The Dot Compromise: Consider Dot NetBy: Heather Reimer
Have you felt the frustration yet? Are you one of the 50,000 new netrepreneurs trying weekly to get your site online only to get caught up in the dot com feeding frenzy?
It starts like this: You dream up a list of possible names for your company. You run them through a domain search engine only to find all your dot com selections are already taken.
So you face a choice. Do you settle for a domain name that doesn’t really turn your crank but is available with the prized .com extension? Or do you say ‘damn the torpedoes’ and go with a .net, .org or .ws suffix and hope your clientele will remember it and appreciate what a rebel you are?
For starters, regardless of the suffix, the best way for traffic to find you is if your domain name reflects the nature of your business and is catchy enough to recall without a lot of mental gymnastics. (There are notable big-budget exceptions to this rule).
You want a domain name that is spelled just as it is pronounced so even if your potential clients hear it mentioned in conversation, they can type it in later without confusion.
If you do wind up using .net, .org or one of the 250 country-specific extensions, you need to hammer it home in your promotions. Repeat it often. Accentuate the difference.
Jenean Matthews of www.vitaherbs.net does all that plus supplements her online marketing with free gifts like pens printed with her URL. Does she ever worry that she missed the .com bandwagon?
Not a bit. She predicts that, with the advent of new technologies, typed-in URLs will eventually become a thing of the past anyway.
“I feel the way we surf the net will change. For example, the CueCat device eliminates the need for typing URLs,” says Matthews. (Cuecat.com offers free software that sends your browser automatically to the site you need.)
Shelley Lowery also bucked the trend. Three years ago, she had to choose between sacrificing her favorite name, which was already taken, or making the dot compromise.
Lowery took the bull by the horns and registered her business as www.web-source.net. Today, it’s a highly-respected guide to professional web design and development with a dedicated following. Lowery says going .net didn’t hurt a bit.
“A few years ago it seemed everyone was convinced that if you didn't get a .com domain you were a second class citizen. Things have changed considerably with the addition of the new domain name suffixes and the extended number of characters.
“In my opinion, you have just as much of a chance of your visitors finding you with a .net or .ws suffix as you would if you settled for an alphabet soup domain name like www.learnhowtomarketontheinternet.com”
On the other hand, the website DotCom.com says we shouldn’t be afraid of using a longer name. Shorter isn’t necessarily better in the scramble for a domain name.
“Just as company names continually break boundaries in the effort to be both unique and memorable, so too must domain names extend beyond the currently prevailing convention of simple words with as few characters as possible.”
But that may end up being a moot point. In the very near future, new technologies and new suffixes will arrive to blow apart the dot com obsession. (recently approved: .info, .pro and .biz, among others)
Internet users will adapt to the ever-changing online environment, as they always have. And we’ll all be laughing that we were ever so distraught over the dot com dilemma.
In the meantime, be a rebel. Stay open to the options and try to enjoy what should be one of the most fun parts of starting a new business… choosing a domain name!
© Copyright 2000, Heather Reimer
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