Showing posts with label domains. Show all posts
Showing posts with label domains. Show all posts

The company behind WordPress purchases .blog domain rights

Friday, May 13, 2016


Today the company behind WordPress.com, Automattic, revealed that it had quietly acquired the rights to run the “.blog” domain last year for a hefty $19 million. So we hopped on the phone with WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg to hear why he believes .blog was worth the price — and to find out his plan for .blog domains.

VB: So why was .blog worth $19 million?

Matt Mullenweg: Well, the domain business is actually a really good business because you can sell a domain and people use it and keep it forever. So, if you look at like a Verisign, or people who have TLDs, it’s actually an incredible business.

We really wanted .blog to be open, and some of the other applications for .blog were closed, including Google — so, let’s say for example, only Blogger could have a .blog domain. And we thought that .blog should be open to everyone, even if they’re not using WordPress.
I gotta be honest though, it was a stressful auction.

VB: What role did you play versus the company you partnered with, Primer Nivel?

MM: It was basically a way to bid without anyone knowing it was us.

VB: Is there a reason why you didn’t want people to know it was you?

MM: We thought it could be a lot more than $19 million, actually … Basically, there are a bunch of new TLDs, and .blog, I think, is one of the best ones out there. But there could be an incentive for other bidders if they knew it was us, and we’d just raised funding, that they would try to drive the price up. It was right after we did our $160 million round.

VB: Most TLDs — it’s still early days — but they don’t seem to have caught on. What’s your plan to make sure .blog is as legitimate as .com? What’s the recipe for making that catch on, aside from your involvement?

MM: So, I think .blog is pretty interesting, as compared to other TLDs, because a blog is something a lot of people use already. So, while it’d be difficult to imagine, let’s say, Dropbox using a .xyz domain, they already have a blog.Dropbox.com subdomain. So you could imagine they could move that to Dropbox.blog. Or, another company using it. Because companies use blog as a subdirectory and a subdomain, I think that the domain is interesting.

The second reason I think we can do a lot better than everyone else is that we obviously run a very large blogging service. We sell a lot of domains. And so, for the many tens of thousands of people who sign up for WordPress.com everyday, we can now offer them a name — a domain on the Internet, which is really the starting point of the independent Web. If you think about it, a domain is one of these things that you can have and no one can take from you. It’s like owning property. And part of my belief in the independent Web is I want everyone to have a domain.

VB: Will .blog be the default for WordPress.com? Is it something you’re going to push more than “.com”?

MM: In terms of whether we recommend it over .com or not, I think it really just depends on the name. If you could have yourname.blog, instead of yourname123xyz.com, you obviously want the better domain. And I think where a few years ago people were kind of weirded by these alternative domains, now you’re actually starting to see them a lot more — like Alphabet using them.

VB: That was a godsend for whoever bought .xyz

MM: That’s probably the best use of .xyz I’ve seen. But like I said, you can think of many, many names .blog. Even something like a VentureBeat could be Venture.blog.

Automattic says it plans on opening up .blog to everyone by the end of the year. More on that here.
 

(Courtesy of VentureBeat)

What's in a name, on social?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I get asked these questions a lot - What domain name should I use? Should I get a vanity domain name? Should I use .com, .net or another type of ending? Should my Twitter handle be funny?

When thinking of a great domain name or even a social media handle, it’s hard to know when you should keep it strictly professional, personal, and what the perfect balance of both should look like. Even if you have the best brand and a perfectly curated social profile, potential customers and connections will judge you by your name, so here are some considerations to help you decide:

When creativity makes sense

Here’s a question: Whether you’re thinking about a Facebook URL, a Twitter handle, or your business’s domain name—should it be a descriptor of what you do, or are you better off with some truncated, not-yet-used, version of your name? Sometimes, you have to get creative. If you were the first John Smith on the Internet, hats off to you for taking the full handle and various domain names. If you’re the thousandth, creativity is your only choice!

Like most things in the digital world it comes down to two things. First, will it help you when it comes to search? Second, and just as important, does it fit with your brand?

When it comes to vanity domains, Google has long denied that they affect search rankings. Their in-house tech team advised way back that registering a vanity domain for the sheer, hopeful sake of page rankings would be a fool’s errand. But there’s a solid number of marketers that disagree, and they watch these things very closely. Chalk it up to wishful thinking, if you like, but time will tell. And there are only so many .com domains available.

There’s also something to be said for registering a top level domain like .tv, for sites obviously about television, or even the long-used .org for organizations.

Don’t discount user perception

As for the question of brand fit… A domain name that matches your company’s name with a .com can exude trust or professionalism to some users. But vanity domains have their appeal, too—they say you know who you are, and you’re different. Sometimes literally.

For example, Rightside shares the story of a pub in England that registered their domain with a .pub. The name of the pub is “The Doctor’s Orders,” and they felt the name had “some connotations that could be construed as inappropriate for a purveyor of alcohol” if they went with .com. So in the legal sense, it was a smart move to go with the unusual domain – and it wasn’t a bad move for overall clarity and brand awareness as well!

The founders of this .pub establishment are digitally savvy and claim to have landed in top search results in local searches because of their domain. But is it because of the .pub or the relevance to the target audience? And are those two things different? Either way, the drinkhere.pub is simpler (and easier to obtain, no doubt) than a drinkherepub.com—and a solid benchmark to keep in mind is always KISS—keep it simple, stupid. Particularly if folks are drinking.

Be simple, be memorable

Recall of your page is the most important thing, after all. Even Facebook recommends its vanity URLs be easy to give away at a networking event or fit into your email signature. Who needs a 75-character link when it could just be your company’s name?

And on Twitter, you have some additional considerations to keep in mind, like keeping it “as short as possible to reduce the number of characters it uses up when people are replying to or retweeting you.” And know that “accounts with numbers and underscores tend to have fewer followers than those without.”

If using your name is impossible without adding three underscores and a numeral, it’s time to think of something else. Something simple. And this is where vanity URLs can give your name new life.

If you’re a veterinary clinic, for example, there’s good reason to register a vanity .vet domain and use your business name in your social handles and social URLs. If you’re a freelance consultant that dabbles in similar, but only semi-related industries, it might be best to go with your full name. That way, when you start to scale, you have the option to consolidate all your endeavors under one brand name.

The most important thing to keep in mind, no matter which domain you decide on, is to be sure your brand name is available on all social sites in a way that’s consistent. For example, if you’re weselldaisies.com or wesell.daisies, it might not make a huge difference. But if your Twitter handle is @daisies257 and Instagram is @WSDaisies, with Facebook as WeSellDaisiesHere or whatever variations that make sense to you, know that your followers will not make the connection.

And with each variation you add, your branding power is further diluted. It’s better to call yourself @WSD257 on all sites and speak to that on your home page. Your potential customers are more likely to find you this way, and you’ll make your marketing efforts much more effective straight out the gate!
 
  
(Courtesy of SocialTimes)