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March 18, 2009

adamo.com - The Importance of a Good Domain

Adamo We've written a number of times about the importance of owning the right domain name.  Particularly if you're launching a new product.  Case in point - Dell's new luxury laptop, Adamo.

To tout this new machine, Dell launched the site AdamoByDell.com

However, they could have had adamo.com.  Adamo.com is one of the surname domain names owned by Tucows, Inc. and managed by YummyNames, a domain name sales and consulting service run by Tucows.  In addition to managing a massive portfolio of domains for sale, YummyNames also leases domains for short periods of time - perfect for a product launch.

Instead, of going this route, Dell chose to ignore the importance of a good domain.

We checked in with Bill Sweetman, general manager of YummyNames, about Dell's interest in owning the adamo.com domain.

"Dell never approached YummyNames although they claim a broker approached us anonymously and got the impression it would be too much money, but no one here has any knowledge of that exchange and, besides, we also offer domain name leases for as little as $750 a month.  We subsequently reached out to Dell’s ad agency, Enfatico, when we noticed a traffic spike to the domain dating back to the CES announcement of the laptop in December. We are fans of Dell and want to help them out but they seem to think even $750 is too big an investment for a global product launch. We are all stunned that Dell, of all companies, doesn't get the value of a good domain name!"

Now, in reading this, you might think, "But it's Dell - their search results will come up first, of course".  And if you search in Google, Dell's site does come up second in the results after related news stories.  However, this is not the case for Yahoo or MSN Live - where Dell's own domain doesn't show up in the top 5.

However, a common confusion for web surfers is the difference between the address bar and the search bar in the web browser.  Some browsers try to compensate for this by simply tacking on a .com to single words that are typed in the address bar.  This, of course, directs the user to the Adamo.com site rather than the AdamoByDell.com site.

But aside from addressing search and findability issues, the right domain can also reduce your costs.  Apparently the traffic to the adamo.com domain has increased by 10 times since December; that alone demonstrates that Joe Surfer expects major product X to be located at X.com. Until Tucows put up their page that tells visitors where to find the Dell Adamo Website, all the customers that arrived at adamo.com prior would have had to turn to Google to find out where the Dell Adamo Website is.

Sweetman admits that there may have been some solid reasoning for Dell to go with the domain adamobydell.com. "Perhaps Dell wanted all the various ccTLD versions (e.g., AdamobyDell.ca, AdamobyDell.co.uk) and adamobydell.[whatever] was readily available. But, that being said, Dell should at least have arranged for use of the adamo.com domain (even if it was only for a few months) to forward to whatever they did decide to use as the domain name."

To further educate marketers on the importance of domains (and, of course, to capitalize on their ownership of the domain), Tucows has also included a video promoting their services on the adamo.com site.


Whoever made that decision should be fired.

$750/month to "lease" a domain name?

Fricking leeches.

@Robert As I understand it, that person is someone at Dell, not their ad agency.

@ Petrovska Adamo.com is part of a portfolio of surname domain names that we own and make available for sharing to everyone who shares the same last name (i.e., Adamo). Since we have existing customers using these surname domain names, we usually do not sell these domains and, instead, offer them for lease to interested parties. When you consider that a name of this quality would sell for tens of thousands of dollars, a $750 per month lease amount is not out of line, and would have been the ideal solution for Dell in this instance. You may want to look at some of the recent domain name sales figures at DNjournal.com to get a sense of the value of short, brandable .com domain names these days.

Although Dell obviously has the resources to lease a domain for a paltry $750/month, domains are a limited resource. "The importance of a good domain" is helluva lot more important if you can afford to drop thousands of dollars on domain squatters.

For smaller organizations, I'm not sure this applies so much -- it's not 1997 anymore, domains are a commodity and buying them for ridiculous amounts of money doesn't exactly make fiscal sense in a recession, either.

For something like a notebook launch, I think adamo.dell.com would have probably suited the task better than adamobydell.com, etc.

To each his own... but I tend to buy the domain FIRST, then do my branding. ;)

@ nickb I sure hope you aren't calling *us* domain squatters in a pejorative sense, Nick!

Buying, sharing, leasing, and selling generic (non-trademark infringing) domain names is a very legitimate business. Domain names are the real estate of the 21st century, and I have no shame being a landlord. ;+)

@bill No, it is not. Just because it is not illegal does not mean domain brokerages are not bottom feeding domain squatting scumbags (they are, and *if* you do that then so are you). They offer *no* legitimate service to the end user, all they do is insinuate themselves in as middlemen by proactively registering domains that they have no intent to use with the single and express intent of squeezing money out of anyone who might actually want to use one of the domains. The entire "industry" is a disgusting sham.

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