June 17, 2016

The Value of the URL

I’ve been going round and round with my domain name registrar, trying to find a new name. I’ve done the temporary, I’m ready for something more permanent. Do I go with a cutesy mispelling? A different gTLD besides the dotCom? The experts disagree. To help narrow down my search I thought it might be a good idea to jot down exactly what I hope to achieve with a new name.

I need something that screams “I know what I’m doing.”

The biggest thing I’m looking for is something that ads credibility. I think one of the things holding me back is the fact that I’m using my name to host my apps. I found users tend to have a bit of mistrust when it comes to personally own websites. Not that I can fault them, I would trust “MiscarriageInstitute.com” over “SarahsMiscarriageApps.com” any day. (Less reasonably, some people discount my apps because I’m female, even in 2016, so not revealing my gender may be advantageous).

This was the logic behind Aaron Patzer’s purchase of “mint.com.” Without a trustable name, he predicted no one would trust his start-up with their financial information. I know I wouldn’t.

There’s also something to be said about operating from a high value domain name. Either you’ve been around for a while, or you were able to raise enough capital to purchase the expensive domain name. Both indicate a level of success.

I want a company name, not an app name

My big take away from This 2013 Forbes article is that generic names are not necessarily valuable any more. Those names, especially when misspelled or “cutesy” spellings are often associated with spam sites.

I also don’t really want to be buying a new domain name for each of my apps. That would eat up my entire current profit margin. I’m more than a little worried that because I’m writing apps, as opposed to a static blog, my margins will stay razor thin even if I ever become popular. Apps require more bandwidth and more CPU time than static pages. More users consume more resources than need to be paid for. I’d like to keep costs down for the foreseeable future.

I want something I can build a brand around

I found a name that I loved, where the .com, .net. org, and .io were all taken but so far unused. The only one that was left the dot-cc gTLD. I strongly considered purchasing it, until I read I can expect as much as 25% of my traffic to go to the dot com instead. (This came from antidote evidence, so I didn’t site the source.) I didn’t want to spend all this time building a brand to make someone else’s domain name more valuable.

If I went with a non dot-com I’d likely want to purchase the dot-com eventually, unless the alternative gTLD was part of the brand identity. Of course the more successful my new business, the more the owner of the dot-com will want for the domain.

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