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The mysteries and the future of Web sites

Web sites have endured a hard struggle, and somehow survived where other traditional marketing tools and old principals failed. Now the same sites and domain names must face harsher realities once again, all to ensure high visibility and exposure. Today without visibility, on e-commerce, Web sites are simply doomed. While billions of Web pages are poised for the right match, they only clash into the billions of surfing customers and simply flood each other. Millions of splashy logos with billions of expensive Web pages are all deeply submerged in this ocean of e-commerce. Customers all over the world are amused as they watch Web sites struggle to attract attention with a zillion choices per second. Their mysterious behavior on search engines and the role of alpha structures in domain names is now a very big question.

During boom time, a million domain names were registered a day. In those days, the most unusual, silly and totally dysfunctional names were the sought-after icons of get-rich-quick dreamers. Ninety-nine percent of such names failed. Exhausted or expired names have now disappeared. While ICANN and the domain registrars wonder about the disappearance of continual registrations and renewals, the real question now is the fate of the millions of remaining business domain names actively used on global e-commerce today.

From its inception, when the genius founders doodled on a napkin and came up with the big five suffixes: .com, .net, .gov, .edu, .mil and .org, and declared www. as the one and only key to cyberspace, they changed business forever. This weird and strange thing called a domain name, costing pennies in comparison to a trademark registration, was often left to webmasters or junior staff to play with. Today, if a domain-name issue is not being dealt with at a senior boardroom level, then behold the quick demise of that corporation, from marketing to branding and just about everything else it does. A URL is the only key that opens the gate to a corporation, its products, images and identities. There is no other way to bypass the URL in order to access a Web site. As old-fashioned, print-driven advertising and branding has taken the back seat, the marketing and survival strategies for these new cyber-branding issues are all on the forefront.

Five new magical skills necessary for survival

What are alpha-structures and why are they killing great Web sites? You must be able to decipher how and why your business names are composed and structured; only then can you achieve your marketing goal. This process of fine-tuned analysis is not a simple routine for English majors or linguists, rather it’s a science and a fine art. Names must go through a critical analysis under the laws of corporate naming. One must determine the size, personality and length, plus the choices of alpha character, as each name emulates its own unique signals. Are your names too short or too long, do they have the right number of letters, do they fit the personality of your company? Does your customer recognize your desired message in that name? This skill is a must for all marketing and branding teams, and is essential for corporate image management. The complexities of e-commerce and massive duplication of similar and identical names on the Web have made this a tactical exercise. General branding exercises are not naming analyses. Establish a review and get all your names properly analyzed; this in not expensive at all compared to what is at stake. Use professionally designed training available via webinars and executive workshops.
What is “search ability” and why can it keep you in oblivion? You can check your name’s visibility in a second by entering it on Google in quotes. It makes a huge difference where you are on a search page. Are your names popping up on the first page, somewhere after 10 pages or nowhere to be found? Study search-engine optimization in great detail. It’s now a brand new frontier. Either your customers can find you easily or you’re simply lost. No amount of money can create a bounce to your expensive Web sites or your big-budget branding in these times, except the alpha-structure of your URLs. Only an in-depth analysis will point to the problems and reveal methods to fix them.

What is “global domination” and how do you expand your reach? How many domain names do you have and why? The art of cyber-branding now demands sharper skills on domain registrations and their Web site management. Multiple domain names create multiple problems in multiple markets. There are rules to be followed. The power of e-commerce is all hidden by URLs, as there is no other way to get to a page of your site. Great opportunities are missed by not having a sophisticated naming system for global cyber branding. Have a proper system in place to manage global complexity. There are too many fancy services and most are flaky, faceless and without references yet offering strange global registrations and localization -- so be aware.

What are “linguistics” and why do they embarrass your international customers? Whatever you call a company in one country can mean something entirely different when it circumnavigates around the globe. How do you tackle such languages issues? Acquire skills and a deeper understanding of global communications. Even if you’re a regional player, your sites are still visible and exposed to the
entire globe. Cyber branding is an extremely global phenomenon.

What is “mindsharing” and how do you win new customers? Mindshare is more important than marketshare. Customers must allow a name brand to settle in their minds before they give you cash. Market positioning is more critical than profit maximization. The human mind gravitates toward
good names; those that are end-user friendly and trustworthy. With millions of silly and randomly structured names, the mind becomes overwhelmed. So, what are good, catchy names and how do you procure them? It becomes easy once you have the right expertise. Go online and bring in professional webinars; this is the most cost-effective way to make e-learning a possibility. This will also bring harmony to your branding while dramatically increasing your overall marketing performance.

Big branding has gone for a big sleep, and there is no need to wake it up. Now the most cost-effective way to handle your cyber-image is by using new set of skills and new techniques to turbo-charge your overall cyber-marketing. The future will be pretty clear when planned today.

Naseem Javed author Naming for Power and also Domain Wars, recognized as world authority on global Name Identities and Domain Issues, introduced The Laws of Corporate Naming in the eighties and also founded ABC Namebank, a consultancy he established in New York & Toronto a quarter century ago.

The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, & do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.

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