Domainers talk a lot about how important it is to own your brand’s .COM, an they’re right, but the reason why it’s so important goes beyond traffic. Yes, if you tell someone that you work for “XYZ Corp” they’re probably going to go to XYZCorp.com first. If you own the .NET, .ORG or any other TLD you might lose the traffic. However, if it’s someone that is doing business with you, they’ll instantly see they are at the wrong site and do a Google search to find your actual domain name. Sure it’s an extra step for them but if you’ve sold them on your product, it’s unlikely they’re going to suddenly switch to a different brand.
Still, this can add-up over time and if you’re running radio or magazine ads, you are definitely missing-out on some traffic. However let’s go back to the typical situation a company finds themselves in. You fly out to meet with a company in person, have a meeting, maybe dinner too and leave with a handshake and a smile, done deal.
Now the person you met with sends you an email with their opening orders and all that confidential information you need in order to process their payment. This is where not owning your .COM can really hurt you. Suppose you own XYZCorp.net, your client may go to XYZCorp.com and find it’s not your site, do a Google search and fine your site, no problem. What you’re not thinking about is that the opening order that means so much to you (along with all that confidential information) went to firstname.lastname@example.org, rather than you.
This is a big problem. To really illustrate the problem, I’ll share an example. I acquired a one-word .COM about a year ago for about $1,200 on a Go Daddy drop. When I bought the name I created a catch-all account for email that came to the domain. Two days later I was receiving over ten emails a day from all kinds of people. I owned the .COM so any other brand that used that name (or even a similar name) had their clients sending emails to me.
Soon, Fortune 100 companies were emailing me, not realizing that I am not the company they are looking for, I just own the .COM. Now just to be clear here, I was not Trademark squatting. Before I buy any name I check the Trademark database to make sure the generic that I’m buying is really as generic as I think it is. It was clean and legal to own fair and square, yet I was receiving emails every single day destined for other companies.
The point here is simple, yet very important for companies big and small. Not owning your brand’s .COM means a lot more than missing-out on valuable traffic. It also means that you’re missing-out on incredibly valuable emails. While your clients realize instantly if their on the wrong website, they often never know if their email went to the wrong place. Own your .COM, own your brand, period.
Now I want to hear from you! Have you bought a domain that gets a ton of traffic and email that was meant to go to another brand? Have emails coming your way meant for someone else? Comment and let your voice be heard!