Does the name of your domain, business, or product really matter?

19 replies
Many marketers claim that names you choose for your domain, products, and even your web site don't really matter - that you can name them anything as long as the name is "brandable" or different than other names already associated with your niche.

There is evidence, of course, that any name can become a successful one over time . . . but here's the thing:

Why not start from the very strongest and most advantageous position that you can if you are creating a new domain, web site, or product? It's quite challenging getting "traction" and momentum for most brand new ventures - why not begin from a position of advantage?

Two social scientists, Daniel Oppenheimer and Adam Alter, after some interesting experiments, contend that "people tend to have a greater affection for words and names that are easy to pronounce" over those that are not so easy or even hard to say. Their findings suggest that the average person feels more positive about company names, products, domains, etc, "that have a high degree of fluency."

Oppenheimer and Alter did controlled experiments first with fictitious stock names, some which were easy to pronounce, others that were difficult to pronounce. Participants were told that these were real companies and they were to estimate the future performance of each stock.

The results were very clear: participants predicted that the easily pronounced stocks would outperform the others . . . but even more importantly, that the chosen stocks would go up in value while the others (the difficult to pronounce group) would go down in value.

The scientists were quite intrigued with their findings so they decided to see if the same phenomenon occurred in the real world. They chose two random groups of stocks from the NY Stock Exchange between 1990 and 2004 for their research - again, only by the differentiation of easy to pronounce vs. difficult to pronounce. They tracked short-term, intermediate, and longer term results of stocks beginning in their first year after IPO.

The results of the actual real life companies in the stock market validated those of the original fictitious company experiment.

In addition, a further study of the stock symbols of 750 companies with ticker symbols like KAR that were easily pronounced vs. those that were difficult to pronounce (like RDO) produced, again, similar results.

Researchers, through controlled experiments, have found that the pervasiveness of a handwritten message is influenced by the quality of the handwriting. That shouldn't be the case right? Great content is the same regardless of the quality of the handwriting. Yet the experiments suggest that viewers interpret a sense of difficulty reading handwriting with difficulty believing the message.

Could difficulty pronouncing or understanding a domain name or business name cause some negative consumer sentiment toward that company? In my mind . . . yes that is certainly a possibility!

What I take from all this is the importance of simple and easy communication when it comes to names in business. Choose easy to pronounce, easy to write, uncomplicated names for your domains, businesses, and products. If your prospect can't easily say a name, or if it is confusing, too complex, or unpronounceable (is that a word?) it's probably not your best choice regardless of how "brandable" you think it is.

A poll done at Stanford University found that 86.4% of students surveyed admitted to regularly using complicated language in their papers in order to make themselves appear smarter.

Don't do that in your Internet marketing. Simple, understandable, easy to say names have great value. Complexity often confuses . . . in IM, that is the kiss of death!

Have a great day!

Steve
#business #domain #matter #product
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  • Profile picture of the author wolfmmiii
    I've been screaming about this literally for years on this very forum.

    A clean, brandable domain/product will almost always outperform some rando keyword-laden one.

    The example I use is:

    Underwaterdigitalcameras.org

    vs...

    DavisPhoto.com

    I've actually had people argue with me over it...

    smh...
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    • Profile picture of the author gianbizz
      For SEO newbies, there is the temptation to pick an exact-match domain, in your sample he/she will choose UnderwaterDigitalCameras.org.
      Some people think it's a great strategy for SEO. It may work for years ago, but now, Google doesn't give as much value to keyword domains as it does with brand domains.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnVianny
    YES! i totally agree.

    It's a Matter concerning BRAND.

    If you choose a product it must reflects your brand, cause it primarly speaks for it.

    I dont think Apple will name the next i-phone like "HorseTalkin" or something weird.

    The marketers you are referring to are probably churn and burn marketers who dont last for long time, or maybe it's what not they apply in their own business but advice to others.
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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    Always thought Facebook from the beginning was just a dumb and not a ingenious name to say the least.

    But it sure hasn't hurt the Stock appreciation with my holdings of my FB positions
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    Great point: Thanks Steve.
    : )

    Generally speaking I would agree
    however there are always exceptions.
    When the Market becomes familiar
    with the brand name -- even if it's
    difficult to
    spell/pronounce/etc -- they
    become "conditioned" to remember
    it ...

    Google for example (which is a
    play on the word "Googol" and difficult to
    remember by saying it) would be a good
    example. (There are loads more
    ...)

    (JMO)
    Jonathan
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  • Profile picture of the author TextBullet
    The brand name is the first thing you hear and usually the last thing you remember. It is important to choose a short brand that's easy to spell, pronounce and remember. Think of all the famous and big brands out there, Most of them are one word or two words.
    Yet, there is no way to even predict if a name will do well or not. It's a leap of faith that will have to be built over time to register in people's hearts and minds. Avoid over-rationalizing. Go with your gut. If the brand succeeds, no one will think twice about the name. Best of luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jhelum Sen
    Yes, it matters a lot.
    When people search for any keyword and that keyword exactly matches with your domain name, there are high chances that your website will rank at the top.
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    https://www.priceandreleasedate.com/

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    • Profile picture of the author wolfmmiii
      Originally Posted by Jhelum Sen View Post

      Yes, it matters a lot.
      When people search for any keyword and that keyword exactly matches with your domain name, there are high chances that your website will rank at the top.
      Everything about your comment is wrong....
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  • Profile picture of the author QuaziSazzad
    Yes, it's a very important things.
    When people search for any keyword and that keyword exactly matches with your domain name, there are high chances that your website will rank at the top.
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  • Profile picture of the author spearce000
    Does your business/company name matter? Probably not - especially if it doesn't feature heavily in your advertising. For example: if you look at the packets on supermarket shelves, you'll only find the name of the company that actually makes the product in very small print on the back. If it's a supermarket's own brand, it probably won't even say that.

    Does your brand name matter? You bet it does! Big corporations spend millions of Dollars to get branding and product names right. If the brand name and the product appearance doesn't excite the buyers, it won't sell - no matter how good the product is.
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  • Profile picture of the author neel patel
    As per my knowledge, the brand name and domain name matters a lot. Domain name is relevant to your site than there are more chances that you will get better results Because if the Keyword matches the URL, your site will be shown in the SERPs.
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  • Profile picture of the author DURABLEOILCOM
    I believe a name is a big deal in business it is often best to choose a catchy and clever name as well as a name that includes keywords to the type of business you are in.
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    • Profile picture of the author wolfmmiii
      Originally Posted by DURABLEOILCOM View Post

      I believe a name is a big deal in business it is often best to choose a catchy and clever name as well as a name that includes keywords to the type of business you are in.
      ebay
      cnet
      amazon
      facebook
      general mills
      progressive
      state farm
      westinghouse

      ..and on and on and on

      What keywords do these businesses use?
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  • Profile picture of the author Topcoloringpages
    Once I made a great mistake choosing a domain name.
    Name of my company was: Kids Hits
    So I chose domain: kidshits
    The problem was that many people have seen it as KidShits instead od KidsHits.
    It caused negative impression on many potential visitors.
    I had also many problems adding my website to catalogues (bad word was recognized in domain name.
    I think that Google also didn't like it too much.
    So take it also under consideration choosing your domain name.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by discrat View Post

    Always thought Facebook from the beginning was just a dumb and not a ingenious name to say the least.

    But it sure hasn't hurt the Stock appreciation with my holdings of my FB positions
    Rob, think back to the original concept of Facebook - kind of an online yearbook/directory for one college. From that vantage, FaceBook is a brilliant name. The Book of Faces.

    Originally Posted by Topcoloringpages View Post

    Once I made a great mistake choosing a domain name.
    Name of my company was: Kids Hits
    So I chose domain: kidshits
    The problem was that many people have seen it as KidShits instead od KidsHits.
    It caused negative impression on many potential visitors.
    I had also many problems adding my website to catalogues (bad word was recognized in domain name.
    I think that Google also didn't like it too much.
    So take it also under consideration choosing your domain name.
    You beat me to the punch. When choosing a domain name, look at all the ways it can be misspelled. The net is littered with them.

    Another example is/was Therapist.com, a directory of businesses providing therapy. Of course, some folks turned it into TheRapist.com. Do you really want to lie back and relax with someone you found on The Rapist?

    Steve, really excellent post. One of the things I judge peoples' expertise on is their ability and willingness to provide sources to back up their findings rather than asking people to accept their views on faith. Well done.
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    • Profile picture of the author Topcoloringpages
      And another classic is "penisland". Almost no one reads this as the author intended "Pen island".
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  • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
    I think what really matters is the ability to identify the market in as
    specific terms as possible followed by the ability to clearly and simply
    articulate to that market the primary benefit of buying the product today.

    The product name and website address come somewhere down the list after that.
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  • Profile picture of the author somenathsen1
    yes brand and brand value does matter.
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  • Profile picture of the author rbates
    The K.I.S.S. principle in action. Who does not look
    for "Simple".

    It is an interesting study, but one that many might
    have easily guessed at the outcome.

    That is another reason why it is almost impossible to
    come up with 3, even 4 letter domain names.

    It is also good marketing to keep in mind that you
    want to write at a 6th grade level. The simpler the better.

    Great post!
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