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Testing corporate names on the Web


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By Naseem Javed
Special to the Tribune
Published February 26, 2002

If you’re going to go through the trouble of maintaining a corporate Web site, you better make sure people can find it.

Here are some fast and easy ways to determine if your business’ Internet presence needs a push:

  • First, look up your Web site address in google.com, widely considered the Internet’s most robust search engine. If the results turn up more than 100 other sites using your corporate name or portions of it, rest assured that consumers won’t find your site unless it lands at the top of the results page. There are ways to stay on top of your site’s ranking, and you would be smart to learn more about them.

  • Second, check your site’s name on domainsurfer.com. Enter your domain name here, and all other registered domain names using all or portions of your name will pop up. The number of look-and-sound-alikes might surprise you. Consider this a reality check because at the end of the day, your domain name must be a unique, one-of-a-kind title that is also easy to remember. Otherwise, you may as well write blank checks to your competitors.

  • Third, check your domain name on networksolutions.com. Look for the “ID Names” link. The site conducts a search in up to 40 countries so that you can see how many others are using your name overseas. You can also check other suffixes such as .biz, .info and .net to see if there are opportunities to expand your Web presence –- or if, perhaps, it would be prudent to try to buy someone else’s license.

    If problems –- including duplication, a lack of clarity, an overwhelming number of look-alike businesses –- crop up, your first priority should be to fix the name of your business. Perhaps another name for your company or product really is in order. Face it: No amount of fancy jargon or branding maneuvers will solve your problem, and no amount of advertising dollars will generate extra hits if your company or product has a lousy name. So, hang onto your marketing budget and change the name first.

    Unfortunately, domain names are often the most neglected and misunderstood components of the corporate communication strategy. Too often they are left at the discretion of a Webmaster or trademark clerk. To properly organize domain name structure, one needs an internal mandate under a corporate communications strategy and the right budget -- rather than a mere $30 registration fee.

    Remember that hits are created only when somebody simply remembers a name, keys it in and gets right to the Web site.

    Naseem Javed, founder of ABC Namebank International, specializes in corporate nomenclature. He is also the author of Naming for Power.

    Copyright © 2002, Chicago Tribune


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