An off-brand domain name is when the domain name doesn’t match a company's brand exactly, mostly with a .com at the end.
- Brand: Cry Baby
- Off-Brand Domain Name: CryBabyClothingInc.com
- Best/Brand match domain: CryBaby.com
Why does this matter?
It is more likely now than in the past that your business is operating fully online. So, in the very place you are doing business, you aren't doing it as yourself. Your domain name IS you, online.
When another entity owns your brand as an exact matching domain name (often legally as well) your off-brand domain name is causing:
- Lack of trust
- Missed web traffic
- Missed emails
- Security concerns (phishing, spam, missed emails, potentially misrepresented by confusion, etc.)
- Poor word of mouth advertising (people using the wrong domain)
- Increasing brand value (raising the value of the domain you do not own but want to)
- More advertising spend due to the domain confusion
- Wasted time explaining your domain because it’s not natural to your brand
- Lost sleep/concern about not owning the best domain for your brand
Confusion and trust are the main daggers on that list but every single one of them is (should be) a deep concern for the off-brand business.
Sadly, I see companies branding as something they are not, every single day. An internet-only company branding as something that doesn’t match its web address is NOT a wise business choice. It’s like leaving your customer to guess your phone number hoping they will call the right number. Think about that for a minute.
Oh yes, it is very fun and exciting naming your company a short, fancy, and catchy one-word dictionary term. It makes you trendy! No, it doesn’t—unless you own that matching .com.
Branding your new company “Origin” is fun. You call yourself “Origin” and potentially any press you get, the writers simply call you “Origin” but then never link to your actual business website. Then what? If the readers of that article by chance visit Origin.com and you are not the video game company Electronic Arts who has owned the domain name since 2011, your brand is lost in the mix of a very busy internet as the consumer continues guessing where to find YOU.
Confusion is high and missed web traffic is real. Time to spend more on advertising or waste more of your time contacting the site that did the article and explain that your company is on TryOriginNowFreeToday.biz . Not very professional looking, super easy to forget due to its length, and not very exciting or fun when your customers see that kind of domain name.
Running any business is not easy. Living on a virtual address that is different than what you brand as simply doesn’t make sense. Branding your online business and calling yourself something different than you are also doesn’t make sense. Your domain name matters, so your branding needs to match your domain name.
The mistake was likely created early on, back when an idea was thought of and this idea needed a name. It was also on a whim that this name was thrown out and happened to stick. Once reality sets in and realizing the confusion, it's time to fix the problem.
You either rebrand with a domain name that you can brand as and own the exact matching .com domain name to OR you purchase the best .com domain name that exactly matches your brand name from its current owners. It can be expensive, but it's your brand, and continuing with the negatives is highly likely to outweigh the costs of fixing the problem.
Using an off-brand domain name is not a viable option in today's modern world. Competition is very high online and it will only increase with our quickly changing world. It is very important that your business is on and using the exact matching, .com (the majority of the time) domain name to your brand. It simply makes sense.
The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as an endorsement, advice, or opinions from Uniregistry on any subject matter.