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Is domain branding a luxury and "keyword as brand" the future?

Hotels.com or Travelocity.com: Who is smarter in 2006 and beyond?

1:34 pm on May 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"Hotels.com" works for me. How much more effort and expense will Expedia.com have to invest promoting "Expediaaaaaaa", to keep pace with Hotels.com? Besides, how do you spell/type Exspeedya again?

As the move into the age of web search and PPC for advertising will the number of companies wishing they paid $3,000,000.00 for Loans.com or CreditCards.com rise or fall?

For the "unique word as brand crowd" I say Amazon.com branding was a beneficiary of the billions of VC dollars floating in 1998-1999. Its brand was also a major beneficiary of brand awareness by stock market hype and similarly, a beneficiary of branding by first mover in the cyberspace. Such incidental branding benefits are scarce these days.

Is the era of keyword URL as brand upon us? Going forward who wins: Hotels.com or Travelocity.com?

I'm breaking the rules, by mentioning a specfic domain (below) for the sake of facilitating discussion of business policy level issues, ones that an average webmaster might actually encounter.

To the webmaster: If your client is Bob the plumber from Boston, who runs Bob's Pluming and Heating Corporation, who has the webmarketing advantage: The website known as BostonPlumber.com OR the website with the address BobsPlumbingandHeating.com?

What do you tell your client Bob to do? Do you tell Bob to spend the money on buying an aftermarket domain?

Is domain branding a luxury?

[edited by: Webwork at 5:04 pm (utc) on May 20, 2006]

1:40 pm on May 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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why travelocity of course. far cheaper to pay the ad freight on the well traveled yard gnome than all them hotels folks in black, not to mention their suv's and road shots.

Besides, that stupid lil' gnome is kinda cute. :)

2:54 pm on May 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Ya. Amazon will win if started in 2006. Thatz the power of brand.

Google.com Vs Search.com

If you have a good product or service, then URL doesnt matter and branding works perfectly.

Keyword domains like hotels.com have a decent amount of direct type-in traffic and SERPS placement. Anyone can start a website like #*$!xxxhotels.com and confuse your users.

Just go for branding and forward your keyword.com domain to your branded domain.

I prefer BRANDING.

4:04 pm on May 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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branding = advertising = awareness

branding requires time and money

generic domains can be branded and therefore are doubly powerful

If you ask me to find a hotel my first thought is hotels.com - i may go to expedia or travelocity later but my knee jerk reaction is hotels.com - however I think that is because i have seen the TV ads and made a connection.

i think someone could do the same with hawaiihotels.com or floridahotels.com -
the hotel product is ultimately tied to a geo - the first question on hotels is where (geo) do you need a hotel? if you need a hotel in florida then you may want to try floridahotels.com or drill down further to miamihotels.com. if you bought billboards in florida and advertised floridahotels.com this summer by next winter you would have mindshare and could have significant traffic and revenue assuming your model is sound.

domains like cds.com or books.com are geo insensitive but are category sensitive - 80scds.com or bluescds.com or computerbooks.com would be more descriptive and essentially allow the domain owner to have a better idea what the user is interested in and subject matter targeting is what domains are really all about.

names like yahoo or skype or whatever don't mean anything to people prior to branding however they are broad services and probably want to remain open and unconstrained - hotels.com has a fence around their service from day one - your strength is always your weakness

12:39 am on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Great post aj

Your observation that

generic domains can be branded and therefore are doubly powerful

is right on the money and let face it a good domain is more than brandable, it inherently carries with it advantageous branding.

It is not an either/ or situation as so often argued here.
A good domain will, as the Internet becomes more crowded, say even more about your sites brand in respect to authority and dominance.

1:37 am on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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also consider these traits:

can you recall the domain?

can you tell others about the domain and they can recall later?

can you promote the domain offline and have people remember the domain? i.e. radio/billboard/print/other

does the name have ppc or organic advantages? does it mimic the search phrase so the name might be boldfaced in SERPS or PPC ads (goog) - this gets more clicks due to direct relevance

this where a hotels.com is better than something coll like zimfobu.com


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