The internet is a digital ocean …
When users come to surf, your domain name tells them if you’re a shark or prey.
If you look like an imposter, you’re definitely prey.
Just another small-timer drowning in a sea of sameness, fighting to stand out, but will only succeed in getting eaten by stronger, bigger and better branded competition.
The barrier to entry to launching things online is becoming lower and lower, especially now with AI, which is why there’s so much garbage on the internet from fake entrepreneurs, so I gotta ask …
Do you plan on launching a business online? … Do you plan on it being a big deal? … Do you plan on making some serious money?
If so, then you probably don’t want to look like an imposter.
If potential customers see you as “the real deal” and trust your brand, you’re more likely to make some dough 🤑.
( and if you’re providing some major value, you’ll be making some serious dough )
Here’s five things you don’t want to do with your domain name, that’ll make you look like an imposter …
Your Domain Is A Non-Com
Dotcom is the default of the internet.
If your brand is running on a non-com like .CO, .IO, .XYZ, etc. … you’re already looking like an imposter.
.COM = Company or commercial, makes sense and it sounds good. It’s the default of the internet. The most recognized domain extension and it dominates the mindshare of all internet users.
.CO = Stupid, looks like a typo of .COM – a wannabe extension for imposters. Using this extension makes potential customers think you forgot the M in COM and they’ll end up going to your competitor’s website instead. This makes your advertising look incompetent.
.IO = A ccTLD for the British Indian Ocean Territory. Techies have tried to rebrand it as input/output or “internet operation”. It looks and sounds weird as an ending for a domain name and most internet users have no clue that it even exist.
.XYZ = What the hell is a .XYZ? The domain extension is part of your branding, so what does BrandName.XYZ even mean? … Does that sound good to you?
The above is a short list of some of the most popular non-com, imposter-style extensions being used, but there’s over 1,600 other domain extensions that don’t matter.
99% of Fortune 500 companies are on a dotcom and when someone hears your brand name and wants to find you online, they’ll immediately think to type in your business name with a .COM behind it.
Dotcom is so well-ingrained in the minds of the masses, if you run your business on a non-com, you’re instantly viewed as an imposter – a wannabe.
You might get a pass in two cases – you’re on a .NET or a .ORG, and that’s only because they’re the two most recognized domain extensions after dotcom.
If there’s an existing business running on the dotcom you want, so you register the .NET version, you might not get the side-eye (maybe). What would work in your favor is if your business had a brand personality that fits the .NET extension, like you’re operating a “network” of some kind, hence .NET.
The same for If you’re running a non-profit charitable organization on a .ORG, then your organization (.ORG) is all good.
There’s a lot of other variables to take into consideration when going with a non-com, like .NET or .ORG – I’ll go into that in another post, but 99% of the time you need to be on a .COM if you want your brand to look trustworthy and be taken seriously, especially in big business.
Your Domain Has A Hyphen, Or Worse …
It’s Got Two Or More Hyphens!
A couple of things will make me not trust you …
1. You have two first names 😄.
2. You have a hyphen in your domain name.
2.5 You’ve got two or more hyphens in your domain name!
A hyphen in your domain name screams IMPOSTER. It says Wannabe. It says I wish my name was something else.
You’re literally telling people that you were late to the party and couldn’t get the REAL domain without the hyphen and you wanted to use that particular keyword or brand name so bad, that you added a hyphen to it.
And if you have a 3 to 4-word or even longer domain, with 2 or more hyphens in it … wow … you really look desperate!
This makes your brand look like a weak, unsuccessful, copycat – is that the image you’re going for?
Does a domain with imposter characteristics make you look trustworthy or more like a phishing site?
Also, when you have hyphens in your domain name, you’ll always have a percentage of people who’ll say, hmmm … I wonder who’s on the REAL domain (without the hyphen).
And they will go to it, i.e. visiting your competitor, who’s address is better than yours and more than likely has a better product or service than you.
THINK: A customer does a product search and both you and your competitor show up on the 1st page of Google with the same business name …
YOU: Business – Name•com
Who looks like the imposter?
Obvious Point: Hyphens are for wannabes.
Your Domain Has Too Many Words
Are you adding words like get, try, we are, etc. in your domain name, because the one you really want is already taken?
Yeah, that’s not smart. It makes you look small-time … like an imposter, like a wannabe.
And potential customers WILL go to the root version of the name in dotcom.
We’re living in an ever-increasing digital world, so whoever owns the exact-match root version of a particular brand name in dotcom …
They’re considered to be the “real owner” of that brand name, in the eyes, hearts and minds of consumers.
Here’s an example …
If a potential customer Googles “widgets” and this is what they see …
Who really owns the mindshare on “Widgets”?
Who looks the biggest?
Who looks the most trustworthy?
Who’s more likely to get the bulk of the traffic and probably ALL of the sales?
Here’s the strength of acquiring the best root version of your brand name in dotcom:
It puts you in the dominant position of owning the mindshare on that name and makes anyone else trying to use it, look like an imposter.
It’s so powerful, that a direct competitor or even a company in a different category, can secure the exact-match dotcom AFTER you’ve already been using the name …
And they can make YOU look like an imposter.
Especially if they own the social media handles as well.
The internet is a digital ocean.
When users come to surf, your domain name tells them if you’re a shark or prey.– The Name Guy™
Your Domain Is A Hack
Are you trying to get cute with your domain name by using hacks?
Hacks can be adding extra words like get, try, we are, etc., but in this particular case, I’m talking about using ccTLDs to create an alternative version of a domain, because you couldn’t (or won’t) get the dotcom.
For example …
Your name is Tim and you’re about to launch a personal brand.
You know it would be badass to launch on Tim.com, but a brand already exists there, or it’s for sale, but you can’t afford the domain (or don’t want to pay what it’s worth), so …
You decide to go with T.im, which would be registering the letter T on the .IM domain extension, which is the Country Code Top Level Domain for the Isle Of Man.
Does that make you look cool, because you have a one letter domain now? – NO!
It makes you look like a “fake Tim”.
A guy who wasn’t badass enough to get the real Tim.com
A guy who’s desperate to be something he’s not – Tim.com.
You look like an imposter – A wannabe.
And if you’re trying to be a global brand, how many people outside the Isle of Man, even know that there’s a .IM extension?
Even people who live in the Isle of Man know that .COM is the default of the internet – that it’s the most recognized domain extension and they respect it over their own ccTLD.
So don’t get cute. Be the real deal or nothing!
Your Branded Domain Is For Sale
THINK: A customer does a product or brand name search and this is what they see on the 1st page of Google …
Domain Marketplace: BrandName•com is For Sale
Your Competitor: TryBrandName•com
At this point, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know what’ll happen next …
Potential customers will start to click on multiple links because more than one looks relevant to their search – hopefully one of them is yours.
If there’s a lot of other direct competitors trying to use the same name – the more there are, the worse this looks for you, because now you not only look like an imposter, but you also look like a copycat – an unoriginal person/company who wasn’t even creative enough to come up with a cool name that you could actually own and use to stand out out from the crowd.
When potential customers see not only are there multiple other businesses using the same brand name – they also see that none of you are smart enough or successful enough, to even purchase the exact-match root version of your brand name.
That makes you look really, really bad in the eyes of a potential customer.
You’re literally telling people that your business is not making any real money, because if it was, you’d own your exact-match domain name that is clearly for sale, for all to see – and/or you’re telling people that you’re not smart enough to know that you need to own the exact-match .COM of your brand name.
You know when this really makes you look incompetent? … When you’re a branding agency who’s doing this.
True Story …
One day I was doing a Google search in reference to some branding terms and came across a branding agency that has a 2-word domain name with a hyphen in it – that was red flag number one.
So of course I immediately wonder who owns the domain name without the hyphen.
I look it up and a domain marketplace has it listed for sale for only $3,000 and it has the purchase option of a one-year payment plan for less than $300 a month!
Now think about what’s going through the mind of a potential customer who sees this …
You’re a “branding agency” with a hyphen in your domain name – don’t you know better than that?
I’m looking for an expert and you don’t look like one.
I don’t know if I can trust all these “skills” your website brags about.
How are you charging high-end prices for your branding services, but can’t even afford a $3,000 domain name with a one-year payment plan?
Are you really making any money? – If you are, you must barely be getting by.
Do people even trust you enough to pay these prices?
You claim to have all these bigwig clients but don’t even own your brand name online?
I don’t think I can trust you and your “services” don’t seem worth the money.
What’s crazy is that the company I’m talking about actually has a decent name, so the domain that’s for sale is obviously a good domain name … AND at $3-Grand, it’s a steal!
But alas, they’re clueless and look like imposters and therefore won’t be as successful as they could be (if at all), because of what’s being perceived by potential customers. (see 1 and 2 above)
Bottom line …
If you’re bragging to potential customers about all your skills and accolades, but you’re out in these digital streets looking like an imposter … get your act together – your image should match your mouth!
If potential customers see you as “the real deal” and trust your brand, you’re more likely to be successful and make some dough 🤑.
Real entrepreneurs and large companies that are dominating the marketplace already know this, so follow suit if you plan on competing, especially for big money.
Your branding and trust online starts with your domain name and a high-profile domain name can make even a tiny business built from your basement, look like a billion dollar behemoth that has strength and stability!
Choose an authentic exact-match domain that’s short, fast to type, easy to spell and easy to remember.
Your customers will love that … so will your investors.
— The Name Guy™