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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

When Registering Domains, Think Big

OK, so I don't want to rain on the parade of the domain registrars who have a national newspaper campaign running to encourage Canadian companies to register a ".ca". But here's the thing about the messaging ("Get the domain name you really want" - "Avoid getting lost in the dot com shuffle."). It's kind of a load of hooey.

Personally, I have a real problem with the .ca.

It reinforces the tendency of Canadian businesses to think "provincially." Much of the time, you are in a global and definitely a North American market, even if you didn't realize it yet.

It's true that in some markets, a .com is a liability. Using a .com in France, research shows, will lower clickthrough rates on paid search ads, and no doubt conversion rates to sales.

However, Canada is not France.

We can easily compromise on this, anyway. And the beauty of it is, the compromise involves buying *more* domains, so that surely has to please the registrars. Buy the .ca. Buy the .com. Buy the .co.uk if you can. Buy a bunch of variations and backup plans on your .com and .ca, if your business is very important to you.

But whatever you do, don't assume a .ca is going to be a good domain for your business, long term. Do not assume that *any* domain that you cannot keep and scale with for 5-10 years is a good domain for your business.

The "dot com shuffle"? That's a good one. I hadn't heard that one! Buy the .com and the .ca together. I implore you!

Domain names are good. I own many. Few of these are .ca's.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Saturday, January 12, 2008

Parked Domain Traffic: Does It Convert?

For years many of us in the advertiser camp have yelled about the fact that vendors like Google AdWords lump domain traffic in with "search" traffic without giving you much control over the situation. A lot of this was justifiable yelling - but as with much about the content networks (and stuff that should be in the content network but was in the past classified as search), today's reality seems to have improved.

Commenters at John Battelle's SearchBlog (he's soliciting info on the domain field because of an upcoming talk he's giving at a gathering called DomainFest) are offering the usual analysis of the domainers cabal, but they haven't brought you up to date about this, Google's newly transparent (in beta) classification of contextual traffic types. Not only will they be allowing advertisers to exclude domain traffic, but maybe more importantly, they're exposing conversion rates on various traffic types at the campaign level.

On anything I've seen so far (again, in beta), the conversion rates on things like parked domains and error pages were not as bad as expected; sometimes, they were better than the account performance as a whole. Why? It must have something to do with aggressive filtering as part of Google's "proactive" stance against fraudulent and suspicious clicks. Whatever -- if the number fits, wear it. The new era of transparency should continue to distance the major online ad providers from the "bad old days."

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Daily Brain Dump

Random tidbits:

- I get a bit unsettled when someone goes up a level of generality in their domain naming. Like, "we managed to snag a more generic domain name than you'd expect - so look at us!! and be prepared to be thrilled for us in six years when we flip that sucker for $1,650!!" The Keele Street Christian Church proudly displays their domain name, www.keelestreet.ca, in the front window. Hey, shouldn't that be keelestreetchristianchurch.ca, or keelestreetchurch.ca? At the very least, make it geographically informative, like keele-and-annette.ca, by putting the cross street in there.

- Topica, the email campaign management service, has a beautiful graphic on its home page. A huge 3-d "2007." Beautiful. Folks, it's March 21.

- It isn't very hard to find great Toronto restaurant reviews, if you know the main sites (Chowhound, Toronto Life, etc.) that purvey reviews. These will generally come up easily in a search. And if you're a good searcher and know the type of food you want, or the neighborhood name (Queen West, for example), you can even kind of do a themed or geographic search, in a way. But as for Google Local and the other blue-chip "local" and "map" based search engines, currently they aren't doing a very thorough job of aggregating this information. No doubt in a couple of years this problem will be solved and the maps and results will be intuitively and comprehensively populated - but for now, knowledge of your favorite sources (Toronto Life, NOW Magazine, Chowhound, etc.) and how they divvy up the city or leverage the community for recommendations, is the only path to foodie satisfaction. In case you were wondering, for dinner tomorrow night I'll be at one of: Parsi Restaurant, Jules, or Czehoski's. Vote now!

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




Thursday, March 15, 2007

Satan Loves Splenda

Seth's right. If people really want to be negative, how can you stop them?

It's just an ajaxwhois away from finding the availability of SplendaIsTheDevil.com, SatanLovesSplenda.com, or whatever you like.

BTW, Santa loves Splenda also. A lot of people both love and hate Splenda.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




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