July 22, 2017 (Sat)
See how my friend Fale created a globally branded domain name
Image courtesy of FaleLodge.com
On May 6 I published the article "How to create a global brand .com with only $10". The article describes how startups lacking funds can register a globally branded domain name at very low cost. Recently, I had an opportunity to put this concept into practice and I want to share this experience with you.
My friend Fale is a kind, cheerful, and humorous woman. She has travelled to many countries and even lived in some of them. Recently, Fale decided to start a B&B business for overseas tourists. This will allow her to do what she enjoys and also create a new source of income.
When she called us, most of the preparation work were finished but she still needed a business name and a website. By this time, she had invested most of her money in furniture purchase, interior design, and garden makeover. No fund was allocated for domain name and website.
I was concerned, so I asked her to come to see us. In fact, Fale's problem may be common among startups where CEOs generally do not understand the importance and power of domain name. In this internet age, the first impression of a company is often determined by its domain name and design of its website. Therefore, a good domain name is the foundation of good reputation.
My first suggestion to Fale was to give up country extension and instead focus on .com which is favored by major corporations across the world. The use of .com enables even a small company to look much bigger and established. As common single-word .com names can no longer be registered but must be bought for high prices, my second suggestion was to create a brand using two words.
First, we started the domain name generator (see May 6 post for details). Because Fale's business is B&B, we used "bnb" as the keyword. When we looked at the names suggested by the generator, Fale liked "Elbnb.com" which is short and appropriate. However, after saying the name a few times, we realized that the name sounds like Airbnb, which is a giant in the B&B industry. Using Elbnb.com may invite lawsuit from Airbnb in the future.
In the end, we simply gave up the keyword "bnb". Instead, while studying the generated domain names, we found the word "lodge" which may mean "temporary residence"; there are many hotel names incorporating this word in their names. In the process, we also came up with the idea of "personal name + industry" as a domain name. In this case, "Fale + Lodge" has only 9 letters so it is still considered a short name.
We checked and found out FaleLodge.com was available. After a few minutes of discussion, we decided we liked this name, went to a domain name registrar, and registered the domain name. Below is what we did on that day.
Brand: Fale Lodge
Domain name: FaleLodge.com (also globally branded!)
Cost: US$ 9.74
Time spent: 2 hours
Through Fale's domain name experience, I hope startup CEOs can understand that it's still possible even today to acquire a globally branded domain name at low cost! (I introduced the term "branded domain name" earlier to refer to a domain name which (1) completely matches the brand name, and (2) uses either .com or the country extension of the company. A globally branded domain name is simply .com.)
Note: This post is based on one of my Chinese articles written with a China-centric perspective.