Does online brand management include domain names? It has been an interesting argument for a long time with many domains proving to be successful despite not including their brand in their domain name. The argument becomes lost when it can be pointed out that the domain name itself has become a brand. There are dangers lurking when you do have a highly successful business built around your domain name.
Take as an example, Twitter.com. Mention the word Twitter and almost everyone who is online will know who you are talking about. Or do they? Yes, Twitter is a highly recognized name. But so too is twitter.co.uk; yet they are not connected.
The UK branded Twitter has possibly brought more grief to Twitter.com than good. There was a period where the British twitter.co.uk was in dispute with twitter.com. The dispute even made it to the British press. Free publicity for both but since twitter.com appeared to be in the wrong, everyone sided with twitter.co.uk.
Ask someone in the UK about Twitter and the response may well be — “which one?”Â You now have brand confusion. Twitter has developed their name and their domain name as a brand that many are familiar with. A similar domain name in the UK has now lead to brand confusion. There is similar domain name in Australia too: twitter.com.au. This could mean even more brand confusion in Australia.
It’s a difficult situation to be in. All three Twitter’s will no doubt survive and twitter.com has not suffered unduly”¦ yet. There is always the potential down the track.
Including your brand in your domain name, or branding your domain name is a good idea. However, if you intend to build a global business, consider buying regional domains as well. It may set you back several hundred dollars to buy these domain names, but in the long run they may also prevent any situations where brand confusion creeps. This is why online brand management looks beyond today and tries to position a business for all outcomes.