Although there are several things I consider when selecting a domain name to target for acquisition, I believe the most important thing is the generic nature of the name. I believe that owning a generic, industry descriptive domain name is the most important thing someone can do to build their online business. It is even more important to own a generic domain name in a smaller niche industry, especially if an industry leader does not exist.
In my opinion, if you are entering a market without a dominant industry leader, the greatest thing you can do for yourself and your business is to purchase a generic name that describes the industry in the shortest way possible. To illustrate my point, let’s take an industry that is well established with many industry leaders. For example, let’s say you want to check out the score of the Red Sox game. Chances are good that you wouldn’t go to BaseballScores.com, but instead, you would either hit up ESPN.com or RedSox.com knowing that you will find the score of the game, box score, and maybe even a summary. Sites like these are dominant industry leaders, so although a generic domain name is good, it would still be difficult for your company to thrive with huge competition already fully developed and well known by web users.
However, let’s say you are interested in buying a flag for Independence Day. If you were to directly navigate to a website, chances are good that you might go to AmericanFlags.com, as there isn’t a well-known industry leader in the flag business (to my knowledge). AmericanFlags.com surely receives a good amount of type in traffic from patriotic Americans (and probably from anti-American people as well). This traffic is inherent with the domain name, and the company doesn’t need to expend advertising dollars to attract these highly motivated visitors who want to buy American flags. There is nothing better than when a customer knows exactly what he wants, and he finds himself on a website that can provide the product for him.
The other distinct advantage of building a business around a great generic domain name is that it is easier for a business with a generic domain name to get higher search engine placement than a company with an unrelated “brandable name.” To continue using the example from above, AmericanFlags.com has top placement in Google for “American Flags.” This is a HUGE advantage for an online company like this because consumers who choose to use a search engine instead of direct navigation will see the company right at the top of the unpaid search results, and many will trust this company, without knowing anything else about it. There is a good deal of comfort in a consumer’s mind knowing that they are clicking through to a company that is built around the term they are searching.
Could the people from AmericanFlags.com be successful without this domain name? The answer is probably yes because they have a great leader and team, however, it would have been more difficult and much more expensive.