NEW YORK, NY – .CLUB Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Sass gave a keynote speech at NamesCon Europe 2018 and did what appeared to be a fantastic job of illustrating, through various different examples, just how bad it is when coming up with your own word (one which has no meaning) when choosing your domain name. Sass accomplished this by showing domain names made up of unknown words on screen and had attendees guess, by multiple choice, what they believed the businesses did that operated on these obscure names.
The results by the audience really weren’t that good, and Sass then illustrated why putting a keyword driven extension on the end (to the right of the dot), for instance, .social, would then add a lot of recognizable substance to the address for a social media service. You could then at least figure out, even with a weird and unusual word in the URL, that it probably had something to do with social media. Another good example was .dental, which lends immediate recognition that the name should have something to do with dental industry.
Check out the video to play-along with the word match game Jeff used in his examples.
I couldn’t help but think to myself how interesting the timing for this video was since just days ago, I covered a Domain Sherpa interview with Rand Fishkin, widely known in the SEO and online marketing community from his years at Moz. In that interview video, Fishkin strongly supported the exact opposite; coming up with something all your own, which I feel is not a good idea and bad advice unless you have near-limitless marketing funds.
In my article I detailed why I thought this was the equivalent of Startup Death. Jeff Sass also, much like Rand Fishkin, is a master-marketer and is likely responsible for a great deal of the success .club has experienced over the years. I find it near amazing and somewhat of a rare occurrence to see these two master-markers in complete disagreement.
Both also have new books out:
- Sass: Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER
- Fishkin: Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World
I want to note that I have a lot of respect for the accomplishments and success .club has experienced over the years which is likely due greatly to Jeff’s marketing decisions (not to under attribute owner Colin Campbell’s pioneering business savvy). With that said I believe .club is likely one of the most, if not the most successful extensions in actually “branding itself” in the gTLD industry and to consumers as a good alternative domain which is evident by his saying they now have a whopping 277,000 live .club site owners using the domain extension for their main business sites.
However there was one fundamental thing that Jeff said during the keynote which I did not agree with:
It doesn’t matter what the extension is; you want the words to the left of the dot to be spelled correctly, so that people can find them and remember them.”
I cannot disagree more with this bold statement and I don’t think anyone would agree with it, either inside or outside of the domain name industry.
Towards the very end he reiterated this by saying:
At the end of the day, if you have a business and you find a domain name that resonates for you, regardless of what the extension is, if you find the domain name that’s the perfect domain name for your business and you’re happy with it, that’s all that you care about, you don’t care if that extension also has six million registrations and forty-two million dollars of premium sales; all you care about is the end user; that you got a name that represents your business well, that helps you drive customers to it and you’re happy and there are millions of happy end users out there today using .club names and other new extensions”.
I just can’t agree with this because being “happy” is not necessarily going to lead to being “successful”. That comes long after a startup has made it. If a business owner wants to be happy, he or she needs first to find success and making business decisions based solely on what alternative web address is liked more or what end users might think sounds good, is not the best choice and should actually be the last choice.
A business owner, especially a new business owner, needs to make these important business decisions specifically on what is best for his or her specific businesses “leverage” in its marketplace, its foundation, or what makes his or her business, itself, “better”, “better positioned” or “better marketed” then their competitors.
Jeff also took some time to talk about Names.Club and Startup.club, both new endeavors to help entrepreneurs find keyword rich .club domain names and how domain brokers can earn commissions by partnering and signing up on the platforms.