Today’s post caught me by surprise, to say the least.
As you should know by now, I keep my iPhone or iPad near me at all times when watching TV, primarily when watching the news and more specifically, the weather forecast.
Yes, I know that I can simply pull up the weather using an app or my trusty old iPhone.
However, there is just something about hearing it live and watching a person guess wrong 80% of the time and still keep their job. Weather reporting is seriously a sweet gig! But I digress…
As I sat to watch the news this particular night, not many commercials we’re being run with companies containing their domain name in the ad.
And if they were, then most companies used their brand name which was less than descriptive and not stellar in my humble opinion. What a waste.
Nevertheless, I was coming from the kitchen to the living, quenching my thirst with a cup of water, when I saw Miracle-Ear.com.
Almost choking on my water, I rushed to grab my iPhone so I could get a few good shots in less than 15 seconds (see below). Fortunately, the commercial had just started as I entered the room (and yes, that’s ole’ Patrick Duffy). 🙂
Why would a brand use a domain with a hyphen?
At first, I was shocked to see such a big brand using a domain with a hyphen as part of it’s branding.
What I didn’t realize is that the hyphen in Miracle-Ear is attributed to it’s brand. This wasn’t apparent until I started to research Miracle-Ear a bit.
I couldn’t shake the thought of Miracle-Ear not owning the non-hyphenated .com domain. After all, Miracle-Ear has been around nearly 60 years and counting, so surely they, out of all companies, could afford to purchase their brand name without a hyphen.
In addition, I just knew Miracle-Ear had to be losing traffic and customers because they chose not to own the non-hyphenated domain of their brand. Or did they own it?
As usual, curiosity got the best of me and I had to find out who owned the non-hyphenated domain. And what a relief it was to see a rather large brand “get it” when I typed in the non-hyphenated domain and was redirected to Miracle-Ear.com.
How and when to use domains with hyphens
There is a right way and wrong way to use domains with hyphens as well as a time and place.
In my humble opinion, if you’re going to operate a business using a domain with a hyphen, then how Miracle-Ear executed would be the approach I recommend.
Often times, companies are forced to use a hyphen or non .com extension when launching their business. Typically, they’re not able to afford the non-hyphenated .com version due to limited resources of a company in its infancy.
Nevertheless, when timing is right, only a few select companies ever purchase the .com version of their domain. Most don’t realize the money spent marketing and advertising their brand domain could be saved and invested into purchasing the .com — reap an increased ROI overall, too.
Why you should own alternative domains
So, I kept typing away and trying different variations and alternative domains to Miracle-Ear. After all, they are a hearing aid company.
And that’s exactly what I typed as well as other variations. Here’s what I found:
- HearingAid.com (registered since 1996, paid parking page)
- HearingAids.com (registered since 1996, developed and Domain Privacy) Great Job snagging and developing this domain!
- HearingAidCo.com (available)
- HearingAidCompany.com (registered since 2005, developed by Hearing Aid Company of Texas) GREAT JOB AND EVEN BETTER SNAG!
- HearingAid.Company (registered since July 2015, parked page)
- HearingImpairedDevices.com (registered since 2004, for sale)
- ImpairedHearingDevices.com (available)
- HearingDevices.com (registered since 2002, paid parking page, Domain Privacy)
- EarHearingAids.com (registered since 2013, paid parking page, Domain Privacy)
- EarHearingAid.com (registered since July 2015, for sale)
- EarHearingDevice.com (available)
- EarHearingDevices.com (available)
- HearingTest.com (registered since 1998, paid parking page, Domain Privacy)
- HearingTests.com (registered since 2001, paid parking page, Domain Privacy)
In most cases, if potential customers don’t know your brand to begin with, then they are likely to use descriptive industry words when searching for a solution to their problem.
You can depend on word of mouth marketing (and that’s great) and other paid marketing and advertising strategies.
But why not INVEST your company, investing pennies on the dollar in contrast to paid marketing and advertising strategies, using the very phrases customers are likely to type in a web browser in search of your products and services?
Personally, I could fire most marketing executives that are paid quite hefty checks, yet can understand the simple concept of investing in domains to grow their company’s market share while lessening opportunities for the competition.
Again, review the list. There are 5-6 domains that are less than $8,000 in one-time fees and available for purchase at this very moment. Why is this?
I’m willing to go out on a limb and say most SMB businesses spend more than $8K for ever increasing marketing and advertising that delivers lackluster results, if any. Again, why is this?
I’m commend Miracle-Ear for owning and operating both their chosen domains. Yet, I challenge Miracle-Ear, as well as your business in its respective industry, as to yet why descriptive keyword domains remain available for purchase.
Again, it is beyond my understanding at why one would chose perfect bricks over flawed diamonds.
All I can say is this: They (and you!) better hope the right company doesn’t come along and undercut them (you!) with more effective services, products, technology and process, or Miracle-Ear (your business too) might not make it to see another 60 years.
You hear what I’m saying? 😉 That’s all for now.
P.S. I found another global brand using a hyphen in their domain name: Band-Aid.com.