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6 Web Giants That Changed Domain Names

It happens. Sometimes a business picks a domain name that either wish they hadn’t, or simply begins to lack relevance as the company vision evolves. What started as an awesome idea in the boardroom often turns out to become a hindrance rather than an asset, causing brand confusion and vagueness, factors that ultimately contribute to the decision to rename a website. A great domain name appropriates the brand, reflecting its core story, and in this age of social media, a domain name must enable netizens to establish a seamless association between the primary intention of the service/product and the URL.

If your domain name is getting you down but you feel you’ve come too far down the road to make a u-turn, here’s some inspiration for you. Some of the biggest brands started off with names that either didn’t bring the company the success it had envisioned, or, required changing as the web and netizen habits evolved. All six companies in the list below made a positive change and went on to be extremely successful.



Remember This innovation created by David Warthen and Garrett Gruener was the first search engine capable of responding to questions, not just keywords. Yet in 2006 they dropped Jeeves, keeping the English cartoon butler and changing the domain to; shorter, savvier and easier for type-in traffic.


Yes indeed, Facebook wasn’t always as cool. The original site was In 2005 creator Mark Zuckerburg and his team decided to lose the horrid “the” and bought “,” for an estimated $200,000.


PayPal was once believe it or not. The “X” represented a universally recognizable symbol of a programming variable for developers, but was later ousted when user surveys deemed the name potentially pornographic and vague. Needless to say the change has seen PayPal become the biggest online payment service.


Two of Stanford’s finest graduates, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, originally built Google on “,” the Stanford web network. Like many blogs that start off on free hosts with awkward URLs, the pair decided to fly the nest and registered “” in September 1997, officially launching independently a year later.


Founded in 1999, started out with its current domain name, only to rebrand with a simplified version, “” Customers were miffed, which prompted a reversion to the original, with redirected back to Had the board considered, things might have been very different.


The King of all things nice and “short,” Twitter launched with the name “”, which was inspired by SMS shortcode. A few months after the site launched in 2006, the owners decided to shed out $7,500 for a full vowel-laden version of the name, purchasing from an existing “bird enthusiast” website.
And so, you see, it’s never too late to make a change!

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Short Domains Rule 2012 Most Expensive Domains List

On the eve of the last day of 2012, it’s time to look back at the most expensive domain names of 2012. On this year’s list there is a notable presence of short domains, which is something that excites us fans of short, sweet, highly brandable domain names.

This year, positions 10, 9 and 8, were snatched by two-letter domain names, with and fetching a whopping $325,000 dollars a piece. was bought by a gambler named BJ, who currently has a placeholder page linked to a Facebook page with 45,000 likes. The site sports the slogan, “We weren’t built on the strip, the strip was built around us (Black Jack & Blow Jobs). links to, a 90 day body transformation system, popular in North America. What’s interesting is that the VI brand launched without their exact match domain, instead initially opting for Visalus over VI, only to later down the line splash out for Perhaps the budget wasn’t available to begin with. But what’s clear is that as the brand grew, the need for a domain name that directly appropriates the product became an essential requirement. The brand will definitely see a huge increase in type-in traffic, and be in an advantageous position to leverage social media and offline advertising initiatives.

Moving down the list, another notable aspect is that 3 out of the remaining 7 domains are single word domains, ‘Jackpot’, ‘Challenge’, and ‘Investing’ (#1), which demonstrates the market dominance and value of single word domains. fetched a cool $2.5m in 2012.

So what can we expect in 2013?

Well, judging by this year’s top ten we fully expect to see the value of short domains (2-4 letters) rise, and the continuing dominance of one word domains in the auction space. Only 4 out of the 10 domains that made the list this year weren’t short  or single word. This will fuel confidence in the market and encourage increased investment in 2013.

Here’s a run down of the 10 Most Expensive Domains 2013:


1. $2,450,000

Date sold: 12/14/12
Sold via: Private Sale


2. $1,000,000

Date sold: 10/26/11
Sold via: DomainNameSales


3. $500,000 (tie)

Date sold: 11/7/12
Sold via: Private Sale


4. $500,000 (tie)

Date sold: 10/31/12
Sold via: Sedo


5. $500,000 (tie)

Date sold: October 13, 2012
Sold via: Private sale


6. $500,000 (tie)

Date sold: 4/18/12
Sold via: Moniker


7. $350,000 (tie)

Date sold: 11/21/12
Sold via: FindYourDomain 


8. $325,000 (tie)

Date sold: 10/13/12
Sold via: Private sale


9. $325,000 (tie)

Date sold: 6/6/12
Sold via: Toby Clements


10. $310,000

Date sold: 5/9/12
Sold via:

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How to Create Catchy Domain Names That Succeed!

Tweet me, Skype me, Google me; Pin it, Digg it, Like it: these are all calls to action that came about as a result of catchy domain names that naturally promote a call to action. Marketers cleverly devise catchy domain names that encourage consumers to shorten and make alternative interpretations for service related calls to action. For example, Twitter users began using the word “Tweet” and Retweet” not long after the service was launched. Facebook users quickly began referring to the service as “FB” in online and mobile communications, and the Pinterest team created the term “Pin” as a memorable term to encourage the sharing of images. Other domain names stick exactly as they are, like Google and Digg, both of which just roll off the tongue without need for abbreviation or alteration.

You’d be forgiven for thinking these terms are borne out of popularity, and that a certain amount of luck was involved in certain names sticking so well. In truth such domain names are the result of strategic planning and clever marketing practice. Google was no accident, and neither was Yahoo!, Skype, Facebook or Twitter. There are hundreds of thousands of great services online, yet few make it to the dizzy heights of popularity they initially intended to. By and large this is down to one simple fact: it’s all in the name.

So how do those clever marketers do it?

The Eight Letter Rule

When short listing potential domain names for your online endeavor keep your ideas to a maximum of eight letters. When you analyze the biggest online businesses and social platforms you’ll see that they stick to this rule, think Amazon, Zappos, Facebook, Skype, Twitter, MSN, Google,  Hotmail… the list goes on. The current trend is “the shorter the better”, so if possible aim for under six letters.

Promote Positive Wordplay

Don’t focus solely on the name in its purest form. See beyond the name and unlock the potential of each idea on your list. Think about what possible abbreviations there are, or ways in which the name might be adapted to represent different calls to action (Tweet, Pin, etc). Clever marketers always think outside the box. They look at the possibilities beyond the limitation of the name as it is. They think about potential future opportunities in terms of spin-off services and consumer interpretations of the name that aren’t always obvious on first analysis.

Avoid Negative Interpretation

In your excitement at the potential positives of a domain name don’t forget to analyze for potential negative interpretation. For example, “Puutah” sounds like a cool name; it’s a spin on the word computer and could easily be the next big social media platform or media brand of sorts. But this name, which I’ve just pulled from the top of my head, has a potential flaw that could thwart its success before the project gets off the ground. “Puu” sounds like “poo”, and “Puutah” is kind of close to “pootang”, which is a slang word for loser, and is also used in some circles to refer to the female genitalia  So as you can see, a name that on one hand initially appears memorable and innovative, can, on closer inspection, be a potential marketing nightmare.

Be One Step Ahead of the Market

Although it feels like we, the public, invented the word “Tweet”, and that we communally developed the term “Google me”, we more than likely didn’t. These terms would have been considered before the brands launched, and would have formed a fundamental part of the final name decision process. Think about how you will manipulate the market through your domain name by identifying relevant abbreviations and spin-off terms that innovate on the brand’s current and potential future product/services.

For more tips on choosing the most appropriate domain name for your business, check out these six essential tips. 

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14 Off The Wall Reasons Short Domains Kick Ass

We all know short domains rule in many ways, and the right short domain is capable of giving a website a massive competitive edge from the outset. But there’s a whole host of hidden benefits to 3 and 4 character domains you’ve probably never thought of.  And so we came up with a list of 14 off the wall reasons short domains kick ass!

1. Short domains save space when designing your business card, which in turn gives you increased design versatility.

2. Short domains are environmentally friendly because they use less ink when printing out company documents

3. A short domain is quicker to write down on paper or store in a phone when you’ve left your business cards at home: particularly useful when you have only a few seconds to network with an important person at a business event.

4. A short domain will be easier to remember in your forgetful old age…It happens to the best of us!

5. A short domain name will fit sweetly on marketing merchandise like t-shirts, key-rings, stickers and pens.

6. A short domain names acts as an alternative contact method to give a potential partner when you’ve forgotten your phone number on a drunken night out.

7. A short domain means far less fumbling around with typo errors when keying in your URL on someone else’s Smartphone to show off your website.

8. A short domain makes you sound cooler, savvier and smarter when referring to your website with staff and stakeholders…And your kids!

9. A short domain will save you energy on having to repeat a longer domain name each time you refer to your website. This in turn will mean you need less food, saving you money in the long term.

10. A short domain will improve your carbon footprint by using less bytes when you email someone your website address.

11. A short domain is less of a mouthful to keep referring to at company conferences and seminars, meaning less episodes of ‘dry mouth’ through your presentation.

12. A short domain saves you time when filling in website contact forms and other documentation that ask for your website address.

13. With a short domain you can promote your website by putting a sticker of your URL in your car’s rear window. When you’re stuck in traffic the person behind you will have time to look up your website in just a few finger taps before the traffic moves on again.

14. With a short domain kids won’t have problems writing it in text message conversations, and so they wont use textspeak abbreviations of your site that will contribute to the decline in the amount of teenagers being able to speak properly.  Your conscience will be clear!

Did we miss one? Let us know!

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PIR Set to Auction Ultra-Rare Short .Org Domains

Short Domain auctions always get us excited; so we were ecstatic when we heard about the forthcoming short .Org auction being held by Go Daddy. Go Daddy have teamed up with Public Interest Registry (PIR) to auction 42 high value single and two character domains. On offer for the first time in history will be gems like A.ORG I.ORG, and S.ORG.

PIR Chief Executive Officer Brian Cute was quoted as saying, “Go Daddy met and exceeded all our requirements to handle the sale of our single- and two-character domain names.Go Daddy clearly understands and cares for our brand, and they offer their customers the very best tools required to grow an online presence.” 

The big occassion will last 10 ten days, and is only open to those who register their interest first. It’s kind of an invite only thing for those with the “paper” to really bid rather than window shop. There is no set start date yet, presumably because both parties want to attract as much attention from big investors as possible; after all, this really is a historic auction, and the domains are expected to fetch high prices.

Dot Org Signals Trust

The .ORG extension is one of the Internet’s original top-level domains, and has gained a reputation for being the most-trusted domain extension. According to a CARAVAN Omnibus domain consumer survey in 2011, large corporations, non-profits, special interest groups and even SMBs can benefit from leveraging .ORG domain names to strengthen their brand message worldwide. 

Dot Org is widely associated with organizations that serve the public interest; not-for-profits, charities, foundations, information portals and non-corporate entities. The domain extension therefore provides a powerful tool for companies/organizations to demonstrate a commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) outside of a primary .Com domain.

Expect High Value Sales

Here at we know just how powerful short domains can be when it comes to marketing prowess, and this latest Go Daddy auction substantiates what we tell our clients regularly; that short domains are of high value because of their rarity, memorable nature and marketable properties. As a reference point see DIY.Org, which sold for $60,000, and Poker.Org, which fetched a massive $1m. Below is a list of the .Orgs on offer in the forthcoming auction. We fully expect to see some six-figure sales.

To register for the auction go to this link.

*PIR – a non-profit organization – will forward its share of the proceeds to programs that enhance open development and Internet security, particularly in countries where technology growth is slow.

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Dot Com Real Estate Still in High Demand

Published on October 30, 2012 by in Uncategorized

With ICAANs new gTLDs expected to begin appearing in mid 2013, which will give businesses an opportunity to own a domain extension relevant to their industry, i.e. .music, .app, .adult, .education, etc, analysts had initially predicted a decline in the popularity of the mighty dot com. But current market activity demonstrates that there is still huge potential in dot com domain real estate. currently holds the 2012 record sale spot at $1m, but there have been other anonymous seven figure sales too, most notably the sale of to a real estate real magnate this past summer. However, not all domain sales are publicly reported, and many sales happen off the radar. And so it’s entirely possible that other seven figure sales have occurred this year, and in previous years, unbeknown to the public.

2012 isn’t over yet, though, and the biggest .com sale could be yet to come. Presently is being offered up for $3.5m by DomainHoldings, although the company expects to get even more for it. “We have four bidders that are in the seven figures already,” said DomainHoldings executive Monte Cahn. was registered by the current owner back in 1994, and hasn’t been offered up for sale until now, with the owner no doubt biding their time until the market ripened for sale, as all savvy domainers do. It’s a fantatstic domain on many levels; short, memorable, highly searched and hold a lot of meaning for millions of people. Not to mention that potential target investors have considerable funds available for investment; think the state tourism bureau, large real estate companies and media entities.

Dot Com Real Estate Remains a Safe Bet

One key benefit of investing in names of places is that you’re unlikely to come up against trademark infringement, or cyber-squatting as it’s know online. A “cyber-squatter” refers to an investor  who registers a domain name that incorporates the trademark of another in bad faith with the intention to profit, and there have been many cases of cyber-squatting brought against domainers of the years. However, no one person is likely to try and claim the rights to ‘California’.

Geographic domains like, or which is currently on sale at $40,000 over at SuperNiche, fall into the category of Exact Match Domains, which means the domain forms an actual word or phrase searched for by users. Historically this type of domain had a competitive advantage in the results returned by search engines. Due to some recent  Google algorithmic adjustments, however, this is no longer the case. And the playing field has been leveled, giving all domain names/websites the opportunity to appear high up the SERPs. That said, relevance remains the driving factor in determining a site’s ranking for a particular term. And so, if you have a site all about California called, you can’t be more relevant than that.

Geographic dot coms are rare and rarely come to surface for sale. Because of this they fetch high prices on the resale market,  something that isn’t likely to change when the gTLDs roll out next year.

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Why Short Domain Names Are Genetically Blessed

Domain names are the foundation of the web, and whether you’re buying them or selling them, in the new web world SHORT is bigger and better. In 2012, longer is clumsier, harder to brand and awkward to remember, and perhaps most importantly of all doesn’t appropriate the mobile revolution of smartphones and tablets.

Why Naming a Domain is Like Naming a Child

Think about this: how many words and people’s names do you come across in a day? Do you remember them all? Probably not. The one or two names you will remember are those that are unique and notably short – easy to remember. This is the key consideration when buying a domain name. It can be likened to naming a child: the name you give a child lasts a lifetime, and in the case of a domain name, beyond! Parents in the modern era often give their children highly memorable, unique names, believing that it will be conducive to success because the child will grow up standing out from the crowd. Once you purchase a domain it will become your online identity, representing your presence; if it’s unique, like a uniquely named child, people will remember your brand/company.

Short Domains Are Genetically More Likely to be Successful

Short domains have become extremely popular because genetically they are more likely to be successful. Just consider news channels like CNN, BBC ,ABC , CNBC: these all became major brands off the back of highly identifiable names. Think back through your childhood at the brand names you remember; you will notice that most consist of no more than five letters, like Intel, Cisco, Skype, Kodak, Honda, Pepsi.Unique memorableness makes creating a buzz that much easier, not to mention social leverage becomes effortless on platforms such as twitter where the hash sign (#) can be used to leverage popularity.

Short domain names are naturally self-branding, creating a reflective effect that resonates thru your entire marketing campaign. For this reason it is of huge advantage to many well-established companies to buy the shorter cousins of existing company web domains. Perhaps the most famous short domain sale was, which Farm Bureau sold to Mark Zimmerman’s Facebook for 8.5 million. Facebook needed to secure this domain because it directly reflected their brand (FB is short around the web for Facebook). They simply couldn’t risk having unintentionally misrepresenting the Facebook brand.

There are numerous examples where companies and individuals seek a short domain names to better represent their online endeavors. Take management firm Anderson Bauman Tourtellot Vos for example, you wouldn’t want an exact keyword match for that domain, would you?! And so the firm registered “, a very simple, unique and easy to remember domain. Likewise, customers wouldn’t have gotten on well with

Give your business/brand a fighting chance from birth by creating a genetically successful short domain.


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Domain Dialling

You’ve probably heard the term in passing and you’re likely to hear it a lot more in the future, particularly because brands are increasingly leveraging their marketing efforts off domain names. This new technology allows the consumer to dial a domain name rather than a phone number. I say new technology but actually it’s not that new, it’s pretty old in terms of development but has come into the limelight of late due the short-domain name popularity explosion.

The concept is simple >> Three, four, five and six letter domains are memorable and easy to tap in to a phone; far easier than a ten digit number. And so the consumer simply dials the domain name rather than the conventional telephone number.

The technology comes into its element where international company numbers are concerned. An international number may consist of a lengthy 15 digit code, whereas domain dialling can cut this down by two-thirds or more. On the iPhone, and many other smartphones, there is a .Com shortcut, enabling even faster domain dialling for the user.

Match Your Business Number to Your Domain

At the forefront of the domain dialling movement is, whose app searches a database of more than 26 million assigned phone numbers worldwide and suggests a number (or numbers) to call based on that company’s domain name. For example, perhaps you want to call your local store but don’t want to spend hours flicking through Google to find the number; don’t, just dial the domain name through SITER.


Key Domain Dialling Benefits

  • Allows customers can get in touch with businesses more effectively
  • A faster search facility than Google
  • Less typing for the user
  • An effective domain-brand marketing platform
  • No need for users to remember phone numbers or write them down

The advantage of a domain name is that it has an intrinsic meaning, it is linked to a service or product. Telephone numbers, on the other hand, are just numbers, unless of course the number is subject to a heavy marketing campaign to connect to a product or service: this is often the case with insurance company hotlines and alike.

Of course domain dialling is only really effective in the domain is short. Long, clumsy, difficult to spell domains will return errors and subsequently annoy users. Domain dialling is one more in a long line of developments prompting businesses to swap awkward domains for acronyms of their business name, or shortened, more memorable, user-friendly versions.

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Four Letter Domains For Sale

Four letter domains for sale is now a highly searched phrase in the search engines, and it’s no surprise. Four letter domains (often referred to as “LLLL” domains) are pretty scarce. There are only 456,976 possible combinations, and only around 50,000 are attractive consonant/vowel combinations.

As you can imagine these gems have been snapped up quickly due to their mass branding appeal, and of course their limited availability. But there’s another factor in the rise of 4 letter domains, and 3 letter domains for that matter.

The End of Clumsy Keyword-Rich Domains

In previous times a web designer/developer would have advised a client to choose a keyword-rich domain to rank highly in the search engines, but we now know – post the Google Panda updates – that this is not the case anymore. Google has turned down the advantage to be gained from keyword rich domains, which now makes choosing a suitable domain name for your business more flexible.

How do You Spell That?

Depending on the length of the company name keyword-rich domains can appear clumsy and difficult to spell, and in turn are rendered less marketable because they are less memorable for the consumer. This makes marketing communications difficult: there is nothing worse than having to keep spelling out your web address to people at seminars, conferences and meetings. But now that you dont need a keyword-rich domain to rank well in the search engines, 3 and 4-letter domains are a viable, business optimizing option.

Well Suited to The New Web Era

Four letter domains not only look prestigious, they are rare, easy to remember and highly brandable – both online and offline. Four letter domains are far better suited to billboard advertising, radio promotions and television broadcast. The 2-second window an advert has to capture the attention and imagination of a consumer is made that much easier thru the medium of a short domain. If the consumer has an interest in the service or product they can follow up online after memorizing the four letter domain.

Four letter domains are less prone to spelling errors, too, resulting in a higher volume of type-in traffic (traffic typed directly into the browser bar rather than coming in through a keyword search, social platform or external link). This is highly important in the new web era of mobile, where users prefer less keystrokes on handheld devices because of the difficulty in typing on the move.

Another key part of the mobile revolution is voice recognition: speaking 4 letters into a phone is far easier than a clumsy domain name, and less prone to errors.

High Value on The Re-Sale Market

Four letter domains, mainly because of their rarity, are a valuable investment. An attractive sequence of letters can attract a handsome price on the resale market. Here are some examples of impressive four letter domain sales:

  • – $10million
  • – $9.5 million
  • – $7 million
  • $5.1 million
  • – £3.5 million
  • – $3.3 million
  • DUDU.COM (- $100,000,00 (Sedo Brokers for $1 Million)
  • BEEM.COM ( “ Sells for $136k”)
  • WEHR.COM – $74,000
  • MAAC.COM – $63,000 (sold to Mid-America Apartment Communities)

If you’re interested in buying a four letter domain, check out our extensive range of options. We have a catalogue of .Com and .Net LLLLs for your perusal. Go here to browse around. If you see a domain you like drop us an email for a chat.

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Registering A Domain Name: A Newbies Guide

1. What is a domain name?

A domain name is a website’s unique identity. Every time you visit a website you will see the web address (domain name) in the bar at the top of your browser. For example, as you view this website you will see in the browser bar.

2. What is WWW?

The WWW refers to World Wide Web, proceeded by the web address; the unique identity of the website, commonly referred to as the domain or domain name.

3. Why do I need one?

To create a website on the World Wide Web you need a domain name (web address). This is how users will find your website. Users can find a website in three main ways:

  1. By typing the domain name into the browser bar window and pressing enter
  2. By being provided the web address as a related option on the results page of a search engine such as Google or Bing.
  3. By following a link (a word, sentence, phrase, or naked web address) posted on a website or social media platform

4. What is HTTP and HTTPS?

You don’t really need to worry about this part, but just for the record here is the official definition: The acronym HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol – the technology used to communicate between web servers and web users. When you see ‘S’ after HTTP this indicates a secure connection.  Online banking and many other forms of secure Internet application rely upon secure communication, The “s” means that when accessing that particular web site, all web traffic between your web browser and the web site uses the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which means the information is encrypted. If anyone should try to intercept the information they will see nothing but scrambled data.

5. Where can I buy a domain name?

Domain names can be registered through domain registrars such as Namecheap or 1&1. However, you may find the domain name you want is taken. In this case you will need to purchase an alternative variation, or, if the name you want is for sale in the after market, you can choose to buy it from a private seller. For example, the domains available here at are for sale exclusively through our service. We currently own these domains, but if you want to buy one you can, and after purchase we  will transfer the domain to your name. Read more on our FAQ page. 

6. What is Private Domain Registration?

When you register a domain your details are available as default through the public WhoIs database. You can choose to hide your details from the public by opting to buy private registration. This is generally never more than $10, and many registrars offer this as a free service when you buy a domain name.

7. What are Nameservers?

After buying your domain name you will need hosting upon which to host your website. Of course, you can register a domain without setting up a website, but if you wish to build a website you must purchase hosting from a company such as Hostgator. If your domain name was purchased from a separate company to your hosting company, you will need to point the Nameservers to your hosting platform for the website to show up on the web. Nameservers are referred to as DNS (DNS settings).

Don’t worry if this confuses you somewhat, all reputable domain registration companies and hosting companies offer customer support to help you apply the correct settings. Your hosting company will provide you with unique Nameserver settings when you buy hosting; all you need to do is contact your domain registration company and ask them where you need to enter these details. If you’re a little tech-savvy you can do this yourself by simply locating the Nameservers (DNS) option in the dashboard of your domain account.

Got a question? Ask away!


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