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Domain Branding: Fake Word vs Real Words

Google vs WebmasterWorld

4:50 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have a brand new site with only 1 inbound link, 0 traffic and in the Sandbox, so I do not care if I remake the site.

Currently the site is called "Technology and Widget" and is at the domain: TechnologyandWidget.com. The problem I am facing is that the domain is just too long. At one site I tried entering my email in a text field and couldn't because emodo@technologyandWidget.com was too many characters. Furthermore the urls for the site are all very long because the domain is 19 characters.

I have searched long and hard for alternative domain, but since "Technology" and "Widget" are both incredibly popular keywords I have had no luck. Everything is already registered.

The Choice

Last night, inspired by Ubuntu I took out an swahili dictionary and looked up "Widget" and found a great Swahili word for it: Wondui (fake example). Now I am having trouble deciding:

TechnologyandWidget.com (19 Characters)
Wondui.com (6 Characters)

The Question

What would you do? Stick with a 19 character descriptive domain or go for a 6 character fake word?

5:01 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My preference at this point in time would be the 6 character new word.
6:14 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I would go with the short Swahili, IF it is easily spelled (spells like it sounds) and you are willing/able to go to the extra effort to create a brand.

Made-up brand names are currently all the rage. The descriptive sounds awfully dry. It sounds like a magazine that you get for free by filling out one of those bingo cards.

There are tradeoffs. The descriptive may be easier to remember initially, but also easier to forget. A made-up word may be more difficult to initially remember, but then I think it will stick more easily. If the terms are too generic, people will forget the exact words, substitute something else, and go to your competitor's site. :(

I think using a word in an exotic language has an advantage even over a made-up word. If you can entice viewers to read a page on "what does the site name mean", it's likely to stick, and they will proudly tell everyone they know that "Wondui is widget in Swahili" and inadvertently advertise your site for you. :)

6:25 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Actually, by chance the made up word is actually made up of two english words, like Pintwo or Carnob so this might help people remember and spell it.
10:20 pm on Feb 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Branding made up names takes more work, and, in most cases, an advertising budget that goes beyond ppc spends.
9:54 am on Feb 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I would go for the 6-letter word.

When I started a new business two years ago, I could use a domain name consisting of two words (with and without hyphen), but this could lead to some confusion, because these were common words, so I decided to go for a new and very short domain name.
To find my "perfect" domain name, I had set a few criteria:

a) the domain name must be short (5 letters) but no abbreviation
b) the domain name must be a non-existing word in any language (to avoid trademark disputes worldwide)
c) the domain name must be easy to spell and pronounce - not only for English speaking people (a linguistic expert advized me to use two syllables)

I started with composing a list of hundreds of 5-letter "words". To find whether a word already existed in any language, I entered that word in Google and finally I found one word that matched all my criteria (less than a dozen of search results (all misspellings!) were returned).

I'm sure it is still possible nowadays to find a short (5 or 6 letters) domain name by using this technique.

1:01 pm on Feb 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Choosing between the two only, I would go for the shorter one. But if I could consider some other variants I would think about altering the long name in such a way so that to abbreviate it somehow.
2:43 pm on Feb 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I also vote for the shorter one. Just make sure it's something that sounds good and sticks.

Like jtara said, having a long, descriptive domain name can make it harder to remember. (Was it widgetandtechnology.com or technologyandwidget.com or technologywidget.com or...?)


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