Is "TheName.com" better than "Name.com"?

26 replies
I'm doing an important project, and one of my marketing consultants, whom most people would probably recognize, if I said his name, said he felt I should add "the" to the domain I reserved.

We ended up having an interesting discussion.

For example I pointed out how Mark Zuckerberg was told to drop The from TheFacebook, and we famously have Facebook.com now.

I also told him I had TheAffluentClass.com, an someone offered to sell me AffluentClass.com, which I think is simpler.

He said, "Yeah, but are you a member of The Affluent Class, or Affluent Class?"

What do you think is better, in general, a domain by itself, or with "the" in front of it?

We ended without agreement, although I said it would be easy to reserve the version with "the" in it, too, and he agreed with me on that point.

Thanks,
Dan
#namecom #thenamecom
  • Profile picture of the author DBracey
    In terms of ranking, "the" gets ignored by most search engines when in domain names. As a case in point, go to Google NCR and perform a search for "bike shop" in talking marks. You'll see thebikeshop.com comes up above bikeshop.com. The same goes for "perfume shop" and a host of others. This isn't a rule of thumb, obviously. It can be the other way around too. But it is a demonstration that "the" doesn't mean you'll rank below a site without the "the".

    So ultimately content is king in this case. So since relevancy isn't something to be concerned about, the two questions are 1) how well the domain name you're selecting reflects the name and purpose of your site, and 2) how likely are people to type the extra "the" in when trying to go to it directly.

    The answer is simple: if the "the" isn't required because it doesn't reflect the name and purpose of your site either way, then the shorter your domain, the better.

    People are less likely to type the "the" in unless they are already familiar with the fact that the "the" exists in the domain name.

    So if you can, go without the "the" for ease of memory, ease of typing it into an address bar, and to overcome a lack of familiarity. Go with the "the" if it reflects the name of your site more accurately.

    But if both are available, it won't hurt to get both. Not only does that avoid all confusion, it also helps to prevent someone else from seeing what you're doing and grabbing essentially the same domain name to start competing with you. They can still compete with any domain name, obviously, but not with essentially the exact same domain (since "the" gets ignored).

    Hope that helps.
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    • Profile picture of the author enterprisemind
      Originally Posted by DBracey View Post

      In terms of ranking, "the" gets ignored by most search engines when in domain names. As a case in point, go to Google NCR and perform a search for "bike shop" in talking marks. You'll see thebikeshop.com comes up above bikeshop.com. The same goes for "perfume shop" and a host of others. This isn't a rule of thumb, obviously. It can be the other way around too. But it is a demonstration that "the" doesn't mean you'll rank below a site without the "the".

      So ultimately content is king in this case. So since relevancy isn't something to be concerned about, the two questions are 1) how well the domain name you're selecting reflects the name and purpose of your site, and 2) how likely are people to type the extra "the" in when trying to go to it directly.

      The answer is simple: if the "the" isn't required because it doesn't reflect the name and purpose of your site either way, then the shorter your domain, the better.

      People are less likely to type the "the" in unless they are already familiar with the fact that the "the" exists in the domain name.

      So if you can, go without the "the" for ease of memory, ease of typing it into an address bar, and to overcome a lack of familiarity. Go with the "the" if it reflects the name of your site more accurately.

      But if both are available, it won't hurt to get both. Not only does that avoid all confusion, it also helps to prevent someone else from seeing what you're doing and grabbing essentially the same domain name to start competing with you. They can still compete with any domain name, obviously, but not with essentially the exact same domain (since "the" gets ignored).

      Hope that helps.

      Great answer. Very informative. Thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author SEO Haven
    TheName.com and Name.com makes no difference whatsoever as long as you're not violating any policies or using brand names that prohibits this.

    When it comes to ranking websites with SEO, the domain name makes little difference, especially after the EMD updates.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Klatt
    Thanks, Daz and SEO Haven.

    Daz, that's a very helpful answer!

    That makes a lot of sense that people want easy and quick, and without the article the domain is easier to remember and faster to type.

    I had only thought about people clicking links, where it could be four words and it's point and click quick and easy.

    Except top-of-mind-awareness likely goes to the domain without "the" in front of it.

    Thanks much,
    Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author JerrickYeoh
    Both keywords is there and you can use both to target the same keywords in SEO .
    But why people concern with the and no the with the domain is because domain name without "the", people will take it as original and official website

    While with "the" in the domain name , people might take is a copy cat website or someone just trying to use the name to gain advantages.
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  • Profile picture of the author akowally
    Name.com is easier to remember. I would never advise you to use the in any of your websites.

    Cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    It depends on branding and a specific niche. Based on the info you provided, I'd go with THE in the domain. Again, it depends on the specific situation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chirdpong
    In theory, it should be identical especially after EMD update either name.com, thename.com or namepro.com all are equal if you would like to rank the KW “Name”. I use the word "In theory" because nobody can tell the impact exactly.

    For me, I prefer the professional look as extension rather than “the” such as namepro.com or namecrush.com. Also it is easier to positioning your website rather than thename.com
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Dan Klatt View Post

    What do you think is better, in general, a domain by itself, or with "the" in front of it?
    In general, I think "without" is far better, and more brandable.

    (For those interested in the SEO potential, also, though this is changing the subject slightly, you're better off without it. Additional words/letters should go after the keyword, rather than before. Other things being equal, "KeywordXYZ.com" ranks more easily for "keyword" than "TheKeyword.com" does. Google's Matt Cutts has explained the reason for this in one of those little "answering readers' questions" videos he's made.)
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  • Profile picture of the author mikeye
    Name.com is easier to remember and brand. I'd suggest register both and use Name.com as the main site and the other to protect your brand.
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    • Profile picture of the author kaytav
      Originally Posted by mikeye View Post

      Name.com is easier to remember and brand. I'd suggest register both and use Name.com as the main site and the other to protect your brand.
      Great Suggestion!!

      But maintaining two sites could be a problem. But if you can handle both, it would be best for you.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    Yeah, the is among those words deemed to have SO little value in searcing that it is ignored. It is considered what they call a "stop word". In theory, it COULD increase limits and dilute prevalence, and actually ***LOWER*** your score. So I would leave it out.

    The ONLY time a stop word makes sense here is when a human will read it and omitting it would hurt credibility or value.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Well, washingtonpost.com registered their name without "the" even though they are referred to as The Washington Post. Tons of examples like that. It is nearly always better to have the domain without "the" if you can get it. It will have a higher resell value and the word "the" is just a stop word as far as Google is concerned and disregarded either way.
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  • Profile picture of the author CudaFish
    Personally, I think it all just depends on which one is more applicable! Example, theaffluentclass.com makes more sense then affluentclass.com but facebook.com makes more sense than thefacebook.com hehe.

    Regardless, I think depending on the type of site, and what the word or words are AFTER the "the" that you can just make a reasonable determination as to which one makes more sense.
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  • Profile picture of the author TimothyTorrents
    I think it's better to have the domain without the "the" it makes things simpler.
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  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    Not having the word THE in the domain name is better but I am not so how that is going to affect you in the search engine or how people see you website or name.

    There are a lot of famous and big companies who would have used the in their domain name but they have not so that tells you a whole lot.
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  • Profile picture of the author FuNwiThChRiS
    Domain names are 100% irrelevant to Google. All that matters is high-quality content and a vast network of reputable supporting players. This is exactly what the Google webmaster team stated about a month ago.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Dan,

      The only reason I would choose to use "the" is if it were part of a familiar phrase or had already been a part of the branding of the company.

      My preference would be the shorter "without the" version.

      If you are able to register both versions, I would do that then add a redirect on the "the" version domain name pointing to the "without the" site and track where your traffic is coming from.

      By watching your incoming traffic you will soon know how important "the" is to your domain name. You could always switch your site later since you'll own both domains, but I'm betting that "the" isn't going to beat out "without the" in terms of more traffic.

      Good luck whatever you choose.

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author TimGreen1
    Personally I think "the" has become irrelevant not, search engines don't recognise it and in my opinion it looks better, look at the domain of the site we're on now. Does that have a "the" in front of it?
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  • Profile picture of the author rrm
    OK, here's my two cents worth. Glad you asked.

    I agree with those who generally opt for a name without the "the." But, it really does depend on the name and the purpose of your site. Here is a practical example.

    I own a domain name: "astickandabox.com", spelled out like this: "A stick and a box." Articles like "a," "an," and "the" have their place at times. My site name (just started developing it behind the scenes) just wouldn't have the same impact to me if I left off the "a." And, if you knew the reason for the site, it would definitely make more sense to leave it.

    Think about movies for a moment. Leave off the word "the" and see how the meanings could change (or at least how they sound...):

    Good, the bad and the ugly
    Happening (yeah, got it going on!)
    Birds (seriously, would Hitchcock have called his flick that?)
    Invisible man
    Others
    King and I
    Incredibles (what?)
    Mask (without the "the," is it a noun, or a verb?:confused:
    Mummy (reflective prose about your British mum?)
    Mummy returns (about the British mother coming back home?)
    Addams family (is it about some family named Adams, or is it Addam's family?
    Terminal (is someone dying?)
    Shining (my glowing personality)
    Great Gatsby (could be related to "good grief")
    Wiz (verb?)

    On the other hand, how would these sound if we stuck "the" in front:

    The Tremors (might need to adjust the Parkinson's meds)
    The Top Gun
    The Tom Thumb
    The True Lies
    The That Darn Cat
    The Frankenstein
    The Skyfall (whoa! Maybe those Aztecs, Incas, Mayans or whoever it is were right, after all!)

    You get the point.

    Ron
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  • Profile picture of the author onegoodman
    I would agree, going without THE would probably better :
    - It is shorter
    - would give the user the impression the only reason the is over there is that you couldn't get it without it.

    Most importantly if you going for a big project and you could get both of them, i would certainly recommend getting both of them to protect the name
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Klatt
    Thank you all for your helpful thoughts.

    I especially like the points about people assuming The version is a copycat or un-original, and less attractive, or presumed to be.

    And Steve, I love your point about reserving it with The, too, and redirecting that to the other, then seeing which people are coming to.

    Ron, your examples with movies are funny and informative

    Someone contacted me privately with another interesting observation, about librarians ignoring "the" in a title and filing books and movies alphabetically based on the next main word, even putting "the" at the end of the title, such as "Most Interesting Thread, The" ;-)

    He also thought of another example, where we know it as Coke or Coca-Cola, although the corporate name is The Coca-Cola Company.

    I did reserve the version starting with the.

    Thanks much,
    Dan

    P.S. For some reason that also reminds me how since early on in IM, we've been told "if you can't get the domain you want, try adding 'the' in front of it". Goes to the point that the name without it is perceived as original, first, or as "The Real Thing" (Coke did not approve this use of their slogan, and it is used for illustrative purposes only ;-))
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  • Profile picture of the author jlcs
    TheName.com and Name.com are same good of SEO.
    I prefer Name.com
    This will more easier for me to remember.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jtraits
    i would recomment without the "The" as most of the times doesn't make any difference ...
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