Contributed by Naseem Javed
The growing notion among big advertising agencies and brand marketers is that as search engines find answers instantly, there’s no real need to enter a domain name in the browser and therefore domain names are far less important. They’re absolutely right. Why would you type www.rolex.com when you can simply enter ‘Rolex’ and be there before you blink?
But where they are seriously wrong is when you enter anything like ‘Interlink’ ‘Pronet’ ‘National Trust’ ‘Premier Traders’ or ‘United Manufacturing’, uncontrollable citations will gush out from every corners of the world. This debate originates from a lack of understanding of corporate nomenclature; usability of a name in relation to ‘precise-search-ability’ v/s ‘open-search-ability.’
Often corporations mistakenly believe that their name is the only ‘one powerful name identity’. Example, The United Manufacturing & Distribution Chicago Limited is convinced that they are ‘United Manufacturing’ while customers refer to them as UMDC to avoid a long descriptive name, and often they are called UMDC Chicago to differentiate themselves from other city locations in Atlanta, Kansas and Baltimore, their domain is www.unitedmfgdistributionchicago.com, as ‘united manufacturing’ was already gone, their stock symbol is UMAND.
Now try to find them on e-commerce, as every name combination buries them in thousands of citations. Across the world among the established business communities such clusters of multiple names are a common scenario. None of these names show up on the top of a search page. After all a very miniscule number of businesses in the world have a single globally workable distinct name identity?
If businesses around the world are already spending USD 400 billion annually to keep their name identities afloat so why do the largest majority of names still lost in the fathom? Google’s algorithms and Ad words trawl at the bottom but good names pop up and work well with ad words and other pay per click models. The rest stay at the bottom.
Let’s examine the three types of searching.
First, someone enters ‘footwear’. Thousands of citations pop-up nicely stacked to choose from, in this type of search, advanced knowledge of a domain name was not required. Second, someone enters a specific name of a footwear brand, like, ‘Moda Shoes’, ‘Quality footwear’, ‘Footsie,’ ‘Star’ or ‘Babe’. Thousands of citations pop up and further sub searches may eventually provide that sought after answer. Lastly, one enters Nike, Reebok, Adidas or Bata and the right site pops up instantly. There is nothing wrong in any of the above search procedures, they all work, but the last one is the most desirable from the marketing and image expansion point of view.
Saving splits of seconds so that the potential customers do not get distracted by hundreds of other options are the hidden secrets of cyber name identity domination. The bigger question is why is this obvious hindrance to sales not corrected immediately? Who are the real beneficiaries of these lingering name disfunctionalities?
Now back to the argument. The owners with confusing and diluted origins resort to be discovered by random guesswork searching and prefer a search engine approach. This group often finds refuge under scrambled SEO options and prays for direct hits. This group always wants to justify that Google is a better way to randomly check then to type a specific URL in the browser. Without search engines and SEO, they would be literally doomed.
The facts remain despite such heavy costs of customer acquisition; dysfunctional names still constitute the largest majority.
ICANN’s new gTLD program of global cyber name identities is neither for diluted, conflicting or dysfunctional names, nor for names that are not worthy of such expensive and exclusively undertakings. However, the spotlight has shifted to ‘naming’ and hardcore corporate nomenclature issues. In response a White Paper entitled “The World’s Largest Branding Revolution Starts January 2012”. Free downloadable PDF version is available at http://www.aarm.org
The big question of today is, at the end of any major branding if there isn’t a distinctively exclusive and memorable name capable to withstand global scrutiny, why haven’t such branding projects been erased yet? Is there any link between continuous higher burn rate on duplicated and generic type name brands which never make it to the top?
No matter what, Google search results, very soon, will appear like a full blown colorful magazine, the end user’s richer experience will tickle the fancy with accompanying picturesque designs, photography; videos blended with textual columns and collage of social media to mesmerize and monitor all responses. A kind of cyber-immersion into ‘GoogleMatrix’ where a new world of highly affordable, measurable ‘selective pay-per-click advertising’ would emerge.
These digitally intertwined globally scalable and overhead expenditure free services would create further shock waves to current marketing and branding models.
In conclusion, using the search engine as nets, rightfully, work wonders, like huge drift nets and bottom trawlers, they overflow the decks. But when you are looking for a special guppy fish distinctively called ‘Nemo’ the game gets sophisticated for all parties; the search engines, the searchers and the ‘searchees’. Google search will not replace domain names but the search results will become clear indicators or shining stars and lost souls creating a wider divide among winners and losers of the name identity game.
Naseem Javed, founder of ABC Namebank, is a globally recognized authority on corporate nomenclature and related issues of global naming complexities and especially market domination via name identity. He is a lecturer, syndicated columnist, and the author of Naming for Power. www.abcnamebank.com