Vanity Branding: Matching Domain Names, and Local Phone and Toll-Free Numbers.

Reading Time | 8 Minutes

I find my daily travels to provide me with much of the content I regularly share and engage with you via this website.

I keep my eyes on alert as I drive or ride around, especially taking long trips like the one that’s coming up this week.

Nevertheless, I see many forms of advertisements and quite a few companies using a wide variety of domain names.

From signs to vehicle wraps to windows to billboards to tv commercials, domains have become a way of life and a vital part of business for a plethora of businesses, especially businesses with a local market focus.

In my most recent trip into the office one morning last week, I encountered a pickup truck with some writing on the back of it.

As usual, I attempt to understand what exactly the pickup truck was advertising based on it’s tailgate.

In the upper left hand corner of the tailgate, there was a logo and the name of an exterminating company that read: Bulwark Exterminating.

In the center of the tailgate there was the following text with a guy pointing to it positioned on the far right: Call 512-GOT-BUGS.

And right beneath it in smaller green text a domain name read: www.512GOTBUGS.COM.

512-Got-Bugs.com

My initial thoughts about 512GotBugs.com

When I initially saw the domain, I kind of wrote it off as a bad domain because it was alphanumeric.

If you don’t know, domain names that include numbers and alphabets typically don’t pass the radio test.

For this reason, I wrote off 512GotBugs.com when I saw the domain as advertised on the pickup truck’s tailgate.

I mean, I would never think to type a domain that concatenates an area code with a keyword or keywords.iPhone Keypad or Dial Pad

Then, I’m not a fan of vanity numbers that don’t put the numbers in parentheses.

After all, what if I’m using a phone that doesn’t have the corresponding alphabets associated with the keypad or dial numbers?

But then reality hit me as I approached the next light, which was red at the time, and observed 7 out of 11 drivers using smartphones.

A person using a smartphone has alphabets associated with the keypad numbers when they dial.

Not only that, but they Siri and can speak and request business services via phrases, numbers, domains, etc.

So not knowing that the vanity number 512-GOT-BUGS translates to 512-468-2847 is a moot point.

Vanity Number Domain Names are a Clever Marketing Alternative

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized just how clever using a matching domain with its corresponding local phone or toll-free number for many reasons.

It’s clever to use such a domain because even if you couldn’t remember the exact numeric digits, you can be reminded by spelling out the vanity number on your phone.

Plus, vanity number domains tend to visually stand out amongst plain jane keyword and branded domains.

Think about that from an existing or potential customer perspective.

If you weren’t forward thinking enough back in the last 80’s to 90’s to register domains like PestServices.com, PestControl.com, GotBugs.com, KillInsects.com or whatever your line of business is, then using vanity number domains is a clever alternative for boosting search rankings too.

When to consider using vanity number domain names

As it relates to a local business, which often times has a large number of businesses vying to own a specific markets domain names, maybe your business didn’t snag the geo service domains for its respective area.

For example, what would you do if you were starting a business today and couldn’t own AustinPest.com, AustinPestControl.com, or AustinPestServices.com as your businesses digital present?

Outside of registering and using your businesses name as it’s domain name, I encourage you to consider a vanity number domain.

However, the catch with this approach is that you MUST also own the vanity number and domain, which often times is much like owning domains: you had to be first and likely decades in the past.

Yes, local businesses are using vanity number domains.

I know you’re thinking to yourself that 512GotBugs.com is only one company out of thousands in the Austin, Texas market that uses such a domain.

I thought the same thing until I encountered the following businesses blindly typing 512 while appending the following keywords and .com in a web browser:

  • 512GarageDoors.com
  • 512Dentist.com
  • 512Plumber.com
  • 512Windows.com
  • 512BuyHome.com
  • 512Cleaning.com

What’s more interesting to me is the number of vanity number domains that are available to hand register right at this very moment.

Now domain availability may be because the person that would register the domain is likely not to own the matching phone number.

However, not long ago, Austin introduced a new 737 area code due to running out of 512 numbers.

Should local businesses have their heads on straight, then the introduction of a new area code opens the gate to wide vanity number domain land grab.

Of course, this only applies to businesses that serve a specific area code or part of town.

For example, if you’re a dentist in the new 737 area code in Austin and you own the vanity number 512-DENTIST, then why have you not registered and developed 737DENTIST.com in your business’ website?

Think about the value in your messaging becoming sharper, more focused and clearly more memorable when using matching domain names and phone numbers.

Your business essentially gains the added value in a 2-for-1 special investing and operating your business using vanity number domain names.

Matching domains and phone numbers are not only for local business

Don’t stop at local businesses using matching domains and phone numbers to build their business.

Some of the biggest and well known brands have invested in developing and operating their business’s digital presence using vanity number domain names.

For example, when you need contacts and accessories, you simply visit 1800Contacts.com or 1800getlens.com.

And everyone knows about the flower behemoth, 1800Flowers.com.  But don’t think it’s only for the big guys, 1800florals.com is doing quite well too.

Also, should flowers not do the trick and your marriage not work out the way you expected (God forbid!), then there’s always 1800Divorce.com and 1800Attorney.com.

And for all you pack rats needing to get rid of junk when you move to Austin (Please, no one else move), then all you need is 1800GotJunk.com or 1800PackRat.com.

Most of the companies also own the hyphenated versions of their non-hyphenated matching domain names.

Those are just a few of the biggest and brightest brands using matching domains and phone numbers to find and serve customers.

In fact, there are quite a few companies using matching domains with 800, 888, 855, 866 and 877 phone numbers.

This list of businesses using matching domains and phone numbers is quite expansive. I’m sure there are way more than the ones I’ve found.

Before you run out to buy matching domains and phone numbers, read this…

Just as there are good matching domains and phone number examples, there are also some bad examples too (as shown below).

  • 800-Numbers.net
  • 800AgeInfo.com
  • 800CharityCars.org
  • 800Gambler.org
  • 800Hosting.com
  • 800MiniStorage.com
  • 866OurVote.org
  • 866Recover.com
  • 877GetHope.org
  • 88844Ferry.com
  • 888BetsOff.com
  • 888BetsOff.org
  • 888TrashIt.com

Before you start buying up domains and phone numbers, BE SURE THAT BOTH ARE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE.

I’m sure there are horror stories of businesses buying a domain name or phone number first, then trying to find the match.

It’s best to be sure your selected options are available before you commit to investing big dollars.

And don’t be surprised if you find that someone owns the domain or phone number you desire, and lists both for sale.

Much like domains, toll-free numbers and phone numbers were once the eye of speculation too.

Simply negotiate to the best of your ability to a price you can afford. Pony up the cash and reap the rewards for years to come.

If not, then your competition will. It’s just that simple.

There’s also another thing to be mindful of when buying matching domains and phone numbers.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that it’s a waste of money to purchase matching domains and 800 numbers with using the 1.

If you can’t defensive register the hyphenated and non-hyphenated versions of the domain with the 1, then I wouldn’t dare waste my time with the domain.

By not owning the hyphenated and non-hyphenated versions of the domain that include the 1, you are subject to leaking traffic online, especially if online is the primary method of operating your business.

I also recommend sticking with using the .com although the new domain extensions (gTLDs) do make me raise my eyebrow when speaking in regards to matching domains and phone number examples.

With the new gTLDs, you could have a variety of combinations and have the dot place in or near the middle of your new domain.

For example, you could have the following combinations:

  • 1800Injured.Care (Actual website in operation)
  • 1800.Clinic
  • 1888.Cars
  • 1800.Website
  • 1888.Attorney
  • 1800.Photography
  • 1888.Audio
  • 1800.Cards

This list could go on for days, but the most important thing to consider and be sure of is that you own the matching vanity too.

Where can I purchase matching domains and phone numbers?

I know you’re chomping at the bite to go search for matching domains and phone numbers, I so won’t hold you any longer. 🙂

There are a quite of few services available. Some are quite old while others are new kids on the block.

If you’re looking for virtual phone numbers, then I recommend Grasshopper.com, RingCentral.com, and EasyRinger.com.

If you’re looking for expired domain names or to hand register domains, then I would certainly look at 1And1.com and GoDaddy.com.  Check this page should you buy domains at GoDaddy.

If you looking to purchase domains or both matching domains and phone numbers, then I recommend reviewing the following services based on search high and low (a few appear a bit aged):

  • GetATollFreeDomain.com
  • Buy-1-800-DomainNames.com
  • MyTollFree800Number.com
  • WhatADomain.com
  • VanitySource.com

It’s hard to argue that toll-free numbers are not excellent marketing tools when used right.

Long before there were domain names, toll-free numbers, especially vanity numbers, were the domains of choice held in high esteem for doing business with a real business.

Although domain names have taken the place of toll-free numbers, toll-free numbers are revived when businesses choose to using matching domains and phone numbers as their business name or brand.

Coupled with the right matching domain and phone number, your business can become a credible force in the market, no matter if local, national or global, and provide an easily remembered name for customers to find and do business with you.

It’s quite the challenge to shut the door on competition, yet using matching domains and phone numbers is one way to do just that and more!

Alvin Brown
Alvin is a serial entrepreneur and digital strategist with an avid love for domain name consulting. As the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of DNAdverts.com, his job is to make sure you don't suffer the consequences of common domain name pitfalls.

As a domain investor and business consultant, Alvin actively participates in daily domain auctions. Outside of auctions, he passionately shares his views, opinions, and vision for how businesses should and should not use domain names to generate greater customer growth and revenue.