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Industry: Crane Manufacturing
Existing web site: ac-h.com
What does their domain say about them? This company is a major manufacturer of industrial cranes.
Considering the significant development cost it takes to produce a web site of this scale, why wouldn't they have a more descriptive domain name? Why wouldn't they own a thousand domains that were closely related to their industry? Wouldn't it be better if every time someone went to an industrial crane domain that the user would find this manufacturer rather than their competition?
Industrial cranes are high ticket purchases. When people are looking for a crane it isn’t good enough to just classify all of those potential clients as looking for “crane” information.
As a manufacture of cranes they have millions of dollars invested in capital equipment, and they have considerable expenditure on marketing their products.
Their biggest issue lies in finding qualified leads and maintaining repeat brand exposure. When a consumer needs a crane they want their brand to come to mind and be found easily.
If you were an industrial crane manufacturer, why wouldn't you own all of these domains?
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This same logic and method of marketing can be applied to any industry.
[edited by: Webwork at 2:39 am (utc) on Aug. 10, 2006]
[edit reason] Allowing some flexibility to accomodate the effort to teach [/edit] [/edit][/1]
Its important to remember that a domain name is not in itself a brand, its a reflection of a brand - think of a domain name as the equivalent of an advertising campaign. You don't very often see company X running multiple advertising campaigns, do you? Especially not campaigns that overlap. No, they concentrate on one, to reinforce the product properly.
So a single company having a single domain makes sense. Its not a universal rule; I could understand your example having some of your list, and I do know of companies that run different sites for different divisions in their companies (the equivalent of BargeCranes.com and BoomCranes.com) but in general a B&M company isn't going to have the resources to put up multiple sites that stand alone.
Construction Crane = ConstructionCrane.com
The generate type in traffic, have a natural brand, and produce results individually. Although every one of the domains should be developed it does not mean compromising the primary brand.
In this case "American Crane & Hoist" should have this as thier primary brand. BridgeCranes.com can be a niche marketing secondary brand web site that promotes American Crane & Hoist Bridge Cranes. The web site for bridge crane doesn't have to be big. It just has to have original content and be interlinked with the primary site. Consider it a new meaning to Niche "web" marketing.
The probable answers to your question lie on:
1. How much the parties in question know what they're doing.
2. What their short term or long term plans are.
I'd like to think #2's potentially more important. But they'll likely base #2 on #1.
So if there was a store called May and Baker, known everywhere as M&B, then they'd be wise to buy mb.com, mandb.com, may-and-baker.com, mayandbaker.com and a bunch of others, too.
But which one to use? Choose one ...
1. the one closest to their 'legal name'
2. the one closest to their nickname
3. the one easiest to remember / type in
4. the shortest one - showing they have the cash and kudos
5. a new, internet specific-name, esp if after a young audience
It's a marketing decision, but the key is to end up with one major site, to maximise page rank and ranking, minimise marketing spend and user confusion - and avoid duplicate content and spam risks.