Why a Generic Domain Name is Important

In the process of emailing a group of friends today about figuring out plans for Friday night, I included my friend’s girlfriend. Unfortunately, I forgot to include her middle initial in the email address and ended up sending it to a nice person with the same name. An excerpt from our email this morning:

“On 11/29/07, Elliot Silver wrote:
I think we should get together for dinner on Friday before Adam’s
birthday party. Maybe Sushi Samba or somewhere in the area of the
20s-30s on the east? Are you guys up for it?”

On Nov 29, 2007, at 10:55 AM, xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx wrote:
Sorry, you’ve got the wrong person.

On 11/29/07, Elliot Silver wrote:
Two xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx? Sorry about bothering you.

On Nov 29, 2007, at 11:03 AM, xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx wrote:
Don’t worry about it. 🙂 I think there’s one girl in NY, possibly in a dental program, with international friends, and I keep getting her emails. Enjoy your party and dinner.

On 11/29/07, Elliot Silver wrote:
Shoot… there must be a third xxxxxxxxx. The girl I was emailing dropped out of high school and doesn’t have many local friends, let alone international friends. I was emailing her out of pity.

If you are free, you are more than welcome to join us – especially if you are cute and single. The guy who is celebrating his birthday is a single Jewish doctor. Hot commodity.

On Nov 29, 2007, at 11:12 AM, xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx wrote:
Ha! Thanks for the invite, but I’m in Boston. Single Jewish doctor, huh? Hot commodity indeed. I may be cute, but I’m married to my own Jewish hot commodity (though not quite a doctor). 😉

On 11/29/07, Elliot Silver wrote:
I love Boston. Die hard Sox and Pats fan. My brother lives in Boston.

My friend isn’t really into married ladies (even cute Jewish ones), so I guess that’s out of the question. Your hot Jewish husband commodity must be a lucky man.

On 11/29/07, Elliot Silver wrote:
Wow… I just found out you aren’t my friend’s girlfriend just messing with me. I am in fact looking for the dental student, and I am sorry for bothering you.

Hope you have a nice day, and hope you see another victory parade in a few weeks!

On Nov 29, 2007, at 11:33 AM, xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx wrote:
No problems. When you do find her, tell her I keep getting her emails. I can pass on that international one if she wants.

Have a good day.”

Although email addresses are very different than domain names, I believe this perfectly illustrates why one needs to have a generic domain name. Had this been a case of mistaken website instead of email, and I was looking for a type of product, I may have ordered it from a different website out of confusion. If that website provided the same or similar product with a good customer experience, they may have turned my one time mistake into a new customer.

As I’ve said many times, a generic domain name is worth much more than a brandable domain name for much more important reasons than PPC advertising. People instinctively use the generic domain name, and if that website offers what they want, they will usually have no problem using the new provider.

My apologies to the other person I inadvertently emailed!

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I bet you had quite the ‘aw s**t’ moment when you realized it wasn’t just your friend playing around. Good thing the person was a sport about it. I had a similar moment in business school that didn’t have such a chummy closure.

    I have a similar experience with my primary email address. Being that I own the .com of my name, I hear from other Andy Sweets around the world wondering who ‘owns’ their name. They usually end up buy different extensions and setting up email addresses on that domain. Every now and then I get emails intended for those individuals and pass them on. Funny, they never get any intended for me. The power of .com?

  2. Ok, a bit of a reach here turning this email exchange into a post about generic domain names, but I see your point. Still, generic domain names can get mixed up as well. It’s not hard to forget whether a website is buychocolate.com or buychocolates.com.

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