Ten Essential Rules for Internet Brand Names

1. Make sure that the .com domain name is available. Only select names that will correspond to a .com domain name. Consumers will head straight to the .com. Have you ever entered .net or .biz in a URL? I haven’t. And if I can’t find the web site on my first try, I jump to Google®. If the .com domain is not available, select a different name and don’t fall victim to the “hyphenated” domain name. Have you ever used – or thought of using - a hyphen in a domain name?

2. Keep it short and simple. With all of today’s advertising noise and clutter, keeping the name short and simple is critical. Difficult-to-remember domain names are likely to result in misspellings, which may result in the loss of revenues to “typo-squatters.” Typo-squatters will “steal” your misspelled domain name and divert Internet traffic from your web site while generating revenue in the process. Don’t let that happen to you. Some of the best short and easy-to-remember Internet brand names are Yahoo, Amazon, Yelp and Woot.

3. Select a name that is alliterative. Brand names that are alliterative are easy to remember. Dunkin Donuts, Kristy Kreme, Blackberry and Roto Rooter are all good examples.

4. Select a name that is speakable. A name that is speakable is also easy to remember. Speakable names tend to receive more word-of-mouth advertising. Speakable names include Sears, Colgate, Pepsi and AeroMotive. Unspeakable names include Tokico, PLP and Chipolte. Names that are difficult to pronounce are difficult to remember, which spells disaster.

5. Spellability. Be sure that your Internet brand name is easy to spell. Hard to spell domain names tend to lose Internet traffic for their owners. They also tend to be victims of Internet pirates a/k/a “typo-squatters.”

6. Suggestive names. Names that are suggestive of the product category will tend to attract customers and may even help build customer loyalty. A suggestive name helps customers identify the attributes of a product and what a brand represents. Suggestive names include Die Hard, Close Up and Block Buster.

7. Reserve other domain name extensions. Registering the .com domain name is critical. But don’t forget to make defensive registrations for other extensions, including .net, .biz and .mobi. Registering other domain name extensions is an inexpensive way to defend against third parties from registering your brand names with other extensions and then profiting from them.

8. Reserve domain names for commonly misspelled terms. If your name can be spelled in several different ways, be sure to register, at a minimum, the .com domain name for that common misspelling. Reserving common misspellings of your brand name is another inexpensive way to prevent Internet pirates from diverting Internet traffic from your site.

9. Don’t forget to renew your domain name. Failing to renew a domain name can result in its loss. Not good for an Internet company! If you can afford it, apply for the longest possible term, and then calendar the renewal date.

10. Don’t fall victim to domain name renewal scams. Don’t rely upon third party services to renew your domain name unless you have an existing relationship with that company. Unsolicited renewal invitations should be ignored. Some of those unsolicited renewal invitations are scams. Some of those companies will simply take your money and not pay the renewal resulting in the loss of your domain name. Internet companies that lose their domain names lose what may be their most valuable assets.