Domains in them thar West Virginian hills

Reading Time | 6 Minutes

It’s been nearly 10 years since my wife and I had the opportunity to venture east, visting the scenic natural beauty of them thar hills and mountains of West Virginia.

Ten years ago, we excitedly watched our friends take the plunge into marriage. Fast forward a decade later, 6 kids in between our families, and a timely football game between West Virginia Mountaineers and the Longhorns of University of Texas at Austin.

The day came for my beautiful bride and travel companion to journey from Austin to West Virginia by way of Houston and Pittsburgh.

Alvin and Mallary Brown - West Virginia Trip 2019

As we boarded the first leg of our flight, I stumbled upon a somewhat interesting domain as we both indulged a fresh smoothie from JuiceLand.

DelwareNorthListens.com

Waiting on cool and healthy beverage to arrive, I noticed a business card displaying an interesting domain: DelawareNorthListens.com.

We’re certainly not in Delaware was my first thought, yet I would later discover Delaware North manages and provides food and beverage concessions, premium dining, entertainment, lodging, and retail at many large venues and special places — sports stadiums, entertainment complexes, national and state parks, airports, and casinos.

DelawareNorthListens.com is an extension of the base brand domain, DelawareNorth.com, allowing customers to share their service experience via a customer survey (see image below)

Delaware North Customer Survey

With my frothy mango beverage in hand, we happily boarded for the first leg of our trip to Houston. Once we arrived in Houston to board our final plane, I encountered a few more domains, even a subdomain.

The encountered subdomain, Houmaps.fly2houston.com, allows visitors to navigate a mobile-first website to find gate info, turn-by-turn directions, estimated walking time, and driving and shopping to say the least.

HOU Airport Information - houmaps.fly2houston.com

In my opinion, this given subdomain itself is too long to type and remember, and qualifies as a domain that doesn’t pass the radio test, using the numeral two, and a word/number collision of 2 instead of to.

I did discover FlyToHouston.com is available for purchase, listed for $9.995.00. In addition, I researched and discovered the following domains available and likely suitable options:

While I understand the use of subdomains  because of Houston having two different airports to support, I often recommend directories instead of subdomains — general public more aware of directories than subdomains.

So, instead of using houmaps.flytohouston.com, one of the following directory-based urls could be used:

  • fly2houston.com/houmaps
  • fly2houston.com/maps/hou
  • fly2houston.com/m/hou

While either subdomains or directories likely work the same, it would be good to A/B test to see which one resonates the most and is consistently easiest to recall with end users.

Moving right along, it wasn’t long after encountering HouMaps.Fly2Houston.com that I encountered a few more domains.

The next domain was well displayed on a very large landscape ad promoted by MD Anderson Cancer Center, highlighting MakingCancerHistory.com.

MakingCancerHistory.com - MD Anderson Cancer Center

I love when businesses, especially businesses with 3 or more words contained within their name, choose to use a phrase to represent their brand, rather than their default website.

One, using an alternative domain allows for ad measurement of ROI, and the phrase is likely more memorable, seeing that the right phrase is selected.

I expected MakingCancerHistory.com to redirect to MDAnderson.org. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a well-designed informational microsite designed to generate leads as well as educate visitors about Dr. Jim Allison, Nobel Laureate in Medicine, and his breakthrough in immunotherapy, which earned him the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Cancer impacts everyone at some point in their life, whether directly or indirectly. Either way, cancer is a painful experience, no matter who is impacted.

Hats off to MD Anderson in their efforts to generate awareness using a meaningful phrase domain to transform cancer care with groundbreaking research that is saving countless lives and giving more hope to patients and their families.

As nature begin calling on a few steps after passing the MD Anderson ad, I saw a great 4L .com domain being used by the largest independently owned title company in the United States: CTOT.com.

Capital Title of Texas - CTOT.com

It’s always great to encounter companies that simply “get it”, the value and presence of a short, memorable domain name.

I certainly can remember CTOT.com rather than Capital Title of Texas, knowing the average person could struggle to decipher between Capital and Capitol.

While CapitalTitleOfTexas.com redirects to CTOT.com, I strongly urge the purchase of CapitolTitleOfTexas.com as a defensive registration.

After a couple of hours in the air, we finally made it into Pittsburgh International Airport with a one hour drive into Morgantown remaining.

As we gather luggage in route to securing our rental car, I pleasantly surprised to discover a .site domain, Sift.Site, in use to display a virtual exhibition of artwork curated from the Pittsburgh Artist Registry, a program of the Office of Public Art.

Sift.site - a .site domain

In short, Sift connects regional artists with new audiences and showcases their work on a world stage.

I don’t recall every encountering a .site web address in the wild before, but there’s always a first time for everything. 😉

While the .site domain extension is an option, I recommend the following domain extensions as a better non .com alternative in their respective order:

  • .org
  • .art
  • .net

I prefer .com, but could certainly see the case made for using Sift.art as a more descriptive domain that resonates with art audience.

We finally made it to West Virginia around midnight to the welcoming hugs, treats, and conversation of our friends, calling it a night with the big game before us only hours away.

West Virginia, especially Morgantown, is an interesting place to be as a Texas fan entering the enemy’s territory.

As we made our way to tailgate with our friends, I spotted a few confused Texas flag buyers displaying their flags upside down (bless their hearts!) and a few more domains as we approached the stadium.

Horns Down Flag - West Virginia vs Texas

Matilda Yard Sign - West Virginia

SouthParkServiceCenter.com - West Virginia

BusRide.org - West Virginia

Tailgating - West Virginia vs Texas College Football Game

Nevertheless, outside of a few drunken “Horns Down” yells from youthful college-age folks from afar and a small child that run up to me with horns down hand gesture, most West Virginians welcomed my wife and I without insulting gesture.

Even after Texas managed to fight their way to a win, many of the West Virginian fans were classy in expressing a congratulatory “good game” gesture as well as wishing my wife and I safe travel back to Texas.

All in all, it was a great trip, scary game, and but a win in the end for the Hook’em Horns! And while I didn’t discover gold in them thar West Virginian hills, I did find hospitality and domains, especially seeing WVLottery.com plastered at every turn of the way. Thanks for reading, and that’s all for now!

WVLottery.com - West Virginia

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 assignment is to ensure business and personal brands 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.