Brand Consistency is very important and one often overlooked important asset is your brands domain name!

Domain names are becoming even more important (and expensive) now as the internet continues to grow. The fact is, people simply assume you own the matching .com (in the vast majority of cases) to your brand. This not only matters for your web visitors and brand consistency but also for important email communication and securing your brand.

Consider this “what if” scenario.

Opendoor

What if your brand name was OpenDoor. You put your blood sweat and tears into your company and brand. You do realize that your not the only “OpenDoor” name in the world and at the time you thought of your domain name, the “best and make sense” domain name OpenDoor.com “was already owned by somebody else”. You settle for second best and choose .io or do an add-on term to your brand name like OpenDoorLLC.com etc.

Fast forward a year or so and one of the “other” OpenDoor brands is rapidly growing, Secures $210 million in funding and is getting a lot of media attention. They acquire the best domain to match there brand from that person who already owned it, OpenDoor.com. Suddenly, you lost your chance at acquiring the best domain name AND now you are forced to rebrand because your suddenly “lost in the mix” of the other popular OpenDoor, over shadowed and creating confusion to what you offer and the other service offers. Ouch! If you thought that upgrade/best domain was “expensive” before, now you totally have to rebrand! That’s not only expensive, time consuming and distracting… it can kill your business!

The above example is real! OpenDoor.com acquired the domain name in May 2014 and is now a popular home selling service. OpenDoor Development Group, also branded simply as OpenDoor is a co-living space provider and operates on the second rate (not professional or trusting) domain name OpenDoor.io, launched in 2013. Not only is the .io company lost in the mix when somebody searches OpenDoor on a search engine, I can promise you that OpenDoor.com is getting a lot of email intended for the co-living company, who’s simply not even getting it! It’s second nature to type .com, not .io or .whatever! It happens.

Securing your brand name as a .com domain name is vitally important! If it seems “expensive” to purchase it from its current owner, consider having to do a rebrand, the email communication you are missing, web traffic, trust and general lost business because you do not own it! If OpenDoor.io had acquired the .com in 2013, they wouldn’t be in the mess they are in now!

Email

Do people and businesses really send emails to a domain name because they assume your company owns it? You bet! Important ones and really, you as the business owner should be ashamed and embarrassed for creating the confusion for your clients and potential clients.

If you call yourself X and your logo is X, your domain name should be X .com! No Question!!!! No add-on words, no .whatever! If you simply can not be X, don’t brand yourself as X! If you need to be XY, then brand yourself that way or you are creating unwanted confusion.

I have used this example before, but I will once again use it. GutCheck, the agile marketing research company based in Colorado. They have some $20+ million in funding, and use the second rate, add-on type domain name GutCheckIt.com. Yet the company is branding itself something they are not on the web, GutCheck. The logo is GutCheck, they refer to the company simply as GutCheck, yet they create the confusion by using a different, unnatural domain GutCheckIt.com. Such a mistake!!

Although the company feels they have become “well established as a business entity under the GutCheckit.com domain”, they are missing the boat. They are lacking brand consistency for one and they are missing LOADS of important email communication.

For an example, on January 10, 2017 a fortune 50 company attempts to contact Brian from GutCheckIt as he got his name from somebody within the company (aka a referral) and needs the services of “GutCheck” for naming two new home services offering. The email goes to brian@gutcheck.com and they don’t see it. A follow-up email comes January 11, 2017 with a bit of urgency and asking to set up a quick call. Again, goes amiss due to the confusion the GutCheck brand has created by branding as “GutCheck” but using a different domain name than it brands itself as.

The same rings true for GutCheckFitness.com, who have email flowing into GutCheck.com. The same for GutCheckApp.com, the same for Gut-Check.com, the same for GutCheckPress.com, the same for GutCheck-usa.com, GutCheckYourself.com, GutCheckRide.com and the hundreds of other “GutCheck” related brands / services.

How about a smaller company, Affinity Escrow Services for an example: See, they relate to themselves as simply Affinity Escrow, yet they do not own AffinityEscrow.com. I DO!

Affinity Escrow

People simply assume they own AffinityEscrow.com yet the company uses AffinityEscrowServices.com! Mistake! Missed emails, created confusion!

Want proof that people assume they own the domain? Sure:

Affinity Email

 

Need more proof? Sure

Affinity Escrow

 

I could show you thousands of emails like this that missed target and they are because these brands are not being consistent in there branding efforts and are creating confusion but using a different domain name than what they are branding as. Be consistent with your branding and this includes your domain name!

About Jamie Zoch

Jamie Zoch is a domain investor, dad and dedicated husband who founded DotWeekly.com in 2008 to bring unique and helpful views on domain names. Jamie is very passionate about domain names and helping others learn and prosper.

12 Responses to Brand Consistency Includes Your Domain Name
  1. Very well explained in detail especially to those who are currently not having exact match domain of their brand.
    There are many cases like the above 2 real examples you used. The one I can recall right now is TheKitchn.com which has worldwide Alexa Traffic Rank of 638 and since they are using Alexa code which tracks their traffic, so according to Alexa, the daily unique traffic of TheKitchn.com is over 800,000 PER DAY and almost 20,000,000 PER MONTH and yet they are not serious enough to acquire the best possible domain for them which is Kitchn.com.

    That above stats is enough to understand how much traffic is leaking every day!

    • @AbdulBasit.com,
      Thank you! Thankfully, daily as seen in my Domain Movers series, many companies ARE seeing the importance of owning the matching .com domain name to there brand. It’s a slow process for many companies to finally come to the realization that domain names are very important and they are not just important to web traffic. The problem for them, the longer they wait, the great the risk and potentially the higher the purchase price. Thousands and thousands of new companies, products, services etc are launched every day and they all need a name!

  2. Excellent post, Jamie! That is one good way to sell domains too – set up a catch-all on the email and see what kind of emails come through that domain name. That’s how you got those emails, right? Nice.

    From company name, to domain name, as well as social if at all possible, is the ideal branding trifecta for longevity, credibility and to be taken serious, IMO.

    • @Timothy M. Evans
      Yes, you can set up a catch all email on your domains. Not the easiest thing in the world to do and manage if you have a lot of domain names… That’s one of the reasons we have created MailboxPark.com to help with that. Plus you can earn some revenue to boot!

  3. Great read! I completely agree with brand consistency.

    It’s funny that you mentioned the email aspect of it. What brought a chuckle to my day is that I couldn’t help but think about a few of my clients that get similar emails. There’s a trend happening where new start-ups are using the same brand name as pre-existing/established online companies in vertical markets. They chose a vertical so that they can avoid any trademark issues by not offering the exact same products/services and establish themselves in a different county/state/country so they have localized protection.

    Their goal is to have a rapid start, assuming the brand name itself will assist in flooding their doors with traffic from the original brand they mimicked. After 6 months, they start to realize that search engines prefer the primary brand more over theirs. What many of them probably don’t know, since they don’t get notified about it all the time (Unless a customer tells them), is that their customers are contacting the brand with the .com (As you outlined in your article). Even though they are vertical markets (E.g. primary = coffee & mimic = stir sticks), the original brand tends to convert some of the mimics email contacts and possibly refer them to someone else for what they really wanted from the mimic as a lesson.

  4. Excellent case example. I get the same emails and phone calls for a couple of names I own and what gets me is that don’t want pay even a small price for the name. All the work their business development team is doing gets thwarted with these type of mix ups. For what they spent on just one full time employee for a month (maybe two employees depending on the name) they could own the domain outright. It may just be the prize client they have been waiting for that gets turned away or decides to go in a different direction. Aside from losing business, they could be receiving more from the other variations of the domain being upstream.

    • Such type of business owners who don’t show interest in buying the exact match of their brand might be because they think it’s just a regular traffic leak which they are missing considering they don’t have any issue of funds. It’s their lack of ability to judge the quality of traffic which they are missing and misguiding their existing and potential clients.

  5. Excellent post Jamie.
    The company you mentioned raised 20 million Dollars and didn’t bother to buy the domain, in my case I own an EMD and the company going by the same name has an annual revenue of more than 4 Billion Dollars and a capital of more than 20 Billion yet theyve never approached me for the domain. Interestingly Im getting more than 50 emails everyday intended for them, such mismanagement is beyond belief.

  6. Hi Jamie,
    I can relate to this email issue.

    For example someone email me for a possible large order purchase of smart phones but the problem is I’m not selling smart phones at QUE.com some QUE business does.

    Some business owners still stingy to make a decision to purchase their actual name but ok to lose possible business opportunities, advertising dollars,worst lost it to their competitions.

    Stories like this should be shares, re-tweet and reblog.

    Well done.
    EM@QUE.com

  7. But, but, but… domains should only cost $10!

  8. Very interesting, never thought deeply about brand consistency.
    Now i got another case to pitch to potential domain buyers coming my way.
    Thanks

  9. freedom.com was recently settled for $2M. In my own opinion after 17 years of domaining I feel it was a very good buy and worth every penny plus.


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