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Old Jun 24, 2013, 02:59 PM   #1
steiney
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Using a Hyphen In A URL vs. Using A URL with .us TLD

Hello all,

My business partner and I are in the process of getting a website set up for our venture. I am 27 and he is 60 and we are having a disagreement about public perception of a URL with a hyphen in it versus a URL with a .us TLD.

So, for example, the two options are:

1. Your-Company.com
2. YourCompany.us

So, my question to all of you is:

Obviously, the best would be "YourCompany.com", but failing that, which would of those two above options would you take more seriously if you saw the URL on a business card or other marketing material?

Feedback is greatly appreciated!

Personally, I think there is nothing at all wrong with "Your-Company.com", and that it beats the pants off "YourCompany.us".

Thanks in advance,

steiney
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 05:09 PM   #2
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This might help: http://w3techs.com/technologies/over...vel_domain/all

In short, dot com is .53% of top level domains registered as of 6/24/2013 and dot us is only .03%.

But opinion and context matters, too. Beyond the simple statistic so I think any .us domain should only be used if the site is multilingual or the business entity has different international points of presence. If so, the .us domain is used to target traffic or content related to in any way the United States and, sensibly, other domains would be registered for alternate languages or countries. Otherwise I personally consider it more like a "vanity" domain if none of the above applies simply because people will more easily remember dot com if you only register one and not both. That is my opinion, to be clear.

There are no technical issues involved, .us has been around for awhile (1985) and is a top level domain.

I hope my explanation opens up a (non-combative) conversation with your older if, um, maybe not so seasoned business partner so a sound decision is made --- based on facts.

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Last edited by SrWebDeveloper; Jun 24, 2013 at 05:16 PM. Reason: Fixed link typo
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 05:54 PM   #3
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Thanks SrWebDeveloper! I appreciate the link. He's the one funding the project and he said if I could get an overwhelming majority one my side or find some research/stats indicating I'm correct, he would defer to my opinion. Your comments will help greatly. Hopefully some more folks will chime in and I can show him a copy of the thread in a few days.
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Old Jun 24, 2013, 06:08 PM   #4
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Thanks SrWebDeveloper! I appreciate the link. He's the one funding the project and he said if I could get an overwhelming majority one my side or find some research/stats indicating I'm correct, he would defer to my opinion. Your comments will help greatly. Hopefully some more folks will chime in and I can show him a copy of the thread in a few days.
"Overwhelming" majority, eh? No comment!

Maybe we'd all appreciate if you simply copy/pasted the facts here but, um, changed our names and URL to the forum to protect the innocent. I'm kidding with you, glad I could help! Cheers.

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Old Jun 25, 2013, 06:16 AM   #5
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I think that a .com domain is the better one for a business.

If you cannot get the domain without a hyphen in the name then I would look at using a different name. All you will do is confuse people and likely send them to the 'other site'. For example, say macrumors.com is taken but mac-rumors.com is still available, do you really want the one with the hyphen? Most folks are going to type and visit the one without the hyphen.
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 06:55 AM   #6
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+1 your-company.com
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 07:04 AM   #7
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Not sure what your business involves but maybe you could add your city or state like, "yourcompanycity.com".
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 07:04 AM   #8
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If you cannot get the domain without a hyphen in the name then I would look at using a different name.
Completely agree with admwright. Have you considered alternative URLs? While it's true that a .com would be miles better than a .us, a .com without a hyphen would be miles better than one with. Unless your customer has your business card in their hand or is following a link, the chances are they'll end up on the wrong site.

How strong is the organisation that shares your name? And are they in the same line of work? If your customer googles your company name, do you expect them to find you within the top 3 spots of the SERP? If your competitor will be result 1 and you'll be result 2 then you might be ok assuming you offer completely different products/services. If not, then you need to seriously consider changing your business name.

I know it can be frustrating, but a likely scenario is that someone will:
-enter yourcompany.com & be taken to your competitor's site,
-realise they're in the wrong place (if they are in a completely different line of work),
-go to google & type your company name,
-find exactly the same company whose page they were just on in the top spot,
-go somewhere else entirely.

Alternatively, if the other company is in the same line of work, your customer might not even notice they're on the wrong site and all you're doing is promoting your biggest competitor.
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 01:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by admwright View Post
I think that a .com domain is the better one for a business.

If you cannot get the domain without a hyphen in the name then I would look at using a different name. All you will do is confuse people and likely send them to the 'other site'. For example, say macrumors.com is taken but mac-rumors.com is still available, do you really want the one with the hyphen? Most folks are going to type and visit the one without the hyphen.
Thanks for the input, however the URL is just a catchy two-word phrase that people will remember and will bring them in to us as clients. The "other" domain owners are just holding the URL and trying to sell it as a "premium domain name" for $3500. So, if someone forgets to put in the hyphen and gets to their site, they'll realize they've done something wrong and figure out to use the hyphen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAppleFairy View Post
Not sure what your business involves but maybe you could add your city or state like, "yourcompanycity.com".
Very good idea. Thank you! I'll mention that to my partner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swordio777 View Post
Completely agree with admwright. Have you considered alternative URLs? While it's true that a .com would be miles better than a .us, a .com without a hyphen would be miles better than one with. Unless your customer has your business card in their hand or is following a link, the chances are they'll end up on the wrong site.

How strong is the organisation that shares your name? And are they in the same line of work? If your customer googles your company name, do you expect them to find you within the top 3 spots of the SERP? If your competitor will be result 1 and you'll be result 2 then you might be ok assuming you offer completely different products/services. If not, then you need to seriously consider changing your business name.

I know it can be frustrating, but a likely scenario is that someone will:
-enter yourcompany.com & be taken to your competitor's site,
-realise they're in the wrong place (if they are in a completely different line of work),
-go to google & type your company name,
-find exactly the same company whose page they were just on in the top spot,
-go somewhere else entirely.

Alternatively, if the other company is in the same line of work, your customer might not even notice they're on the wrong site and all you're doing is promoting your biggest competitor.
Thank you also for your input. See my response to adamwright as it's a fitting response to your input also.
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 03:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by steiney View Post
Thanks for the input, however the URL is just a catchy two-word phrase that people will remember and will bring them in to us as clients. The "other" domain owners are just holding the URL and trying to sell it as a "premium domain name" for $3500. So, if someone forgets to put in the hyphen and gets to their site, they'll realize they've done something wrong and figure out to use the hyphen.
I still think you want to find a catchy phrase that is available without hyphens. I don't think you even have to limit yourself to two words. mainly you probably want it to be:
- easy to remember
- easy to type correctly
...whether someone hears it or reads it.

So I think both Your-Company.com and YourCompany.us are less than ideal.
There's also a potential branding issue with these kinds of urls when you don't also own the "normal" url (YourCompany.com in this case). It paints you as small-time. Now, that's not always bad, depending on how you want to sell your brand. E.g. maybe you want to project yourself as small, scrappy, and low-cost. Or small, refined, and personalized... or as a company bucking the trend. In these cases a non-"normal" domain can help.

But to answer your actual question: IMO, Your-Company.com is a little better, in general.


p.s. ChocolateSteam.com is currently available!!!
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Old Jun 25, 2013, 03:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by iSee View Post
I still think you want to find a catchy phrase that is available without hyphens. I don't think you even have to limit yourself to two words. mainly you probably want it to be:
- easy to remember
- easy to type correctly
...whether someone hears it or reads it.

So I think both Your-Company.com and YourCompany.us are less than ideal.
There's also a potential branding issue with these kinds of urls when you don't also own the "normal" url (YourCompany.com in this case). It paints you as small-time. Now, that's not always bad, depending on how you want to sell your brand. E.g. maybe you want to project yourself as small, scrappy, and low-cost. Or small, refined, and personalized... or as a company bucking the trend. In these cases a non-"normal" domain can help.

But to answer your actual question: IMO, Your-Company.com is a little better, in general.


p.s. ChocolateSteam.com is currently available!!!
Thanks iSee. One point that's probably important to note is that our target audience isn't tech savvy people but rather commercial real estate investors that tend to be older folks, likely unaware that having a hyphen in your name is a bad thing, but still aware that having a .US TLD is weird.
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Old Jun 26, 2013, 09:43 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by steiney View Post
Thanks iSee. One point that's probably important to note is that our target audience isn't tech savvy people but rather commercial real estate investors that tend to be older folks, likely unaware that having a hyphen in your name is a bad thing, but still aware that having a .US TLD is weird.
If you know who your target audience is, then you should be asking them. Nobody here really knows how they will react, we only have opinions. Find a forum where your target audience posts and ask the same question. You may be surprised at how 'savvy' they are, btw. If they are doing internet research then do not fall for the 'older is less savvy' stereotype. If they have extensive internet experience then age is not a predictor for savvy.
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Last edited by snberk103; Jun 26, 2013 at 04:57 PM.
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Old Jun 26, 2013, 03:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by snberk103 View Post
If you know who your target audience is, then you should be asking them. Nobody here really knows how they will react, we only have opinions. Find a forum where your target audience posts and ask the same question. You may be surprised at how 'savvy' they are, btw. If they are doing internet research then do not fall for the 'older is less savvy' stereotype. If they have extensive internet experience then age is not a predictor for savvy.
Good idea. Thank you! I know age doesn't matter as much these days. I was just saying that a lot of the potential clients we will bring in from the site are not people who will likely be aware that a hyphenated URL is any less good than a non-hyphenated URL.
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Old Jun 26, 2013, 03:30 PM   #14
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Nobody here really knows how they will react, we only have opinions.
Maybe what you said came out wrong, because it sure seems condescending to the group here, and forums like this one. Oh, I completely agree with your basic sentiment to also get the opinion of the target audience to help in determining which path to take. Nobody doubts that. But please don't dismiss so easily and matter of fact the experience of professional developers and IT consultants who post here. We all cater to many clients, register domains for and often directly deal with target audiences in support situations or creating user case scenarios as part of the development process.

In other words, our advice is educated opinion, often years in the making after many painful trials and errors. We've been there, done that, more times than not making our opinions have weight and merit beyond your categorization.
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Old Jun 26, 2013, 05:08 PM   #15
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Maybe what you said came out wrong, because it sure seems condescending to the group here, and forums like this one. Oh, I completely agree with your basic sentiment to also get the opinion of the target audience to help in determining which path to take. Nobody doubts that. But please don't dismiss so easily and matter of fact the experience of professional developers and IT consultants who post here. We all cater to many clients, register domains for and often directly deal with target audiences in support situations or creating user case scenarios as part of the development process.

In other words, our advice is educated opinion, often years in the making after many painful trials and errors. We've been there, done that, more times than not making our opinions have weight and merit beyond your categorization.
I will even agree that some people here have a very educated opinion on these matters. The kind of professional experience that I would happily rely on if I was looking for advice. The issue is... how does someone posting a question here know how much experience is behind any particular response? If I'm prudent, I would have to assume any advice is given by somebody who does not know what they are talking about, unless I have researched them ahead of time.

I participate in the photography forum here, which generally is quite good, but sometimes the advice given is worse than useless. And it is impossible to know, just from reading that thread, what is good advice and what is not unless you have the experience. Which the person asking the question of course doesn't have.

So... my apologies if I have painted you with a tarred brush. I did not mean to dismiss industry experience.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 10:00 AM   #16
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I will even agree that some people here have a very educated opinion on these matters. The kind of professional experience that I would happily rely on if I was looking for advice. The issue is... how does someone posting a question here know how much experience is behind any particular response? If I'm prudent, I would have to assume any advice is given by somebody who does not know what they are talking about, unless I have researched them ahead of time.

I participate in the photography forum here, which generally is quite good, but sometimes the advice given is worse than useless. And it is impossible to know, just from reading that thread, what is good advice and what is not unless you have the experience. Which the person asking the question of course doesn't have.

So... my apologies if I have painted you with a tarred brush. I did not mean to dismiss industry experience.
Okay, just a quick note you can get bad advice from anyone, anywhere. A forum is just a digital conference room with easier access and more time dedicated to research and prose to *try* to get it right before replying. Forums are what members make of it.

One final word as to tone and I'll drop it:

Your reply to the OP was the only one that said, "you should be" which is telling the OP your way is the right way and not just an opinion, and you added "Nobody here really knows" focusing on the previous replies "here" not just any forum in general.

In contrast, looking through replies of others to the OP here I see things like "My opinion" or "IMO" or "I think" which is noticeably different than your approach, or tone. I think your comment to the OP actually best represents the precise kind of reply you despise JUST like the photography example you offered to me.

Hey, I appreciate your apology, I really do, so consider this a response to simply explain myself some more, not an attack or beating a dead horse.

You have the last word.

Cheers.

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Old Jun 27, 2013, 10:51 AM   #17
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Okay, just a quick note you can get bad advice from anyone, anywhere. A forum is just a digital conference room with easier access and more time dedicated to research and prose to *try* to get it right before replying. Forums are what members make of it.

One final word as to tone and I'll drop it:

....
You have the last word.

Cheers.

Except for one point, I have to accept everything you have said as correct. I should have been more careful with my words. I am usually better at that. And to everyone in this thread... I apologize for coming on too strong.

So, in my opinion.... if the OP knows who the target audience is, they should find a way to approach that group. It is likely that they can get a better sense of which name to use directly from the horse's mouth, as it were. The problem with asking for this kind of specialized advice on a forum such as MacRumours is filtering out who actually has experience in the field, and who doesn't. While there are some people here with loads of industry experience, there are also folks with no experience at all in this field. MacRumours is open to anybody to participate. You don't even have to like Macs to join.

I have no experience in the world of web design. But I do have some experience with surveys, and with marketing. In my opinion there is value in asking the right questions directly to the target audience. Even doing a survey of domain names of your competition or other firms catering to the same demographic could be instructive.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 10:58 AM   #18
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Can't we all just get along?

Haha! No, seriously though, I just want to say I greatly appreciate everyone's help and didn't take offense to anyone's comments.

All thoughts, suggestions, mean-spirited insults, and constructive criticism are appreciated as I try to gauge which way to go with the domain name!
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 01:34 AM   #19
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Thanks iSee. One point that's probably important to note is that our target audience isn't tech savvy people but rather commercial real estate investors that tend to be older folks, likely unaware that having a hyphen in your name is a bad thing, but still aware that having a .US TLD is weird.
I work for a marketing firm that does primarily commercial real estate work. You're right that the demographic isn't very tech savvy, and you're right that the .US domain is a bad idea.

You're wrong that the hyphenated domain is a good idea. As you said yourself, someone else owns the non-hyphenated domain; the majority of your potential clients WILL miss the hyphen and end up there.

Find something else and go that direction.
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 11:54 AM   #20
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I work for a marketing firm that does primarily commercial real estate work. You're right that the demographic isn't very tech savvy, and you're right that the .US domain is a bad idea.

You're wrong that the hyphenated domain is a good idea. As you said yourself, someone else owns the non-hyphenated domain; the majority of your potential clients WILL miss the hyphen and end up there.

Find something else and go that direction.
Well, the important fact to note is that the non-hyphenated URL takes you to a page set up by the owner trying to sell the domain name. There is no commercial real estate content or anything of any substance other than "Hey, buy this domain name". So, if someone ends up there, they will quickly realize they're in the wrong place and realize they need the hyphen.
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 12:05 PM   #21
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if someone ends up there, they will quickly realize they're in the wrong place and realize they need the hyphen.
Or they'll think your business has closed down.
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 12:36 PM   #22
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As others have stated I wouldn't use either. You may want to consider using your primary keyword as part of the domain name. So something like yourcompanyrealestate.com or whatever your primary keyword is. Google gives more weight to domain names that have the keyword in them and better yet if the keyword is at the beginning of the name, keywordyourslogan.com. Take a look at the following links. They should help in explaining some of this.

Also check out some of the links towards the bottom of this first page.
http://searchengineland.com/google-r...h-works-150113

This one is very informative.
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226884

http://mashable.com/2012/03/09/domain-names-101/

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/5...raphics/63847/

http://community.namecheap.com/blog/...e-infographic/
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 12:42 PM   #23
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Well, the important fact to note is that the non-hyphenated URL takes you to a page set up by the owner trying to sell the domain name. There is no commercial real estate content or anything of any substance other than "Hey, buy this domain name". So, if someone ends up there, they will quickly realize they're in the wrong place and realize they need the hyphen.
Have you though about a different name for your company that doesn't have a domain squatter on the website? I know several people who when trying to decide on a business name checked on domain availability as part of the decision process.

I know this isn't possible for established companies, but the OP doesn't give a clue on how old the company in question is.
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 01:57 PM   #24
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Well, the important fact to note is that the non-hyphenated URL takes you to a page set up by the owner trying to sell the domain name. There is no commercial real estate content or anything of any substance other than "Hey, buy this domain name". So, if someone ends up there, they will quickly realize they're in the wrong place and realize they need the hyphen.
It was noted. Most users will say "oh well" and go somewhere else.
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Old Jul 8, 2013, 09:44 AM   #25
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Well, the important fact to note is that the non-hyphenated URL takes you to a page set up by the owner trying to sell the domain name. There is no commercial real estate content or anything of any substance other than "Hey, buy this domain name". So, if someone ends up there, they will quickly realize they're in the wrong place and realize they need the hyphen.
So buy it! It'll presumably be over-priced, but you seem dead-set on using that domain name and it is available. Many posters on here have warned against using a hyphen in your address and opting for a different name which you seem reluctant to do. If it's really that important to keep the name then you owe it to your business to stump up and buy the domain you really need. Anything else is just cutting corners and bad for business.

chrfr makes a great point above - if someone goes to what they think is the correct site and finds the name for sale, they won't think "oh, I've obviously missed out a hyphen somewhere", they'll assume your business went under and you're selling the name on. You said yourself that your customers are not tech-savvy.

Have you done customer reaction research into that business name & into other keywords? How do you actually expect customers to find you? Google / content marketing / word of mouth? Does the domain name you choose even matter?

If you have a valid business model, expect to turn a decent profit and your potential customers absolutely LOVE that business name then having exactly the right domain name can be invaluable. Even if it costs a few thousand bucks, it should pay for itself within your first few months of trading.

If however you just have a personal attachment to that name / phrase then you need to be completely objective and think about this from your customers' point of view. People are VERY lazy online - you need to make every step as easy as possible for them. You think Amazon could hide their "buy" button and shrug it off saying "they'll figure it out"? Their sales would plummet as everyone flocked to a competitor with a site that's easier to use.

This isn't intended to sound harsh or blunt - I'm simply trying to warn you that opting for a hyphenated domain is choosing to turn away business.

Really hope that helps.
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