When it comes to selecting a domain name, there’s more than just registration involved. Selecting the right domain name involves a lot of consideration. This includes making sure it represents the company and its products or service correctly, making sure it doesn’t create an intellectual property conflict, ensuring the name resonates with customers and ensuring it can become search engine friendly.
When it comes to selecting a domain name, one consideration is to make is memorable. The first recommendation is to not include any hyphens because doing so makes it harder for people to pronounce, recall and therefore brand a domain name. Something to avoid are words that might sound distinctive but are hard to pronounce or spell, such as anemone or onomatopoeia. It might end up being counterproductive, especially when it's said fast or flashes across a screen for a few seconds before it's gone.
Much like making a domain name memorable, another way to make it stick in people’s heads is to make the domain’s word or words easy for people to say. Through the so-called "processing fluency," the easier it is to pronounce a word or phrase, the more likely an individual is to remember and create a positive associate with the company and its domain name.
Another consideration when selecting a domain name is determining if it's been blacklisted or is heavily penalized from a search engine rating. A domain name might be blacklisted if it was previously in the hands of an owner who used it to generate and distribute spam. Similarly, an existing domain may be penalized in search engine rankings, reducing the likelihood of being found by users through a keyword search. Depending on how poor a domain’s search engine optimization (SEO) ranking is, that would be another factor when looking to purchase an existing domain name.
Generally speaking, in order for a name to be trademarked, it must have distinctive characteristics. This could be accomplished by the name being used in a subjective manner or if the name is invented for a business’ use.
Along with a good fit for a particular industry, it's naturally best to double check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to determine which trademarks currently exist and if any trademark applications are under review. Similarly, abbreviations and modified spellings of a trademark should be explored. Looking through business name registries is also advised to ensure all iterations of a potential trademark are explored before selecting a domain name.
One important point to keep in mind when selecting a domain name, especially with trademark issues, is to ensure there are no similarities with it that may cause customers to confuse it with the trademarked domain name. The following are some questions to ask that, along with legal help, can reduce the likelihood of trademark issues for a domain name.
Will your domain name be in the same industry as the trademarked domain name? What's the likelihood of the intended domain name being confused or taking sales away from a similar one? How common or similarly spelled or sounding is another domain name to the intended domain name? These questions can help determine if any similarity exists.
While these are just a few considerations when selecting a domain name, understanding how the selection process works can undoubtedly save time and money for entrepreneurs.