Styles of Business Brand Domains Part 3: Brandable Generic DomainsPosted: October 13, 2011
In Part 2 of this series covering the different kinds of domains for business brands, we covered the purely generic domains like CreditCards.com, Hotels.com and others use successfully. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at the combination of brandable and generic styles in a single domain and why you may or may not want to use them for your business brand.
As we make clear throughout this series, there is no one solution for all businesses. Brandable domains work for a lot of major brands looking for long-lasting worldwide appeal and something to define anew and can also help small businesses stand out. Generic domains work for many sites large and small to start off strong with a defined purpose and the ability to capture targeted attention and traffic easier.
What happens if you took both styles of name and put them into one? Let’s see how brandable generic domains do just that.
What are brandable generic domains?
A brandable generic domain combines a brandable word, phrase or aspect with a generic word or phrase into a single domain. They are brandable in that the domain is differentiated from other similar brands while they are at least somewhat generic as a portion of the name indicates what the company is about or has to offer.
Examples of different types of brandable generic domains
- An existing word or phrase with some relevance but not full relevance. Examples: Mint.com (for financial planning), SalesForce.com (for CRM software)
- A made-up word with part of it indicative of what the company is about. Examples: Microsoft.com (software), Travelocity.com (travel), Wikipedia.com (encyclopedia)
- Brandable word or phrase + generic product, service, concept or category. Examples: HotJobs.com, PayPal.com, HostGator.com, CarsForLess.com
- A name or initials + generic product, service, concept or category. Examples: HuffingtonPost.com, KBAuto.com, AandWRootBeer.com.
- A number or differentiating word + generic product, service, concept or category. Examples: 1ShoppingCart.com, TheFreeDictionary.com
Reasons to use a brandable generic domain for your business
1. It can still be interesting or become a household name while being relevant to what you do
Purely brandable domains can be exciting or interesting while purely generic domains typically sacrifice most of that appeal in order to spell out exactly what the site is about. A brandable generic offers a chance at getting both benefits – a visitor should know or at least have a clue as to what is at the site while liking the brand appeal as well.
2. It can differentiate you from other similar sites or companies while a purely generic may not
While it would be interesting to have Newspaper.com or Plumber.com, both names lack identity and especially aren’t feasible if they need additional descriptors like a location. Even if you then use a location, you’re then limiting yourself to what you can do with the name. News sites like HuffingtonPost.com and TechCrunch.com have seen worldwide popularity, largely thanks to their unique personalities that are now defined by their brands, which would be difficult to accomplish with purely generic names.
3. Search engines may still give them some love for any generic terms in it
While exact matching keyword domains benefit search rankings the most, a partial match still indicates some relevance and can help with rankings as well. The benefit is far less but if you feel that there’s little brandability lost from using a strong brandable generic instead of a strong purely brandable domain, that little benefit may outweigh the downsides you face.
Reasons NOT to use a brandable generic domain for your business
1. Often still limits the scope of what you can do similar to purely generic domains
If visitors wouldn’t expect a search engine on Insurance.com, then they wouldn’t expect it on Insurance90.com or GreatInsurance.com. Top tier names like a Mint.com have less of a loss of scope, but a purely brandable name can very often be used for anything and that’s rarely the case for a domain with any generic qualities.
2. Generally harder to remember than purely generic domains
Once you introduce brandability to a name, you introduce the unknown. Purely generic domains are products, services and concepts people are familiar with and nothing else to remember. With hybrids, they will either not completely match what the site is about or they will have some brandable portion of the name that needs to be remembered by the person if they don’t bookmark the site.
3. The domain is generally more replaceable not as valuable, is less of an asset
A top tier purely brandable domain can potentially appeal to all markets but is more replaceable than a top tier generic domain. A top tier generic domain however is limited in its scope. The brandable generic typically inherits both weaknesses. Only if the name can also be used as a purely brandable as well (like Mint.com) or as a purely generic (like SalesForce.com) can it still hold wider appeal and be less replaceable, but names that are only hybrids suffers from being both brandable and generic.
At Domainate, we have helped many businesses get the right domain, the one that fits their desired style and branding goals. We have helped brand and rebrand startups and local companies along with multi-billion dollar corporations. Contact us and we can help you determine what would work the best for your business brand.