A domain name is not just a website address; it creates your online identity. The first step in getting a website is registering a domain name or deciding the name for your website. This should have been the easiest step in getting your own website but even the so called simple task of choosing a domain name for your website becomes a headache when you find out that almost all possible names, phrases, popular idioms you can think of are already registered in someone else’s name.
This is the first hurdle which any person or organisation has to face while deciding a name for their site. If you have a product or a service with a predetermined name but do not have a website or domain name associated with it then you may have to shell out thousands or even millions to buy it from that domain owner.
That’s why it’s important to register a domain name for your company, organisation or business as early as possible as owning the right domain name is the critical part of branding and business strategy.
Some companies like Nissan have learned it the hard way. They have spent millions promoting their brand of Nissan cars around the world and their consumers may assume that the domain name nissan.com would land them on their official page. But, a man named Mr. Uzi Nissan, who owns a computer company registered the domain name in 1980 for his computer business.
The Nissan motors then was known as DATSUN but years later it changed its name to Nissan motors and now it desperately wanted the domain name www.nissan.com. Nissan motors filed a lawsuit against Nissan computers for copyright infringement, Trademark dilution and Cyber Squatting and laid claim to the domain name. However, the domain name was named after it owner Uzi Nissan and had a legal established business. Nissan Motors lost the case and now uses the domain name www.nissanusa.com for its US website.
Similarly Apple has paid around $5 million to software company Xcerion for the iCloud.com domain name, ahead of the launch of it cloud services. Later on, it purchased icloud.net shutting down the social network website hosted on that domain name.
Unlike the real world, where there are millions of Toms, Ricks and Harrys, in the virtual world you have to get a unique web address. A websites address is like your fingerprint and DNA which is unique to an individual so it has to be different than the rest. So, how do you come up with a unique, catchy, short and easy to remember web address?
Web addresses like apple.com is registered by an organization which doesn’t sell apples and common keywords like technology, education, science, management, sports are already someone else’s property. So, unless you are willing to spend thousands or even millions of dollars to buy it from them, this option is out of the window.
Even common phrases like digital world, education hub, think big, are probably registered. Even if there is no website associated with a domain name it may have been registered by a domain registrar or they are property of individuals who are called “CyberSquatters” or “Domain Name Hoarders”. They keep on registering domain names with popular keywords and phrases in anticipation that someone would buy it from them at a much higher price.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE REGISTERING YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Make sure you are not registering a domain name which includes unique phrases, unique taglines and names of REGISTERED products and SERVICES of other “registered” organisations or companies. (Registered is the keyword here). Registering a domain name like MyCocaCola, iDrinkCocaCola, myMacBook, myMercedesBenz would amount to copyright violation.
In 2009 Coca-Cola filed a claim against the Albanian owner of ‘coca-cola.al’ requesting the cancellation of such domain name and its transfer to Coca-Cola on the grounds that the unauthorized use of such domain name infringed its IP rights. Under the Law on Intellectual Property, registered mark owners, as well as holders of well-known unregistered trademarks, enjoy protection against unauthorized use of their trademarks as domain names.
MyApplePie.com is Ok but you should avoid domain names like myApplePhone. The domain registrar would not refuse to register these names but you may face trouble in the future if later on some company decides to snatch these from you for copyright infringement. Like, what Apple did to Michael Bijan https://techcrunch.com/2010/01/07/apple-domain-names/
Think of a totally new, creative, unheard of phrase or name. Some examples of popular websites with such names are
GIZMODO, TECHRADAR, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, Mozilla etc.
SHORT AND EASY TO REMEMBER
There are billions of websites on the internet but most of the popular ones have a short and easy to remember domain name. Most popular websites like Google, Facebook or Twitter use names which are less than 10 letters in length. If you want to use phrases then it should not contain more than two words.
AVAIALBILTY OF SOCIAL MEDIA USERNAMES
Social media marketing is an important tool to get exposure for your brand or website and create brand awareness. So, check the availability of the social media usernames for your chosen business or domain name. Social media Websites like namechk.com lets you check the availability of your desired username on all the popular social media sites in one place.
AVOIDING NUMBERS AND HYPHENS
Using numbers in your domain name may confuse your visitors. They may not know whether they have to use a number or it’s spelled out and they often misplace or forget a hyphen.
USING THE RIGHT DOMAIN NAME EXTENSION
The most popular domain name extensions are .com .net and .org which are called gTLDs (Generic Top Level Domains). It makes sense to register a .com domain if it’s available as this is the older and the most commonly used domain name extension. Whenever people think of a website name they assume that it ends with a .com.
However, in 2018 you have more options to pick your domain name extensions. You have domain name extensions like .tech .business .info .biz .life .design .family.
CHECK DOMAIN NAME AVAIALBILITY
You can use ICANN whois look up to check the availability for domain ownership or you can search for a domain name on Google Domains.