Many companies that do business online know that it’s important (maybe even critical) to buy typos of their company name. Just type in different variations of ElliotsBlog.com to see how I feel about that (EliotsBlog.com, ElliotBlog.com, ElliottsBlog.com and maybe even a couple I forgot about). Some people are bad spellers, have fat fingers, or have other issues that cause them to accidentally mistype a domain name. When the company owns its typos, it doesn’t have to worry about losing this traffic.
However, typos aren’t the only defensive domain names a company should consider when making strategic domain acquisitions. Companies should also take what their customers call their company into consideration as well. After all, consumers will be typing the domain name into their browsers if they don’t use a search engine. I purchased the shortened version of my father’s business name (not really a generic that people would type in randomly), and surprisingly it receives a bit of traffic every month.
There are plenty of other companies who employ this domain strategy as well. I found some of these examples of smart domain buys, even though some of these companies don’t do much business online:
Salvatore Ferragamo – Ferragamo.com
Mercedes Benz – Mercedes.com
McDonald’s – MickeyDs.com
JC Penny – JCP.com
Radio Shack – TheShack.com
Dairy Queen – DQ.com
One example of a company that may have missed out on purchasing a domain name is Bed, Bath, & Beyond, when BedAndBath.com sold on Sedo for $50,000 to a company other than BB&B. Several years back, there was a northeast retail chain called LeeJay Bed and Bath (now out of business), but most customers called it Bed and Bath. Additionally, many customers refer to Bed, Bath and Beyond as Bed and Bath, and if they do it aloud, they probably do it online as well.
Although $50k is a lot to spend on a domain name that isn’t the exact business name, I think this would have been a smart buy for BBB. You have to assume anyone typing in BedAndBath.com is looking for a bed and bath store (if not BBB), and Bed Bath and Beyond probably has everything a visitor would want. Considering that the name still gets over 5k visitors a month and the store likely spends a whole lot of money on Adwords, they could have saved money in the long run, rather than spending it on PPC links on BedAndBath.com forever.
The price of other domain names is something that should be considered when trying to protect a brand. If the business is referred to by a common phrase or term, and the matching domain name would cost more than the LTV of the potential lost customers, then the money would be spent more wisely elsewhere.
Another consideration in this is purchasing alternate extensions for brand protection, and I will discuss that in a post later on this week. Someone asked me for my thoughts on that topic last week, and I will discuss those later.