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URL that matches product name

I'm wondering how important people think it is to have a url (domain) that matches your product's name.  I am working on a product (skunk works at this point) and we have a great name, but the domain for that great name (greatname.com) isn't available.  The guy who has it isn't really using it, but doesn't want to sell it to us right now (although his reg ends in a year).

For the early days of GreatName, users will only find it through links at download.com or other sites, so the url really shouldn't matter (it can be at www.ourcompany.com/GreatName).

Eventually though, if things go well, word will spread of our product, and people will seek it out.  Many people, like me, are as likely to use google to find a company or product as they are to just guess the url.  For those that assume that our domain is www.greatname.com though, they'll get the wrong site.

At the same time, by the time we get to the point where people are looking us up, we might have the cash to pay this guy some reasonable amount for the domain name.

An apropos example, Joel has fogbugz.com, but not citydesk.com.  Does that hurt Joel, or do people find City Desk anyway?

Should we just find a different name that has an available domain (and believe me, there aren't many left)?

David
Friday, April 18, 2003

Although some people may see a product and try to access the companies website by typing in the URL www.product/company.com, I believe that the next "natural" thing people do is to look it up in a search engine.  Therefore I believe that if you concentrate on getting your page in the search engines at a reasonable rank your customers or potiential customers should have no problem finding your site.

Dave B.
Friday, April 18, 2003

Is it important to have the URL which matches your product name?  Look at it this way: Someone who's heard of your product types in YourGreatProductName.com and up pops a porn site, or a site full of bad reviews of your product, or some other such thing.  (You've surely heard of gwbush.com, for instance?)  Assuming they're too smart to think it's actually your site, it still creates unpleasant associations, to say the least.

What you have to decide is how likely you think this scenario is, how much it bothers you, and what it's worth to you not to have it happen (e.g. bidding for the name, or changing the name, or neither).

Kyralessa
Friday, April 18, 2003

It is important only because your customers have to remember one less thing to access your website or your products website.

Think ORACLE.

Prakash S
Saturday, April 19, 2003

I think it really depends on your company's name & reputation. I'm willing to go to microsoft.com/windows instead of windows.com.

On the other hand, Microsoft is a juggernaut and a household name. You're trying to break a new product.

If you're making offers on the website here are some things to consider:

1. If it's a netsol registrar, you can go to snapnames.com & try to back order it if it expires.

2. If you do attempt to buy it, only offer as much money as you think it could make you in, say, the next year. I don't think it's worth it to specualte 5 years down the line.

3. That guy may be bluffing & holding out for more money. That was the dream of the late 90's remember, and some people haven't let go of it.

4. If your product name is generic, you may be beat out by dozens of other sites in Google.

5. Make sure people link to you. I often look for products & companies in Google and find comments & criticisms of the company that are popular to link to well before I get to the company. I often have to give up and search somewhere else.

www.marktaw.com
Saturday, April 19, 2003

Another possibility would be to use your leading benefit as the domain name.

We use both www.EstiMateSoftware.com (product name) and www.PricingMadeEasy.com (benefit).

We've been using www.PricingMadeEasy.com for only about 4 months now and at this point it receives 5 times the hits of www.EstiMateSoftware.com.  Yes, we did switch to it in our marketing, but that's still a powerful difference.

Good luck!

Mark Smith
Saturday, April 19, 2003

"Think ORACLE. "
What do you mean by this? I have the hardest time navigating oracle's site.

Tom Vu
Saturday, April 19, 2003

When I mentioned Oracle, I did not mean anything about the navigation of their website.

I meant that their product (Oracle) and the name of the company(Oracle) are the same. Before it was Oracle, it was Oracle Systems, before which it was RTI or something like that.

Prakash S
Saturday, April 19, 2003

Fortunately, there's little chance of porn showing up, since it's owned by a regular guy, not a speculator.  He really had plans for the domain at one point, but never finished.

I agree with Prakash's point about Oracle.  It's great if you can build brand recognition around a single, unique name.  That was our plan, but the domain is taken.

It's interesting how the Internet has affected company and product names.  It used to make no difference if your name was unique as long as no other "similar" company or product used it.  Now, of course, if you want to put a website up, your name must be globally unique.  That's a hell of a constraint!

In light of that, won't more and more companies have this same problem in the future?  What can and should be done about this?  I know that each country is supposed to have their own domain, but practically, everyone uses .com.  It seems like a very real problem.  Maybe browsers will eventually get smart about URLs, making them all work sort of like the Google Toolbar.

David
Saturday, April 19, 2003

I'd certainly prefer having a domain that is shared with the product name. Even more so if you're a one product company. It has nothing to do with whether or not people can find it. It's about creating an impression for your prospects and customers.

pb
Saturday, April 19, 2003

Talk abt Globals:-)

Prakash S
Sunday, April 20, 2003

What should be done about the URL shortage? Instead if approving TLDs at a snail's pace, there should be as many TLDs as someone wants to make. If there were fifty TLDs in common use, there'd be no shortage of names and no one would expect all names to end in .com.

Joshua
Monday, April 21, 2003

I personally don't need a domain name for each product, as long as it's easy to find in a search engine.

As an administrator, I've found the less domain names pointing to the same site, the better. If customers find your site using "productname.com", you can bet (unless you try to be active in your software and redirect them, which can raise some challenges) that that's what they'll bookmark and you'll be supporting that domainname forever, or coming up with tricks to try and deprecate it with out abadoning customers.

Just make sure that www.company.name/productname goes to the right place. That's a natural way to address things, and can help people find things quickly. I can not stand it when a link like that gives me a 404, particularly when it's a smaller company that only has a small number of major products.

Rob Meyer
Monday, April 21, 2003

I'm not aware of a URL shortage. I'd prefer to see no more TLDs. Instead of adding .md or .name, the owner of md.com and name.com should provide the equivalent.

pb
Monday, April 21, 2003

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