Long Domain Names + Short Attention Spans = Dumb Move
So what's behind the furor over long domain names? Nothing much, unless you count the honey pot of profit for the folks who register and sell domain names.
In the beginning, way back in the mid-Nineties, the most popular domain names were short and sweet. Why? Because we all wanted an URL (Uniform Resource Locator) that was easy to remember. Now all the good, short domain names are taken. Solution? Since December 4, 1999, the domain name character limit has been bumped from 23 to 67.
I've got a question, what 67 character name is easy to remember? Not many, unless it's a nursery rhyme or song. And even then, how many people will agree on spelling? The longer the phrase the more difficult it necessarily becomes to remember, let alone type correctly. The decline in the accurate use of the English language couldn't be in a steeper dive. Time was misspelling a word was cause to fall on your sword to spare your family the embarrassment. Now most people could care less: "Spelling is for nerds, I just wanna win the lotto." It's the acceleration of stupidity mating with the uniform decline of standards. And these folk’s attention spans won't pass the long domain name test either.
And once the long domain names start to become scarce, parasitic profiteers will undoubtedly find a way to register umlauts and other esoteric punctuation that will further lower accuracy. Do we really want our prospect deciphering the exact syntax for the equivalent of a seven to eight word sentence?
C'mon, now. This is monumentally stupid marketing.
What's that you say? They'll see the exact spelling of your URL plastered on your DM piece or crawling across the bottom of your TV ad? Or they'll hear it on your radio spots? Sure they will. Most contact information is displayed or heard for a spastically short, squirrel-on-crack time frame. And we're hoping prospects will snap out of their carbohydrate-induced stupor long enough to write down your www.britneyspearsvshillaryclintonringtonescontest2008.com domain name?
Cha, ya’ know vaht? I don't think so. And my phony URL above comes in at only 49 characters.
Some have emailed me pointing out most web browsers use type matching or completion to remember URLs. True enough. But you're still forcing your prospect to remember your machine gun burst of letters and write it down the first time they hear or see it.
"We don't do radio or television, it's all DM. That means our customers have our URL right in front of them to copy." Whoo, boy. With nearly everyone sorting their DM over the waste basket, you really think you’re going to get your prospect to carry your piece around like it's their driver's license?
Others have said long domain names allow a richer set of keywords to be used. The thinking being that by utilizing more keywords in your URL you'll snag higher placement on search engines. Once again, nope. There are far more effective ways to enhance your site's rankings with keywords than by choosing an URL that's over seven words long.
Remember folks, this is short attention span theater. If all our prospects were Albert Einstein, then I might agree. But as studies indicate, our prospects are often a closer relation to another Stein, Frankenstein.
This long domain thing will create a second tier on the Web. There will be the top rung, those who snagged short, memorable URLs, then there will be what I call the "Alphabet Tier." Aside from the obvious difference, the most glaring difference will be the incredible profitability chasm between the two.
Don't buy into this long domain name horse manure. It's largely just another profit center for the fleas and ticks who stand to profit from URL registration and hoarding. Little if any value is delivered to the buyer in this deal. In fact, it probably guarantees you'll lose money simply because your target will become frustrated trying to remember and enter your exact URL. And frustrated prospects do not become customers. They become your competitor's customers.
Here's what Rod Aries of WebPosition fame has to say: "Are long domains really preferable to shorter domains? For your primary Web site domain, something short, memorable, and easy to spell is generally preferred. However, something too short such as using acronyms or abbreviations are often difficult to remember and convey. You want to find a happy medium, particularly if you plan to advertise the domain name on TV, radio, or in print ads."
Got an alternate opinion? Email the WordSleuth at: DomainPain@WordSleuth.com We'll arm wrestle for it, okay? But be forewarned, I lift weights as easily as I do words.