Styles of Business Brand Domains Part 1: Purely Brandable DomainsPosted: October 11, 2011
Figuring out a good domain name for your business can be unexpectedly challenging. Sometimes when you conjure up a business idea, the “perfect name” immediately comes to mind and the domain happens to be available or for sale at a reasonable cost. Other times, you may feel stuck brainstorming for names and hoping something jumps out at you.
A crucial step you can insert before taking the brainstorming route is figuring out the STYLE of domain you want. While there are dozens if not hundreds of very precise styles of domains, they’re nearly all based on 3 primary domain styles: Purely Brandable, Purely Generic/Descriptive, and Brandable Generic (a combination of the two).
The style of domain we’ll look at in this post is the purely brandable domain.
What are purely brandable domains?
A domain that is purely brandable has no existing meaning relevant to its use or is otherwise made-up. The intent is for the business to apply a unique meaning and relevance to the domain through their branding of it.
Examples of different types of purely brandable domains
- Made-up word not using existing words. Examples: Imgur.com, Badoo.com, Etsy.com
- Made-up word using existing word(s) that aren’t relevant to its use. Examples: Verizon.com (vertical + horizon), Chegg.com (chicken + egg), Squidoo.com
- Alternate spelling of an existing word or phrase with no meaning relevant to its use. Examples: Google.com (googol, for search), Flickr.com (flicker, for image sharing), Digg.com (dig, for social bookmarks)
- Existing word or phrase that have no meaning relevant to its use. Examples: Apple.com (for computers), Monster.com (for jobs), NewEgg.com (for electronics retail)
- Personal names or combination of names. Examples: Rutgers.com, MorganStanley.com, Madonna.com
- Any of the above variations using both sides of the dot, possibly including subdomain or subfolder. Examples: Bit.ly (known and referred to as “Bitly”), Del.icio.us, Foundat.io/n
- Abbreviations with either no meaning or short for a phrase with no meaning relevant to its use. Examples: LG.com (Lucky GoldStar and now “Life’s Good” for electronics), FB.com (Facebook for social media)
Reasons to use a purely brandable domain for your business
1. The sky is the limit
The reason why we see so many huge corporations with these kinds of names (Google, Apple, Amazon, etc.) is because they can brand their name to just about whatever uses they want. Google and Apple especially have drastically expanded the amount of industries they reach over time. If they were using domains like SearchEngine.com and Computer.com, their domain would have limited them to their initial scope.
2. They can more easily become “household names”
A powerful brand will always be talked about a lot, but few brands become so spread that they come up in conversation in households throughout the world. The fact that these kinds of names establish new meaning for the terms or phrases used typically makes it easier to be talked about in their branded context. Being short and easier to say than longer generic or brandable generic phrases helps too.
3. They can appeal to anyone and everyone
Some of these pure brandable domains have a certain feel to them that may target a particular demographic. Some like Nike and Coke on the other hand are short and simple, easy to say and don’t really bring up anything preconceived. They’ve been able to achieve appeal in pretty much any and every demographic worldwide. Generic terms can often alienate kids and teenagers.
Reasons NOT to use a purely brandable domain for your business
1. Can’t tell what it’s about at a glance
Part of the benefit of pure generic or brandable generic domains is that the names are relevant to their use, so one glance at the brand or domain and you know what you’re getting into. Purely brandable domains don’t have that benefit and it can be tough for them to take off initially for that reason, since people are bombarded with short catchy brand names all day long.
2. Tougher to grow search engine traffic for relevant keywords
The keywords of a search being in the domain provide great ranking benefits, especially if the domain matches the exact search phrase. With purely brandable domains, that benefit will never be there. The additional boost can be crucial not just early on but in the long haul if you have tough competition for your targeted keywords. CreditCards.com reigns supreme on Google for credit cards, beating out Visa and other credit conglomerates.
3. Not suitable for every industry or niche
If you’re an attorney looking to establish a presence online, chances are you are going to go with your name, a generic domain (SanDiegoAttorney.com) or a brandable generic domain (CoastalLawGroup.com). A purely brandable name just does not fit for it. This is true for most industries that have a more serious nature, i.e. you might expect a television or radio commercial with a serious tone.
Next is Part 2 of this series, we’ll go over purely generic domains, used by companies like Cars.com, Hotels.com, FreeCreditReport.com and more.
At Domainate, we have ample experience with purely brandable domains and the other kinds of brand names you may need. We have helped rebrand both startups and multi-billion dollar corporations. Contact us and we can help you determine what would be best for your new business or project.