Half of small businesses unhappy with domain name

Half of small businesses unhappy with domain name

Summary: Many entrepreneurs and startups are missing out on search and social media traffic because they failed to protect their Web address alternatives.


Has your small business been stuck with some lame Web domain name because someone has already staked a claim?

It definitely isn't alone, according to a new national survey by Wakefield Research conducted on behalf of the organization behind the ".co" moniker.

Close to half of the 500 businesses responding to the survey said they had tried at least one other name before "settling" on the one they currently use for their Web identity. Slightly more than that (55 percent) indicated that they believe they have lost business as a result, while 52 percent would change their current name if they could.

The research anticipates a flood of new extensions that will become available over the next year, aside from the ones you might already know: .org, .com, .biz and so forth.

In the future, your company will need to sort through a whole slew of additional choices, such as those particular to a specific location (such as .nyc) or those that describe some value proposition of your business (such as .green).

"Small business owners who understand the distinctions among the different domain extensions, and can make the most informed choices, will be best positioned to survive and thrive online," said Lori Anne Wardi, co-founder and vice president at .CO.

Is it time to rethink your Web identity?

Topics: SMBs, Web development

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  • Asleep at the wheel

    One of the best (and earliest) examples of companies not able to manage their brand is Nissan (Motors Co.). If you guess their main site is at nissan.com, you would be wrong. So, it's not just small businesses. Does that mean that companies have to register under every possible new domain? A lawyer's wet dream coming true!
    Carlos Varas
    • I registered my last name many years ago

      only to have a company of the same name ask to puchase the rights to it. I declined, and believed that was the end of it.

      About three years later they attempted to take me to court under the pretense that I was "cyberqsuatting", though the judge ruled in my favor given that I did not offer, or seek, a counter offer.
      John Zern
  • Do your research first

    It turns out that the most obvious domain for my wife's new small business was already taken (pure coincidence), but a small alteration (adding a "the") fixed the problem without negatively impacting our ability to be found.
    John L. Ries
    • Many companies do that when they need to.

      In a response above, I posted an anecdote of an issue like that. The business ended up adding a suffix to their business name for their web and email domain presence.
      John Zern
  • Most of these new extensions are basically a money grab for registrars.

    Most of the registrations are defensive.

    I run a mail server for myself. And I've never seen an email from a .info that wasn't SPAM. Ditto .biz. And .co is for the country Columbia which is a serious source of SPAM. (I wonder if the drug cartels are behind this. Columbia seems to generate way more SPAM per capita than any other country in SA.) So I have my doubts about the advice from a company marketing business registrations in the .co domain.
  • domain name squatting, etc.

    Congress provided for free credit reports. Before they got around to registering that obvious "freecreditreport.com" domain, one of the companies whose service is not free grabbed it, and got away with it, so now you have a hard time finding the real free credit report site--I can't remember it at the moment but if you wade through all the paid ads and sites that charge you can eventually find it.

    I think ICANN should not permit such squatting, and that the rightful logical owners, e.g. Nissan and that one, should take action against the squatters. I've been confused.

    We're going to have more problems with all the new top-level domains. My favorite example already was getting my computer at the office and going to what I thought was the White House with Bill and Hillary Clinton, but typing .com and ending up on a porn site. My secretaries never let me live that one down. Now you'll have to buy up Widgets.com, widgets.com, widgets.widgets, and everything else to protect your domain name and your brand.