpleDomains.com to insiders who get newsletter so be ready and aware.

Key Points on the Evolving Value and Strategic Advantage of Category Domain Names

Domain names are appreciating, hard assets just like land or traditional real estate. The difference is, that domain names (like the Internet) are still in the 2nd inning, with a “Wild-Wild West” element which often leads to returns when these assets are sold that outperform other asset classes. For instance, Computer.com was acquired for $250,000 (they had inherited the domain in an acquisition). Nine months later, the buyer sold it to Systemax (NYSE company)  for $800,000, who then sold it for $2,200,000 nine months after that.

Many of the domain sales to larger companies are under a Non-Disclosure Agreement regarding price, but most are made public, including:


Gambling.com $17M

Insure.com for $16m

Games.com by AOL for $11.5m

Fund.com $10.2m

Beer.com $7.2m
Toys.com to Toys R Us for $5.1m

Clothes.com to Zappos (Amazon) for $4.9m

Vodka.com for $3.5m

Creditcards.com $3m
Candy.com $3m
Timeshares.com to Wyndham $3M
Computer.com $2.2m
Datarecovery.com for $1.8m
Camera.com for $1.5M
Ad.com for $1.4m

MANY large brands also own and leverage their category domain name. Some examples are:

Johnson and Johnson owns Baby.com (primary address on television)

Barnes and Noble own Books.com

AOL owns Love.com and Games.com

IAC owns Gifts.com and Hotels.com
Bank of America owns Loans.com
ABN Ambro owns Mortgages.com

Food companies such as Kraft, Pharmaceutical companies, and financial institutions own category domain names that are both generic and relevant to their specific industries; in some cases, these companies manage thousands of domains internally. Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline owns and operates Depression.com and Asthma. Glaxo is able to provide their visitors with the most recent and relevant information on these particular diseases, therefore becoming an authority in that specific industry. Instantly, visitors trust the gskbrand, allowing them to market their brand of depression and asthma medications to a much wider and more targeted audience. Bank of America owns Loans.com, ABN Ambro owns Morgages.com; Monster.com owns and operates Jobs.com, as does Toys R Us with Toys.com.

Additionally, many companies with multi-hundred-million, and even billion, dollar market caps or valuations switched either their domain name from their specific brand to a category domain name, or these companies changed the name of their brand altogether, and each company experienced exponential—from increasing the consumer-to-business/business-to-business traffic, to the exit valuation. The list below details just a few companies that have benefited from this:

-Dealtime became Shopping.com pre IPO (eBay acquired shortly after IPO for $635m)

-Hotel Reservation Network paid $10m for (and became) Hotels.com pre S 1 and IAC acquired.

-Teckno Surf became Advertising.com. AOL acquired for $495m.

-Rent.com was acquired by eBay for 400m+

-Dictionary.com was acquired by Ask.com

Why Dotcom. What about other TLD’s (extensions like .us,.biz,.me)

There has been a lot of noise about other TLD”s; but that’s all it is, NOISE.

Here are a few pointers:

-800 numbers still rule. So do Dotcoms.

-If you were to consume 1 week of media from primetime TV (ie: NFL, NBA, American Idol, Desperate House Wives, etc.), listening to the radio, reading billboards as you drive, it is our estimate that within that 1 week, you will see 95 to 99 percent Dotcom (with some  dotorg, dotgov , dotedu) totaling hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising and branding. Finding Walmart online is simple; you know to go to Walmart.com. Want see what’s going on in the NFL? Go to NFL.com. Missed who got the axe on American Idol? Just visit AmericanIdol.com. Dotcom has become part of the brand and consumer mindset. If you own Chocolate.com, nothing would be better than someone buying Chocolate.tv and spending millions against it; Chocolate.com would undoubtedly garner much of this traffic, mainly because the public is conditioned, all day, everyday, for many years to trust the dotcom extension. In Germany, where .DE has prevailed as a country code TLD better than most, the top 10 websites are still .com’s. The same goes for China. The more TLD’s available, as well as the increased dilution of these TLD’s, the better the outcome for dotcom assets, as they become more important.

Some of the strategic reasons to own a generic domain name:

-Leads to being rated higher for relevancy and thus optimizes better in the major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

This is the most important of many points. The algorithms that Google uses to rank sites constantly changes, but the one component that is consistently weighed higher than the rest is a site’s relevancy score. Google is trying to deliver the most legitimate and relevant results to cut out any “spam” sites. It has been proven that when the keyword being searched is in the domain, that relevancy scores are high, but when the domain fits that term, then you get the highest relevancy score. There are still “naysayers,” such as SEO agencies, that don’t work with the best domains, but will claim that they can deliver top performances by utilizing great SEO blocking and tackling techniques and ultimately obtaining high rankings on Google. To put this in simpler terms, all that an SEO firm does is add content–LOTS of content to your site, as well as add links (preferably one way, inbound links to and from other sites. If one site does a fabulous job with SEO, including pages of relevant content, and then a new company with a generic domain name does a lousy job with SEO and just has a parked site, then the lesser domain should, but not always, win in free search, mainly because the lesser domain is simply a more developed site (sometimes the domain can even prevail here in less competitive categories). However, if both sites are equally developed, the category and keyword domain name will win every time on relevancy given time.

This leads to the question: How do domains help with Paid Search, PPC, or SEM? Anyone can pay out a few bucks for placement in the paid search, but there is emerging evidence that category domain names attract more clicks; paid placement would positively influence your free, organic search results(paid companies are seen by the spiders as more relevant), and mort importantly, when someone does click on a link in the paid search results, if the link/domain name is generic your visitors are more likely to remember the domain name, and therefore they are more likely to return to it at a future date, and even more likely to refer their friends to your site.

The final key point as it relates to search is direct navigation to your site. Let’s say an Internet user has never heard of neither MerchantAccounts.com, nor MerchantExpress.com. Of the two, the generic domain name (MerchantAccounts.com) is more likely to be typed directly into the browser by the user, whereas names such as MerchantExpress.com would not; free and paid search traffic that has typed in or searched the words “Merchant Account” is the highest qualified lead on the Internet. For example, at InsuranceQuotes.com, 50 percent of Direct Navigation and free search traffic becomes an active plicy, and the overall conversion including paid search is 30+ percent.


-Creates an intuitive address and brand in your industry

The Internet has a lot of clutter in every category, also reflected in Google. Having an intuitive domain cuts through it all. Even if you are an established brand, such as Johnson and Johnson or Barnes and Noble, it is often the case that a consumer still has not made a brand decision. By being both BN.com and Books.com, or Baby.com, the established brand has a chance to educate and acquire customers from an unbiased point, leveraging their category domain and address.

- Has instant credibility with consumers and businesses.

Consumers are conditioned to see a category term domain and assume it is credible, in the same way Google sees as relevant. Sometimes there is one opportunity to get that visitor or customer and the credible address wins.

- Establishes your business as the authority in its category.
 When salespeople call customers as Creditcards.com, at the business development level, they come in door with inherent credibility.


-Is proven to significantly increase recall when advertised or marketed.

With offline advertising such as radio, TV or billboard, a memorable easy to spell intuitive  address(Baby.com for J & J) will be recalled when the target is ready to visit your site. It’s possible someone doesn’t need  insurance the day they see the ad. Then in 6 months they do and it is proven that they are more likely to recall and visit a category site like InsuranceQuotes.com .  

- Leads to dramatic reduction of lost traffic due to lower retention and misspelling.

- Provides the most authoritative Internet address even for proven brands.

- Protect yourself from a competitor having the category domain.

Alas, Summer is ending but domains are heating up

Posted September 7, 2010 by
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Summer has come to an end. I hope everyone enjoyed the incredible weather the East Coast experienced. Hot, Warm Water, sunny skies. Summertime tends to be a quieter time for business and domains but domain values definitely held their own. With Domainfest behind us in August and Traffic ahead in October (plus some Europe based shows), we are seeing a massive surge of interest in our domains at SimpleDomains.com. We have had over 50 inqueries  since September 1 and have sold a ton of domains at great prices. I am excited for the Fall 2010 for domain name assets and believe there are incredible investment opportunities for domainers as VC’s, PE firms, brands and businesses start to understand that it begins and ends with the right dotcom, intuitive domain.