Off-Brand: A Catchy Domain as Your Brand's Main Domain? Nope!


Today I want to talk about a real-life situation where a real company uses a “catchy domain” as its main domain name because they do not own the matching brand domain.

Since the Uni legal team bars me from sharing the real company name and domain, we will create a fantasy company that resembles the real-life situation I experienced.

  • Cleaning product brand name: McCleany McClean
  • Cleaning product “catchy domain” used on products, marketing etc:

Getting straight to the point, every time I look at the product, this nice and clean McCleany McClean logo looks me in the eye. We get along well because the product works well! I like McCleany McClean and the brand name just gives me the feel-goods.

McCleany McClean has a web identity problem though because it does not own, the “make sense”, natural domain name to its brand. Someone else owns it, because they rightfully can in this case. It’s a big world and in my opinion, some companies wrongfully think it won’t hurt business if their company doesn’t own its exact match .com domain name. Well, it does matter!

I would expect that the company spent tens of thousands of dollars to build its ecommerce website. Online fulfillment services, employees, cybersecurity, email services, analytics, data management, and much more, all related to brand's website store; all revolving around the virtual front door of the business, its domain name! The domain name that allows consumers to arrive and shop. Yes, the domain name to come back or even reach customer support if needed.

Since it’s 2021, many consumers order online and we do more now than ever before… ordering directly from the company that makes it. This is called D2C, Direct To Customer.

When a company uses an “off-brand” domain name that isn’t second nature to the actual brand, it simply creates confusion. Like me mentioning to my wife, “we are almost out of McCleany McClean, could you order some more please”.

Her reply: “’s webpage is pure white, I wonder if there website is broken? Maybe they went out of business? I’ll check later.”

Me: “I think there domain name is different from there brand name! Let me go check the recycle bin at the curb before the recycling truck comes... Babe, the truck came already and the McCleany McClean bottle is no longer.”

Her: “Okay, I’ll wait and see if their website isn’t broken later.”

The search is on, the waiting game starts and it simply isn’t convenient. It’s confusing, avoidable, and creates unnecessary roadblocks preventing reordering and other product discovery. Sending consumers you already retained off to a search engine to be crushed by competing advertisements of McCleany McClean should be a high priority.

It is very important for consumers to come directly to you. Point A to Point B. Not A, to C, to maybe B. Branding is important. Reordering is just as important as the initial order, maybe even more important! Create as little confusion as you can.

Should your company use a catchy type domain name in place of your best domain name option, your exact match .com domain?

I would say "no" emphatically. Catchy domain names can work really great in advertising and different forms of marketing to draw in consumers but once they have landed, making it very easy to come back is part of the branding package that should include the company owning the domain name.

What makes more sense to the consumer, is owning and promoting your matching brand name, with a .com at the end. It’s just natural, like my beloved McCleany McClean products I struggle to find every few months.

The information contained in this blog is provided for general informational purposes about domains. It is not specific advice tailored to your situation and should not be treated as such.

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