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Naming a Site According to Use

With so many domain names already registered, it’s not surprising that you may be finding it very difficult to come up with a “suitable” name that you are happy with. The reason for purchasing your domain name will naturally have an influence on your choice and may inspire sufficient lateral thinking to come up with an unregistered name you can secure.

At the same time, always remember that the simplest, though often much more expensive, and most satisfactory course of action may well be to buy the “ideal” domain name from its current owner. If you’re interested in pursuing the buying option, you’ll want to consult the guide to buying a domain name.

If you’d prefer to let your imagination be your guide, read on for some practical advice on finding the right domain name.

For “Personal” Use

There may be many reasons for buying a domain name for personal use. You may want a personalized website, personalized blog or personalized email accounts. Whatever your reasons, if you’re after a domain name for personal reasons, your choice will probably be based on one of the following:

Your Name

If you’ve got a very unusual first or last name, you might be able to secure it as a domain. For the vast majority of us, this option is no longer available. Think about registering your first and last names together ( or your initial(s) and last name (; If you share a common name, it’s going to be tough to find a suitable combination still available. Since it’s for personal use, consider exploring one of the other extensions such as .name, .me, .net,.org, or even some of the less familiar country extensions such as .to or .cc.

You might also try some suffix / prefix combinations –

If you share the same name as a famous person or trademark, then you face the possibility of a lawsuit over the control of a domain name based on your name, even though it’s your name! This may sound ludicrous, but there have been several well-documented cases of celebrities successfully getting “their” name back from people whose only claim to fame was being born with the same name.

Your Hobbies, Inclinations or Habits

If you are a sports fanatic (, an ardent role-player with a favorite character ( or a heavy sleeper (, you’ll probably find it easy to come up with a domain name that fits your interests or habits. If you’re a hacker, or a card-carrying Nerd, you’re likely to find much leaner pickings as so many related names have already been bought up. Nevertheless, focus on picking a domain that sounds fun to you – and one that won’t cause your cheeks to glow red with embarrassment when you share it with your friends in a bar!

If you’re thinking of starting a ‘fan’ site, beware…

A name like could get you into hot water for trademark infringement. The domain history section is full of fans having their domains taken away by the trademark owners. Everything from movies to team names are protected under trademark laws and the holders often defend those in court. Even if you do not plan to profit from the website, it still falls under trademark infringement and could get you into trouble.

Your Taste or Lack Thereof

You might want to register a domain name that makes a religious statement, personal statement, or one meant to provoke outrage. At the same time, be aware that the ownership records of domain names are a matter of public record, unless you pay for whois privacy. In other words, anyone can find out who owns the specific domain names and where they live.

The Existing Web Site

If you have been running a successful website for some time, you may wish to move away from a sub-directory provided by an ISP or that free blogging site, and boldly stake your claim on a small corner of cyberspace with your own domain name.

The choice of domain name will usually be obvious, as it should derive directly from the title page of the website you are running. For instance, if your web site relates to golf and is called “The 19th Hole”, your choice must inevitably narrow itself down to a limited selection such as “”, “”, “” and so on. In many cases, the domain will already be registered and you will either need to come up with an alternative name or purchase the existing name from its current owner.

The Company Site

If you are purchasing one or more domain names on behalf of a company, there are several issues that you will need to consider.

  • The domain name may be purchased to protect a product name, brand name, or trademark.
  • You may wish to associate a generic word with your product.
  • You may be looking for a domain name for your company’s web site.
  • You may also wish to have one or more dedicated domain names to provide unique e-mail addresses to certain divisions or branches of your business, or for specific products and services.

These issues are considered below:

Protecting Trademarks

An extremely topical issue, and currently a highly contentious one, is the protection or lack of protection that a trademark or registered brand name affords companies seeking to register a domain name.

There has been a lot of bad press about cybersquatters registering popular brand names, trademarks and company names, and then holding companies to “virtual ransom” with demands for exorbitant payment in order to cede possession of the domain name. Some cases include McDonalds, MTV and Kaplan, who fought for the rights to their related domain names.  Possibly mention the WWF case which is unique.

While no binding resolution has been reached on this issue, some preliminary conclusions can be drawn.

  1. Firstly, a trademark or similar device does not seem to offer full protection on the Internet.
  2. Secondly, a majority of companies appear to have been successful in suits to recover their domain names.
  3. Thirdly, ICANN prohibits the willful registration of obvious trademarks.
  4. Fourth, problems are compounded if two companies with the same name, both of which have been trading for a long time, lay claim to the same domain name.

From the above, it would seem that, while it may be possible to “repossess” a domain name, the burden of proof rests squarely on the company challenging the legitimacy of the original owner and sizable legal fees may well be incurred in the process of reclaiming the domain name. For more information, refer to our legal issues section.

It would therefore make good commercial sense to register as many domain names as possible, for all combination’s of your trademarks, brand names and the like, that you would like protected. While the short-term costs incurred will be low, just the initial domain registration fee, the long-term costs of fighting a legal battle over the ownership of a domain name could prove far more onerous.

Associating a Generic Word with Your Product

The commercial benefits of linking a generic word with your product in the minds of potential customers do not need spelling out here. Proctor & Gamble is just one of the companies that have gone for a blanket approach, registering hundreds of generic domain names relating to all aspects of personal hygiene and health care. You may be too late to snap up obvious sites like or, but a little thought into alternative appellations for your products or services may well bear fruit. These alternative domains can be linked easily to your main web site in order to funnel in more customers.

Creating Unique e-mail Addresses

While you may be satisfied with a centralized e-mail system and addresses in the form , there may be attractive benefits to be gained from creating original domain names to which e-mail addresses can be linked. For instance, if you are in the car servicing business, the domain name “” could yield potential e-mail addresses such as “”, “” etc. Businesses such as travel agents are blessed with countless options, such as “reservations@…”, “tickets@…”, “late-breaks@…” and more. You can then set up an auto-responder to mail information directly to interested customers.

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