After working for over twenty years in the Internet industry and specifically the domain name industry for over seven years I’m amazed that registering domain names right is still a major obstacle for many existing brands (small or large) as well as emerging companies.
To give you some examples and some guidelines:
- When a friend of mine started a new restaurant in Taiwan he only registered the .COM.TW domain name (assuming that’s the one for companies) but not the one ending with just .TW ! Many Internet domain names have second level extensions (such as .COM.SG, COM.TW and CO.UK). But first level registrations (yes, even UK since a while) are possibly. Make sure you get BOTH.
- Starting a business in Japan, its equally foolish to register a .JP domain name only (which is open to everyone) but not considering to register the highly respected .CO.JP extension. Each company (in Japan) can only register one of them and it is highly respected among Japanese consumers.
- Another part which is often overlooked is checking what names are actually available. Considering your company name will have Something.com and then going for SomethingTW.com or Something-Restaurant.com as Something.com is taken is not a solution. There’s millions of beautiful domain names still available or can be bought from third parties. So checking on this before you even register your trademark is very crucial. You may find the .COM domain name is owned by a company that is offering the total opposite from your business and you will confuse your future customers. Or worse; and I’ve seen this multiple times, a restaurant business with exactly the same name in another country.
- Being overly generic is also often seen as issue but if you do it right (I registered CHEESE.CLUB in 2020) you can actually have a truly valuable name. Make sure to consider the “new” generic top level extensions, especially if they are short (such as .APP, .SHOP, .CLUB). But by all means, it should fit your business model. However, don’t spend too much money on buying generic domain names.
- Don’t make domains to hard to type either. This is not a problem for your QR codes or links (as communication is mostly electronic these days). But if someone wants to email you and you have tons of hyphens and weird spellings in your domain name (such as adding an “R” letter in the end) your client emails may never arrive or end up at the wrong domain.
- Don’t ignore the complexity of the extensions. There’s different rules for a .FR compared to a .EU or .IO domain name. There are over 1000 of these and many have very special requirements or restrictions.
- Don’t overlook extensions that are related to your business. If you are in the entertainment industry you should register your .LIVE domain. If you are doing e-commerce or online business then .ONLINE, .LINK, .SITE, .SHOP, .SHOPPING are most likely for you. You do not have to register all of them but you can benefit from blocking mechanisms of registries (such as TMCH, DPML, UniEPS,…)
- Short and innovative domain names are often overlooked, such as .IO and .AI. Both of these are actually for islands, British Indian Ocean Territory a Anguilla in the Caribbeans. If your business or product is about interactions and connections make sure to consider these as well.
Hope above provides you some guidelines. Message me on LinkedIn if you need advise or check Gandi’s Corporate domain offering at https://www.gandi.net/en/corporate to get in touch with our experts. Our team is around the globe and we can speak many languages.
We can really help you to make the right choice when it comes to registering (and managing) your domain names.
Disclaimer: I’m working at the domain name registrar Gandi.net. Opinions are my own.