– Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash
I was researching some potential domain names for a client recently when I came across several listings of “Worst Domain Names.” I had some fun visiting a few of these sites, and I noticed a difference in how the domain owners leveraged their “unfortunate” domain names. There seem to be 3 ways to approach it:
These folks have taken the clueless high road of ignoring the double meaning of their website domain. Yes, I see that their company is actually called “La Drape,” but this domain name seems like a bad idea, especially when your products are sourced from England where “lad” is the common term for a young boy.
A private practice therapist in Sydney, Australia. I do understand that you can’t spell “therapist” without also spelling “the rapist.” And I also understand that someone searching for “therapist in Sydney” is probably going to see her site first. However, I feel there are better ways of handling this, as demonstrated in the next section.
If you visit this website for a database of talent representatives, you’ll see that they do little to overcome this unfortunate domain name. They use different colors in their logo and capitalization to try to present a professional image. Nevertheless, I can’t get over the fact that the domain name sounds like a high tech streetwalker. Again, there are better ways to handle it.
This domain owner (CAMFT a non-profit association dedicated to the advancement and understanding of the profession of marriage and family therapists) is being clever by forwarding any inquiries from therapistfinder.com to its primary site, That way they can leverage traffic from the unusual domain name, but present a meaningful presence that is relevant to their mission. Owning www.therapistfinder.com makes a lot of sense from a search standpoint (“find a therapist” keywords), but these folks have found a way to have their cake and eat it too.
This is a real person (actually Benjamin Dover), so I can’t say much about the branding his parents gave him, but I will note that he also owns www.benjamindover.com and forwards that address to www.bendover.com. Smart—very smart.
With a slogan of “Your Pen Is Our Business” these guys clearly get the tongue-in-cheek nature of their domain and are having fun delivering custom-made pens via the internet. What a brilliant marketing strategy!
This construction company gets it too, and they even sell clothing with their “Mammoth Erection” logo.
Which technique is best from a branding perspective? If your corporate culture enables you to “celebrate it,” then this is the way to go. Most companies are too politically correct to do this, however, so to maintain a search advantage, I suggest the “hide it” strategy. Which do you prefer?