Portable Digital Dictation Changes Everything
Blawg Review #109

The Star in the Address Bar

Domain names and trademarks are properties that share a common bond in a successfully marketed product. Once your marketing department, or whomever, selects a trademark to be registered, you should immediately move to grab onto the corresponding Domain Name. Availability of key phrases or words should even be a factor in selecting the trademark itself, because that mark is often the only thing that the consumer has when they log on to find your product.

But what happens when that trademark is unregistered, but the URL is already in use by a third party in good faith? Does it hold enough value to merit purchase? Is spending thousands of dollars for the rights to a few words in the address bar really worth it?

While your first instinct may suggest otherwise, it is important to realize the significance of the title that reads in your visitors' address bars when considering purchasing the registration. For your customers, the easiest way to find your product is with the internet, and unless it is easy to match a product with a website, you lose that advantage.

The truth is that everyday domain name titles often see higher traffic than unique or custom ones - and if you are hoping to take advantage of internet traffic, you should have a URL to help that happen. This is because it is easy for your customers to find and remember your site's familiar name in the mess that is the internet.

When it comes to making the decision to purchase the rights to a domain name, you can, in a way, consider it much like you would a decision to purchase a star endorsement. Yes, the endorsement will turn the heads of your customers, and it will make it easier to identify your product - but such attention will come at a cost. Star endorsements get very pricey - just like the price-tag of a popular domain name.

So what do Michael Jordan and Techlawyer.com have in common? It all comes down to their ability to be recognized and remembered. And if you want to tap into that advantage, oftentimes you will have to pay a price.


Javier Marti

>regarding star endorsements

Domain names are, in my opinion, much more valubable, stable, and pose less risks as an investment, for a brand, small business, or individual that want to promote any kind of product or service.

**A star endorsement won't last in time, a domain will**

A good domain name is a more solid investment, that only has to be renewed at a negligible annual cost. Renewing a domain name may cost you 10/15 dollars of today. Renewing a contract with Tiger Woods "may" cost you a little bit more...

**A start endorsement contract needs to be re-negotiated** If the "star" is now more popular, you'll have to pay more for their services, and probably make a new campaign according to take advantage of new events surrounding the star

**A star is tied to you only for the lenght of the contract** Nothing stops them from advertising your competitor's product next year, unless prevented in the contract. And that clause in the brand's favour will necessarily make the transaction more expensive for the brand.

**A star endorsement puts your brand's image at the mercy of the stars actions**
Imagine that you make a deal with a certain model/actor/boxer that is at the top of his game right now. What happens if he does something really stupid, as it has happened in the past? (cocaine, wife beating...)
Your brand loses the whole campaign, that has to be taken off the air immediately. And back to square one. Look for a new star, spend millions again, do everything in a hurry...and still you won't catch up with your competitors for a few years maybe. A star making you look good is a real big and costly issue.
A domain name will never "do" something stupid.

**A star is forgotten, a good domain name is always remembered**
A good domain name will retain its value as a common expression that people search for. Would you prefer to pay 25 million dollars for having "[insert famous star here]" advertise your product today or would you rather spend 25 million buying the "chocolate" or "wine" or "cheapholidays" domain names?
Generation after generation, domain names will continue to hold its value. I don't think "wines" is going away anytime soon in out common human psyche.

**Star endorsements are a never ending vicious circle for the brand**
Once you hired a star, you need to hire another one next year, and another one the year after that...in order to keep your brand fresh. You need to keep updating your stars with whoever is in fashion. Today it may be Penelope Cruz. Yesterday was Claudia Shiffer. But certainly tomorrow's stars won't be the ones of today.
And every year, the celebrities will charge you more for their services (example: value of endorsement contracts paid to David Beckham in the last few years)
In a celebrity-oriented world, the cost of hiring anyone, no matter how popular, has increased overall. Singers, footballers, actors...no matter their trade, the market pays millions of dollars today. This was unthinkable 20 years ago, and keeps on going up.

Of course there are uncertainties regarding the future value of domain names, like there are uncertainties in every other active industry.

But no matter what the future holds, at present, in my opinion, there is absolutely no comparison possible between hiring a star for a finite period of time or buying a domain name for a much longer period of time, for the same money.

It makes more sense even if we have to pay more upfront for it.

It is a much better investment, since the brand is associated forever in the mind of the consumer with something stable, that doesn't get old, and that is not prone to make your company look bad anytime soon.
Simplicity, beauty, and money.
That's what a good domain name brings to your brand.
Can a star bring the same thing? How long for? At what cost?


Javier Marti

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