The Case for Brandables

I just had a dialogue with a friend who is involved in so I checked out their site. Working for, I have seen a lot of great brandables come to life. I often have to explain the pros and cons of generic domain names vs. brandable domain names. I like the video they made that makes the case for unique, brandable, website names.

Many startups and companies use ccTLDs to form brandable domain names. I don’t know when this trend began but suspect it started with (even though now they own the version as well). Enjoy the video, it’s pretty cool and helpful to a new business trying to decide on a unique name.

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Why Should You Care About Domain Names?

Just posted at

“If you know domain names, you know how to do business online.And today, if you don’t know how to do business online, you don’t know how to do business.”  

(me ;-) )

Domain Names Are A Core Element In Today’s Online World.

top-500Internet Retailer’s Top 500 guide ( includes countless examples of the most successful online companies in the world using generic domain names to attract Internet traffic and to do business at very low costs. Here are just a few examples:

  • AC Lens’
  • Amazon’s &
  • – A top 500 Internet retailer (#63 in the world)
  • (#128 in the world)
  • Book(s).com – both owned by Barnes & Noble
  • Bare Necessities’ (#258 on the list)…

Without getting past the B’s it is obvious that domain names matter. These are top 500 Internet retailers. Companies pay millions to own high-traffic domains like this. But there is a much larger group of lesser domain names that are just as important to your business. You need to think about domain names as an offense and a defense. The largest, smartest companies in the world have been doing this for years. This is a highly kept secret! Let’s talk about it…


Success-2They don’t have to be million dollar domains but you need to be looking at domain names that matter to your business. Many of these Internet-savvy companies have been watching and buying important, traffic-producing domain names for years. You need your business name in .com. You need other generic, descriptive, easy-to-remember, traffic producing domains that describe your concepts, products, and services. You need your most important domain names in certain country-code TLDs that matter. You need to be monitoring the new generic TLDs. And you need to have someone monitoring domain names regularly.

Defense Principal #1

You need to protect your brand in country-code TLDs. Just because a domain name like or is meant for the UK or China doesn’t mean it can’t be seen in the United States. Cybersquatters and crooks are registering these domains right now by the millions and using them against legitimate advertisers who are spending money to make their businesses known. If you are in a business that deals with money and that advertises, it is almost certain that someone is taking advantage of the name you are making known by registering it in a generic TLD or a ccTLD. And they can use your good business name to cheat you and your customers. They can place ads on those domain names (there is an entire industry flying under the radar that is built on this idea; private fortunes have been made doing this right now). You advertise and make your business name known and they’ll buy domain names and place pay per click (PPC) ads on them. You and your dealers and your retailers then pay these cyber-squatters for those ads (through Google and others). I can go on and on about this but if you advertise at all and you are not buying your ccTLDs and monitoring new gTLDs this is going to happen to you.

Defense Principal #2

You need to be considering the typos related to your company name, trademarks, and brand names. Remember, there are three-billion + people online around the world and growing. With that amount of users there are millions of typos happening every day and a lot of them are yours. If you ignore the domain names of your typos in the most important top level domains you are giving money to cyber-squatters.

You’ll Pay Now or You’ll Pay (More) Later

If you know anyone who has achieved any level of success online then you’ve heard stories about someone trying to sell them an important domain name for hundreds or thousands of dollars. Or you may have heard horror stories about people spending tens of thousands in legal fees. The United States is one of the only countries in the world that offers statutory punishment for trademark infringement. There is literally nothing you can do in many countries to recoup the losses incurred when people register your brands in other ccTLDs. There are rights protection mechanisms and you need to know them and utilize them. But any honest domain industry legal expert will tell you that it costs a lot less to register and protect your brand names and trademarks around the world yourself. Get them at registration prices early on rather than waiting till someone else buys them from under you. There is a problem. Many countries who offer ccTLDs (280 around the world) won’t allow you to buy them unless you have an office or a physical presence within their country. This is why so many brands get abused. People from China, the UK, Russia, the Middle East, and Brazil register your well known brands there before you have an office. But there is a solution. Many companies like, offer “Trustee” services. They have offices in these countries and can help you secure your country-code domain names in those countries now… before they get abused.

Related to the new generic TLDs…

If you don’t know, we are in the midst of an expansion of domain name endings. Three-hundred-twelve new gTLDs have already been released and another three-hundred or so are scheduled to be released by the end of 2015. There are rights mechanisms in place. You can secure almost half of these new gTLDs and stop cybers-quatters from registering them for pennies on the dollar by taking advantage of the Trademark Clearinghouse and the Domain Protected Marks Lists that are available right now on a first come first served basis. You can’t ignore this if you care about your company names or brand names. This is really important stuff. You need to care about domain names. Talk to someone who understands this.

Learn More

If you’d like to have a conversation about it I’m happy to help you begin. Write to me. or call me at 951-313-7200. I’ll help you to get started.

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New gTLD Videos

Since new gTLDs (generic Top Level Domain) names have been released, registries and many others, have created videos trying to explain to the general public what new gTLDs are about and why they are important. I think it will be a good idea to collect as many of these in one place as I can just so I know where to find them when I want them. Hopefully this will be a good resource for you too.

This first list of videos is a collection put together by ICANN featuring new gTLD applicants (those that applied and will be running the new domain name registries). I’m starting with a good friend, Ray King. If this works right you will be able to see several that follow (about 10 or so on my last count).

This one is also put out by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Names & Numbers). I like the accent. It’s called “The Dot is Making New Friends”.

This global focused video was put out by Afilias. It’s a good generic explanation of TLDs in general. Very basic and nice explanation. It has about 5900 views as I write.

What Does ICANN Do? I couldn’t resist posting this one just because so many people wonder what ICANN does. It’s pretty cool. I love this lady’s accent. The video has about 7000 views.

People at ICANN made a lot of fun of this video but I think that was the point. It was put out by the applicants for .CEO. It has about 1700 views. Domain Incite called it the worst new TLD video ever. I kind of like it. :-).

This video called “Hitler Finds Out ICANN’s TAS Is Down” is an inside joke. You have to be deep into new gTLDs to get it. I’ll leave it at that. If you aren’t into new gTLDs and don’t know what Digital Archery or TAS means, don’t bother watching it. It does have 4000 views.

A company called Donuts is the largest applicant for new gTLDs in the world. They applied for over 300 of them. Their nicely done video has over 10,000 views on

Donuts came up with a way to help brands stop cybersquatters from registering new gTLDs by promising to block all of the domains that they will eventually carry. The product is called the Domains Protected Marks List (DPML). The product is also being offered by another large registry called Rightside.

This video was put out by the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). It is part of many “rights protection mechanisms” designed to help brands to protect their names in the new world of gTLDs. This one has about 8000 views.

This video is one that I’ve been looking for for a while. It makes fun of the new gTLD process and, sadly, is quite true. New gTLDs can become very confusing. Most of the crazy examples he gives in this video are really going to become possible. :-). I’m surprised that there are only 3000+ views.

On a more somber note, here is my creation for We did a series of videos explaining new gTLDs and explaining how to understand them using our website. Wow, I got 300+ views!

This fun video put out by Domain Diction and .global looks like an epic film trailer. It was put out a few weeks ago and only has 20 or so views but it’s kind of fun.

Domain Diction has a few more here:

This is a serious one and worth watching if you care about true global expansion. It was put together by the people at TLD Registry and is called “The Future of Chinese Domain Names”. It is translated into Chinese as it moves along so it is a little slow but, I think worth watching. TLD Registry is responsible for creating one of the first two Internationalized Domain Names in the Chinese language. They are important TLDs because the Chinese government will be using them for city and regional names going forward. They are fully Chinese top level domains (on the right and the left of the dot). I have met some of their executives and am intrigued. They have more videos worth checking out here:

Here is a website (not a video) put together by the new Domain Name Association at I think it’s worth including here because the site is done so nicely and is dedicated to new gTLDs.

This one is a cute one put out for brand names by Wise Dot. It’s one of those animated robot-type videos but interesting to watch. It focuses on the dot brand domains. Yes, many companies like IBM and Canon and Deloitte will have their own domains (.IBM, .Deloitte, and .Cannon). This video has about 1600 views.

Does anyone remember .nxt? This group was a forerunner in the space but seems to have fizzled out. They sponsored a few good conferences and events. They did this nice explanatory video over two years ago.

Here’s an interesting video that includes foreign language testimonials about Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in several foreign languages. I found it at, on of our resellers. I’m really happy that it includes a spoken credit to Tina Dam, who is a personal friend and who worked relentlessly while at ICANN to help make IDNs a reality. She deserves that credit given from Rod Beckstrom, the former CEO of ICANN. is a pretty aggressive registry that is targeting the Hispanic market with a lot of gusto. They have also put together some pretty nice videos to help people understand new gTLDs. Here’s one that we shared on our site.

Here is a video put together by Peoplebrowsr, the company behind .ceo, and .best. They’ve done a nice job in creating these. I’d vote these some of the nicer new gTLD videos…

This guy does a lot of videos, most not related to new gTLDs but I liked his contribution to the field…

This is a video that anyone interested in buying domain names for a profit should see. Mike Zappolin is one of the most successful domainers in the world. He’s made the process of buying domains and building businesses on them an art form. Watch, learn, and get excited…


Ok, that’s all for tonight. Please send me links to the videos I missed. I’ll collect them and update this when I have time. Thanks for watching.


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    “Their first big expense was $1.3 million, plus some of the  equity in the company, to buy the domain name.”
WSJ, 3/8/2014

I’m always encouraged when I read stories about business success that begins with the purchase of a .COM domain name.  COUPONS.COM went public raising $168 million dollars and valuing the company at $2.2 billion.  The story is a cut-out example of big businesses built on the benefits of natural Internet traffic produced from a generic domain name.  Big companies like BODYBUILDING.COM and WAYFAIR.COM were built in the same way, using memorable, generic domain names like STROLLERS.COM and LUGGAGE.COM to build their businesses. Type either domain name in and see where it leads you – they own hundreds of generic .com domain names and forward them to their central Wayfair branded pages. IPO - $2.2BOf course, all of these companies built their businesses with more than just a domain name.  They were smart, focused, and were good at running their businesses. ignored the craziness going on during the Internet boom of the early 2000s and spent that time just building a business.  It certainly has paid off today.

According to their website, operates a promotion platform that connects brands and retailers with consumers through Web, mobile and social channels. The company is transforming the multi-billion dollar promotions industry into the digital world.

Over 2,000 brands from more than 700 consumer packaged goods companies, or CPGs, and many of the leading grocery, drug and mass merchandise retailers, use their platform to reach consumers at the critical moments when they are deciding what to buy and where to shop.

They deliver digital coupons to consumers, including printable coupons, save-to-card coupon and coupon codes for e-commerce. They also sell advertising for their online and mobile properties. They have built out the largest network of retailers and publishers, spanning more than  58,000 store locations in North America and approximately 30,000 third-party websites.

Their main site,, receives more than 17 million unique visitors a month on average, and millions of consumers use their popular and Grocery iQ mobile apps. Coupons generated revenue from over 1.3 billion transactions in 2013.

Domain names do matter. Obviously, .COM domains are best because they are so well known and they tend to bring in the largest amount of inexpensive Internet traffic anywhere.  But there are exceptions and hundreds of very successful large businesses have been built on other-than-dot-com domain names.  In many countries, country-code domain names such as CO.UK and .CN are the places where the largest businesses reside.

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