The Dot-Com Reign of Terror

dot com, trademark search, naming, aristocracy, strategyIt’s the year 2012, you have a limited marketing budget so you need your new name to be inherently engaging, catchy and memorable – doing the bulk of the heavy lifting for you. While this may be achievable, you also need the corresponding dot-com. And now the situation morphs from the modern-era of doable into new age impossibility: the dot-com reign of terror.

Securing the rights to a dot-com can be costly and time-consuming. If you know from the outset that procuring a dot-com is important, we recommend the following strategy.

First, focus on the basic tenants of a good name: (1) Does it appeal to the target audience? (2) Is it differentiating? (3) Does it drive purchase intent or at least the desire to find out more? (4) Is it catchy and memorable?

Second, check for trademark issues at www.uspto.gov and by doing a quick web search.

Now, you can start worrying about the dot-com. A good way to think about dot-coms is that they are like license plates. Even if someone else has the exact spelling you want, you can often tweak a letter or two and come up with something just as good or occasionally even better that is a registrable URL.  And when considering spelling changes, consider embedded numbers given their modern-day acceptance: text-messaging, case in point. For example, when Woodway (the fitness equipment manufacturer) came to us wanting a name for a new and innovative, ultra-durable treadmill, one name we suggested was Forefront. However, that spelling of the dot-com was unavailable. So, we suggested 4Front as an alternative where the “4” tied in to four new features, put the name at the top of the alphabetical list and perhaps, most importantly, was an available dot-com. What was going to be a losing battle turned into an important victory with just a fairly simple strategy change. (Refer to our Woodway blog post for more information.)

So, in this era of limited dot-com availability don’t lose focus on what is still most important: a name that works well for your target and that does not infringe on someone else’s trademark rights. Only then should you start to worry about dot-com issues, and at that point we recommend focusing on slight spelling variations if your first choice is unavailable or ridiculously expensive. For other strategies regarding securing the ideal dot-com, please contact us. We don’t want you to become subject to a dot-com aristocracy by another greedy cyber-squatter!

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