PracticePeople In PracticeDotcom domains are running out

Dotcom domains are running out

Businesses are struggling to find a domain name that has not already been taken.

According to research by domain name registrar NamesDirect.com, almost every word in the English language has been registered as a domain name, and companies have to get clever to establish their online presence.

There are currently 9,482,427 .com domains registered and 17,738,857 .org, .net and .gov domains worldwide. All three-letter and three-number combinations ran out in April and common nouns have become extremely rare.

‘The problem is, we’ve run out of actual words,’ said Richard Lau, of NamesDirect. ‘These days you need a name that is unique, trademarkable, brandable and, most important, available in .com.’

Only recently, pop star Sting lost his battle to evict the owner of sting.com, who has run the website for eight years.

Although Sting took the dispute to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, claiming that current owner Michael Urvan had tried to sell the domain to him for £16,500, the watchdog overturned the claim. It said the name is a common English word with multiple meanings and had not been registered in bad faith.

According to NamesDirect, what makes the name game even more complicated is buying up everything around a company’s name that even sounds remotely similar.

About.com has bought more than 4000 domain names in an effort to keep a grip on its web presence, boosting its site’s position from 25th to ninth most visited website.

Many other companies are resorting to the expensive trend of hiring a web-naming company to help them come up with an domain name.

Some of the big players include Lexicon, Idiom, Metaphor, NameLab, NameBase, Name/It, Namestormers and TrueNames.

Using bizarre techniques such as mood boards, focus groups and identity projects, these companies will find you a suitable internet name for about £50,000.

Lau offered a few tips to businesses mulling over their web presence: ‘Before you open a bank account or tend to a business plan, it is paramount that your domain name is available in .com.’

It would be worthwhile to grab a name that starts with A, B, or C and is five letters or shorter, he added. ‘This will help position your site higher up in the search engines and directories – and there’s something to be said for names that are easy to type and pronounce.’

It is also vital to bag any domains that might be used to throw mud at your site. Essentially, that makes it vital to register ihate.com and sucks.com versions of the domain. According to Lau, AOLsucks.org is one of the most visited anti-company sites on the web.

First published on uk.internet.com

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