BusinessWeek Asks “When Should Domain Names Match Company Names” & You Will Hate What George Tierney Has To Say

Businessweek.comjust publish an post  entitled: “When Should Domain Names Match Company Names?”

The post is actually an answer to a question posed by a reader:

When is it necessary or advisable for a startup to have a matching dot-com domain name?”

“What should take priority, the brand name or the domain name?

The author went out and got some answers from “branding professionals” and here are a few:

“For most companies, achieving domain name alignment is not as important as coining a powerful brand name, says Jay Jurisich, chief executive at Zinzin, a naming agency in San Francisco. “Of course, everybody always wants an exact-match domain name, preferably dot-com. Unfortunately, the matching domain names for all single words and most compound names have already been registered, and buying one that is parked may cost you five or six figures,” Jurisich says.”

“Mike Carr, managing director at NameStormers in Austin, Tex., agrees. “Brand name and trademark hurdles are always more important than dot-com ownership; dot-coms are like license plates, brand names aren’t,” he writes in an e-mail. “With a dot-com, often you can just change one letter or add a short trailer and find yourself with an available URL that you can register for $15 if your preferred dot-com spelling is already taken.”

So now for George Tierney, creative director at Quantum Method, a Los Angeles marketing and communications agency who  is quoted as saying:

“Slightly altering your brand name or adding an industry-specific modifier can create a good domain name.”

“Let’s say the company is Acme Toys.”

“You find that you can’t get acmetoys.com because someone has already purchased this domain name for the purposes of resale.  Rather than pay a cybersquatter for the premium domain, he says, find a close alternative, such as acme-toys.com, or acmetoysco.com. “These alternatives will work just fine in the early days of your business. Once you have positive growth and budgets allow, you can go back and acquire the premium domain,” Tierney says.

Mr. Tierney is another guy who apparently thinks anyone who has a domain name “acquired for purposes of resale is a cybersquatter” even if they own “premium domains”.

Here is Mr. Tierney’s Linkedin Profile.

You can read the rest of the article here.

 

Comments

  1. Elliot says

    “You find that you can’t get acmetoys.com because someone has already purchased this domain name for the purposes of resale. Rather than pay a cybersquatter for the premium domain, he says, find a close alternative, such as acme-toys.com, or acmetoysco.com. “These alternatives will work just fine in the early days of your business. Once you have positive growth and budgets allow, you can go back and acquire the premium domain,” Tierney says.”

    Smart advice.

  2. says

    So I’m in marketing and they are in marketing. Not sure what the offer but our company offers brand domain names as part of our services. So using their logic if they buy a computer for their client or perhaps some promotional products and mark that computer or products up before charging their customer than they are in their own words product squatting.

    It’s the ole if I do it (make a buck) it’s ok but if you do it it’s bad. Sadly the Internet that we know and appreciate affords the misguided a pulpit from which to spew hateful barbs born of in knowledge as they may be.

  3. Dean says

    I have to agree with RS on this one: if you don’t own the .Com, you will regret it down the road, any other extension is a compromise. Why build a brand around a name you don’t own, is it not like putting the cart before the horse?

  4. L says

    What is the value of a client?

    If its very low, then you can choose whatever domain you want. If its very high, the prospect of losing four or five may cost you an amount equivalent to what you would pay for the domain.

    Whenever you hear someone characterize domain investors as “cybersquatters” and lamenting the fact that they sell domains for five or six figures, you can immediately assume that you aren’t talking to someone who has much knowledge on the topic. That’s one of the weirder things to emerge from our era of relentless media- the standards for what we accept as an ‘expert’ are woefully low. Any asshole willing to give an interview, start a LLC or fire up a blog is anointed by the media looking to fill copy space as someone whose opinion is worth listening to…

    This isn’t to say that domainers are cognoscenti when it comes to brand issues, just because they own domain names. Ignoring the fact that the majority of the ‘players’ this industry seem to have a professional background in nothing (and are only capable of judging others based on what they can google about them), so much of the domainer model relies on ‘generic’, which leverages a strategy very different from branding dynamics. Still, domainers have developed a credible intelligence type when it comes to how a domain relates to a human user that a lot of the marketing/branding eggheads (ie- o.co) haven’t figured out.

    For example, LeWeb moved from LeWeb.net, tried to hijack the .com via UDRP, lost, then settled on a .co. Does that seem like a ‘victory’ for .co, or does it seem like someone who makes bad domain name decisions making yet another bad domain name decision? Even if that person may be very credible and intelligent with other tech related matters, it’s entirely possible that the intelligence type needed to understand how domains relate to consumers isn’t in their wheelhouse.

  5. says

    Elliot

    Read it slowly. If you invest in a name and make a profit on that name you are not a cyber squatter and not doing anything that the writers quoted in the article are not doing in their own business. Hence no need for them to call you or us cyber squatters .

  6. says

    “Once you have positive growth and budgets allow, you can go back and acquire the premium domain,” Tierney says.

    Works for me!!

    “Unfortunately, the matching domain names for all single words and most compound names have already been registered, and buying one that is parked may cost you five or six figures,” Jurisich says.”

    Works for me too!!

    They may be misguided but they got these 2 points right and the more they delay the only think that will and already has changed is that it may cost them 6 and 7 figures not 5 and 6.

    Just remember not only do we know but it has been proven on many levels and each of these folks will eventually learn the lesson and figure it out. We are not that far away. If they remain ignorant they will be washed away. If they wise up…..

  7. Leo says

    You’d think they’d only been in business six months making these utterly false statements and bad advice.

    Note to self: Never hire a brand consultant ; They will ruin your company.

    God! Is it even possible they just made these statements?

  8. Flapping Eagle says

    Scott Alliy,

    Your posts make very little sense and are poorly written.

    Stick to just reading the posts of others who know how to structure a sentence properly.

    Flap!

  9. Owen says

    Why give your clients budget to a cybersquatters aka competitor
    These agencies are customer squatters who squat their clients budgets away on poop because they don’t know squat about branding for digital success. I blogged about this today – the story of Spark.com

    Hey SA I went to Kelly’s yesterday. That was a great lead!

  10. says

    <>

    As I get more and more involved with domaining on a full time basis, I have become acutely aware the anti-capitalists within the industry. On the one hand, we have a few whiners, disgruntled failures and those with a sour-grapes attitude because the competition is not only eating their lunch, but have been eating gourmet meals for more than a decade while they eat peanut butter and jelly on the sidelines. Capitalism is all about vision, creativity, timing, hard work and perseverance. Look at the some of the comments posted above, Mike Mann, Elliot Silver and Rick Schwartz were some of the original visionaries in the business. Do you think that they never had sleepless nights in the beginning where they wondered what the heck they were doing? I doubt it seriously. What about all the capital outlay required in the beginning just to acquire the names. I do not believe that there was a person on the planet in the early 90′s who saw just how ubiquitous the internet would become.

    To fail to understand the mindset of a domainer is to fail to understand the heart of an entrepreneur, an adventurer, a pioneer and a visionary. So called cyber squatting is nothing more than a Forty-niner seeing a gold nugget in the bottom of the river and picking it up before the next guy gets to it. These rash decisions we are seeing from UDRP and WIPOut panels make me sick to my stomach! To falsely label domainers as cyber-squatters just because they beat you to the punch makes them twice the loser, once because they can’t compete, and twice because they blame others for their failures. That being said, any domainer who knowingly registers a domain in bad faith for the purposes of holding its trademark holder is even probably more despicable.

    I am starting an internet land business, Land.com is taken. Should I roll the dice and hope that a UDRP or WIPO panel can be hoodwinked into giving me the domain just because I want it for my business? I don’t think so. No, I am late to the game, so I need to be creative and work harder to overcome the natural advantage the owner of land.com has in receiving organic traffic. That doesn’t mean I can’t be successful, only that I need to work harder and smarter. And isn’t that at the heart of the entrepreneur? To rely on their own merits, and fairly and honestly beat out the competition and ultimately be successful…

  11. Elliot Silver says

    “Look at the some of the comments posted above, Mike Mann, Elliot Silver and Rick Schwartz were some of the original visionaries in the business. Do you think that they never had sleepless nights in the beginning where they wondered what the heck they were doing? ”

    Couple of things… first, that comment wasn’t from me. Second, I definitely was not an original visionary in this business. I didn’t start buying domain names until around 2003.

  12. John.Jones says

    @Elliot, if you started in 2003 and have good domains i tip my hat to you

    on the other hand, someone like Rick Schwartz who claims he was the only person in
    six billion people to understand generic domain names in 1996 and the future
    of the internet, registered and bought porn domain names and really only a few or maybe handful of
    top mainstream domains, couldn’t’ say the same about, not too mention all of the people hes done over over the years

  13. LindaM says

    ‘”Once you have positive growth and budgets allow, you can go back and acquire the premium domain,” Tierney says.’
    After some of those shocking udrp decisions Im not entirely convinced he means buy it…

  14. bc says

    the analogies to land are to be expected. internet real estate. right. they do serve a purpose. but they are only useful up to a point.

    no one is held accountable for undeveloped real estate. every piece of property does not have to have something built on it for it to be valuable and saleable.

    “cybersquatter” is an term coined in the 90′s. no one made money from generic names back then like they do today. cybersquatting referred to people who were holding trademarks and company names for ransom. that practice needed a derogatory name. it is clearly a violation of someone’s rights.

    if you are knowingly infringing a trademark, you are a classic 1990′s cybersquatter. there are still plenty of “cybersquatters”. the problem has not abated.

    on the other hand, if you are not infringing a trademark, but you own lots of domain names, then you can ignore the whining. of course, most domainers with huge portfolios have more than a few clearly infringing names. so no one is squeaky clean. assuming you do not have any such blatantly infringing names, then you are not a cybersquatter, in the original meaning of that term.

    however… the analogy of real estate to domains only goes so far.

    land is a finite resource. and it is unique. you cannot just “create” more land. this is an extremely important point.

    the same is not true of domain names. domain names viewed as a “finite resource” is what some call “artificial scarcity”.

    believe it or not, domain names can be created, by anyone. they are not unique. there can be duplicates. (users can use different sources of names.) only the ip addresses need to be different.
    this is scary to some domainers perhaps. and you can argue things will never change from the status quo. but it is true nonetheless.

    the “artificial scarcity” of domain names many of us assume to be a “law of the internet”, and which causes end-users to complain about “cybersquatters” when they cannot register the name they want or have to overpay for a name, relies on a number of assumptions being accepted by everyone. it relies on people following arbitrary “rules”. icann’s rules. rules that in fact anyone can “break” were it deemed beneficial to do so. a lot of stuff in computing and the architecture of the internet is just people following conventions without questioning them. there often are no “rules”. there are patterns of behaviour.

    if you are serious about domaining you should understand this. you should understand what dns is and how it works. if icann slips up, if they get too greedy, if people begin to see that the icann “rules” really only benefit icann, not businesses or internet users, if their whole scheme backfires, maybe things could change. is this likely? who knows? is it possible? yes. it is possible.

    domain names are not real estate. domain names are more akin to driveways, street numbers, or having a listing in a popular directory such as a phonebook. such things can make a “parcel of land” — an ip address on a network — easier to find and access. but if you do not have an icann sponsored domain name it does not make your “parcel of land” disappear. it is still there. and people can be told how to find it. users can adapt.

    it’s like building businesses around google search results. if you assume things are set in stone without understanding the reasons why they are the way they are to begin with, you are flirting with disaster. you might discover the reasons are quite arbitrary or do not even exist.

    who’s that guy who said no one would ever need more than a few hundred kb of memory?

    be smart.

  15. Overpriced says

    “Once you have positive growth and budgets allow, you can go back and acquire the premium domain,” Tierney says”

    Bad advice. That’s exactly what Best-Horror-Movies.com did. They had to pay $50-100k to get their name without hyphens last year. Could have acquired the domain in 2005-06 for far less.

    Get the best domain name first. If you build value in the name, the domain owner will ask a bundle.

  16. says

    George Tierney is a good freind to all holders of high value generic domain names. He is advising his clients to build a brand around a domain they don’t own because the domains are too expensive. AFTER they build the brand and its successful he then wants them to go and acquire the name – lol awesome!

    As a domain investor I like his strategy, it will maximize the return on investment for the domain investor. As a client this is a losing strategy.

    The only potential negative side of this for domain investors is that as company develop thier brand around names they dont own – because of amazingly stupid advice – they are more likely to try to “steal” the domain later via legal means when they realize the values. This is the only by-product of his bad counsel that can potentially hurt the domain industry.

    Its surprising that at this stage in web development/marketing/branding that their is still dinosaur thinking like this when it comes to domain names.

  17. Overpriced says

    @john john

    Nobody else purchased the adult names but Rick. We didn’t see another group starting Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and others starting their successful corporations.

    Rick’s claim is valid. His revenue from owning such domains are unmatched. Marc is another investor who took advantage of domains.

    There can be one in billions that take advantage of a rare opportunity. Their domains and riches demonstrate innovation and intelligence.

  18. Overpriced says

    Owner of bar.com, corp.com, place.com, and pub.com, cafes.com and other top generic sites does nothing with his highly valuable sites. I suppose bragging about turning down million dollar offers prove that good domains will never reach their highest potential.

    A brand creator will probably elude a good domain to accept a second rate domain. It is poor business decision making to build a business and then buy the domain later.

    Otherwise, the top domainers will overcharge a brand creator based on their hard work. Acquire the domain prior to launching.

  19. says

    A Domain name is an asset a capital something that is recognized by the Court of Appeal of Ontario as a personal property,
    So now Let’s talk to everybody in the place.

    FROM NOW ON, Every People investing one cent on the Stock Markets is a potential SHARE HOLDER SQUATTER, If People who said to have invented the “American Dream” do not understand with domain names make value and marketing is turned on the website noting also that every companies have a website and some companies are exclusively offering online trade or service : THIS IS AN ASSET WHATEVER PEOPLE SAY

    LET’S CLOSE THE CHINESE STOCK EXCHANGE, THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE, THE LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE

  20. says

    If people own generic domain names and ask high prices for them, great, congratulations, hope you make a bundle.

    But the “acmetoys.com” example cited in the article – that’s not owning a _generic_ domain name, that’s trying to profit from a _very specific_ business name that you think someone may use someday. I know other domainers feel differently, but to me (and certainly to the public at large), that is a form of cybersquatting.

  21. bob says

    Is a person that has a job or position you want a job squatter?
    Is an investor that buys land, and later hopes to resell it a land squatter?
    I thought a squatter is someone who was living on someones property for free, and usually strung out on Heroin and trashes the place.

    Why is a person that buys land that resells it later for a profit called a genius.
    And a person that buys stocks before it skyrockets considered a genius.
    But a person that invests in a domain before it becomes very valuable and someone else wants it is a cyber squatter?

    The guy that registers “thefirstbankofutah.com” and is waiting for that bank to call or email him and buy it for 1 million, I agree it a cybersquatter, but lay off the generic dot com domain investors, please.

  22. says

    This indicates that the best money is not to be made in selling or buying a brand name. Acmetoys should change its name to something imaginative, put up an informative humorous website appealing to kids and adults, and promote the brand through whatever media will generate traffic. I just regged bleepytoys.com
    Go for it.

  23. domain guy says

    what a fuc*&in idiot! and domain guy steps on the issue to enlghtened
    everbody. What happens when you have a billion dollar untradmarked
    real estate venture and you don’t own the domain? its in a talented domainers hands because nine 6 figure idiots missed the boat?
    I’ll tell you what happens you get beat over the head every day with negative stories concerning your project. and when you call your jew ip attorneys in they can’t do shit. bacause you don’t own the trademark, the domain owner has first amendmdment rights, and there is no commercial use of the site..your fucked.
    and what happens to your constituncy? they get beat over their heads and have to listen to your message not the regulated message the owner wants to project.and then the talented domainer takes it to the next level and benchmarks your billion dollar deal to the national market and its not pretty.now go tell your stakeholders/shareholders why you fucked up and deserve to remain in office.and how does the domainer know all this? he studied trademark law because of the bullshit these ip layers pull.

  24. says

    Bleepytoys.com could go places with a name like that. idk what the last post was referring to or how it got thru moderation. He says, “what a fuc*&in idiot! ” and if that refers to moi who am I to object?
    Reg a domain first and then put your brand (new) on it. Problem solved.

  25. says

    HELLO

    I HAD REALLY APPRECIATED THE FUNNY ARTICLE OF BUSINESSWEEK.COM, USA THE CREATORS OF THE AMERICAN DREAM CONSIDERS THAT BUYING A DOMAIN NAME EVEN A GENERIC DOMAIN NAME IS CYBERSQUATTING… GREAT

    WHAT IS A PROPERTY : SOMETHING YOU BUY !

    FOR THE ONES WHO HAD A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE IN COMMON LAW AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESSES, WHAT IF CANADA DID NOT RECOGNIZED IN 2005 THE DOMAIN NAME AS A PROPERTY, AND IN 2011 THE COURT OF APPEL OF ONTARIO RECOGNIZED THE DOMAIN NAME AS A PERSONNAL PROPERTY READ DOWN MR TARRY G…

    http://jiplp.oxfordjournals.org/content/1/1/59.abstract
    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/5967/196/
    http://www.mondaq.com/canada/x/168562/Trademark/What39s+In+A+Domain+Name+The+Ontario+Court+Of+Appeal
    http://www.carters.ca/pub/bulletin/charity/2011/chylb261.htm
    http://www.rossmcbride.com/articles/The-Ontario-Court-of-Appeal-rules-that-a-domain-name-is-personal-property/

  26. says

    I agree with you GAINES MILLIGAN :

    As the domain name is a personal property and we like every economic liberal democracies consider the ownership of what they buy as their properties…

    Concretly that means someone who want a business is supposed to have the domain name before registering the trademark…useless to say how idiot it would be not to think differently…

  27. says

    DOMAIN GUY A MESSAGE FOR YOU

    INSTEAD OF CREATING STUPID NEW GTLDS (THE ANA CONSIDERS THE COSTS FOR BRANDOWNERS TO 250 BILLION USD), THE CIRA (the same that decided domain name wasn’t a property and decided in 2011 it was a fuc… personnal property) to answer the same way you speak… Look down can you say country tld code is applying to each extension domain name… no? Just beffore starting the newgtlds CIRA (Canada) said that the half of newgtlds will fail, why because not brandable, not bankable : what you wanted to buy a car.car for yourself ???In fact it is like counterfeit the Internet Government is considering that putting in place specific extensions could contain COUNTERFEIT…what happens when a government is increasing the price of cigarettes… ANSWER… AN ILLEGAL PARRALLEL MARKET IS CREATED, what happened to you ? you want to create a dot med to contain I don’t know online Viagra…dO NOT WORRY 100000 websites will be created with this in dot com and improve counterfeit but not only this field…, the problem to consider would be more in BANKING MOVEMENTS and ETHICS I think…

    http://www.rossmcbride.com/articles/The-Ontario-Court-of-Appeal-rules-that-a-domain-name-is-personal-property/
    http://www.thedomains.com/2012/05/11/cira-ceo-says-half-of-all-new-gtlds-will-fail/

    Do you really think Internet has unlimited space ? Do you think a thing or a system has no limit, no border lines? Ok, I disagree look at the Planet Earth Can Anyone say today everybody has medication, food and water and the planet earth can contain I dunno 250 billion people, or say the fossil energy is unlimited ?? DO NOT THINK SO !

    WHATEVER GOOD NIGHT SLEEP WELL

  28. says

    Yes. And if someone has a business name, and someone else has the same or similar business name, the rights to that name can be litigated. Udrp’s are an attempt to apply that process to the internet, since the internet is considered “different” in various ways for example crossing international boundaries. “Acme Toys” was a bad example, since it is almost generic.
    Now I want to sell toys and I have regged bleepytoys.com and bleepytoy.com much to my surprise that no one has thought of it. The acme toy company can now buy these domains if I want to sell them, or better yet hire me to develop the domains to sell acme toys. They could have thought of it first, but didn’t, so that’s why they need a creative agency or individual to help them. I just hope I haven’t stepped on the toes of a company already in existence called bleepy toy company. I neglected to research that, but even then, I should be compensated for thinking of it? Maybe as the name could be considered like an unfenced swimming pool, and “attractive nuisance” perhaps where if I fall in, someone should at least help me dry my clothes?

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