Branding A Blog With Its Own Domain Name

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 04:00 AM with 4 comments

Blog name badgeShould a blog have its own domain name? The answer to this is obviously "it depends" as no solution fits for everybody. Let's take the idea of branding a blog step-by-step.

Start With The Brand

It is good practice to brand your blog. By giving it a name other than "company's blog" a brand name helps the blog stand on its own, which many times is the case. Many people come to read a blog based on its own content and not necessarily linked from your company's Web site. RSS feeds and social bookmarking sites may guide many readers to your blog, and people may be more likely to read it if they think there's a level of independence to the blog, and that it isn't just a mouthpiece for the company. If you are adding a blog to your existing Web mix, this is a way to add some energy and buzz from the blog, and to your Web presence overall.

The brand name for a blog can be something completely new to your company, or it could be something you already have. Many blogs are given clever names (like The Hot Iron!) or they can use the company's tag line for the blog name.

This also depends on how you may be marketing or positioning the blog. Many times a blog is the official company blog. In some cases, it is a company blog, but designated it is the opinion of an employee of the company. If you market your key people as individuals, you may want the blogs to have their name as the domain name, or some other phrase or moniker they may use. This will build upon their individual branding.

Then Add A Domain Name

If you go through the effort to brand the blog, ideally you want to acquire a domain name for that brand name, as you should for, at a minimum, to protect the brand. A unique domain name, separate from your company's main domain name, builds upon the momentum of brand name you have given the blog. This is not to say that if you call your blog companyname.com/blog it will not be popular or successful. A domain name also allows for additional blogs down the road.

Many times when a blog is added to a Web site, it may not be hosted along with the site and reside on different servers. If your company has the ability to manage the DNS of its domain name (if you don't know what this means, you probably don't have that ability!) you can add a unique domain name to the blog wherever it is hosted. If your blog is hosted at a blog service like WordPress, you can add a domain name or subdomain (e.g. blogname.companyname.com) and it is recommended to do so - otherwise the blog will have an address of blogname.wordpress.com; if down the road you want to host the blog itself or move it to another service, then its Web address will have to change. When a blog is added to a Web site, it may be running different technology than the Web site. Thus a simple way to manage this is to have a unique domain name for the blog. This actually reduces DNS management for the company's main domain name.

In some cases, you may not be able to add a domain name to a blog, and the reasons can vary. Some companies may have it as policy that you cannot use another domain name other than the main one for the company's Web site. Seriously, this can happen, and was the case with a former employer. Even though we owned domain names for all of our branded products and services, they were not used - yes, the domain names did not resolve to anything! They did not want the brand to be splintered at all, even though in reality the company itself was heavily siloed into separate business units. Other companies may have other policies about managing DNS you will need to be aware of before making such a decision.

Another nuance to consider is the continuously blurring line between Web site and blog. In some cases, the Web site is a blog. A good example is the blog Dunkirk Systems, LLC and Visible Logic, Inc. recently build for the soon-to-be-bestselling book OUIJA - For The Record. This site has a few content pages, but it is primarily a blog and forum. It has one domain name and this is all it needs. There are a few content pages, but the overall goal and design were about conversation about the book, so as it is structured it works well to achieve this goal.

The Brand Beyond The Domain Name

If you do choose a domain name for your blog, ensure to carry it through in your other uses of social media. You can use the domain name in association with Google Feedburner to aggregate and promote your blog feed. Register accounts with associated social media sites - Twitter, etc. - and social bookmarking sites - StumbleUpon, etc. - to carry through and reinforce the blog's brand.

Whether you use a unique domain name or not, the design of the blog may or may not be consistent with the company's Web site. As the flow of a blog can differ from a traditional Web site, the current Web site's design and layout may have to be modified to be used for the blog. If you want the blog to be highly integrated into the Web site, then you may want a consistent design. If you do not, or are not sure, then you may want a unique look for the blog, although the company's brand would be present in the new design. There is a lot more to consider with design, though this post is about the brand name more than the look.

Whichever direction you choose, it in itself will not determine the success of your blog. Unique, interesting and relevant content published for readers published on a regular schedule is still the sweet spot of any blog!


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Comcast Rebranding As XFINITY And Your Email

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 08:25 AM with 3 comments

XFINITY logoFor years I have professed here at The Hot Iron about getting your own domain name for your personal email. As products and services are bought and sold and rebranded, the main domain names for the email service may change, and as a result your email address may be forced to change. As low-cost as it is to own a domain name and straightforward as it is to use as an email address, many still do not.

If what I have said already is not enough reason, here’s another reason why you should do this. Last week Comcast announced it is rebranding its TV, phone and Internet services as XFINITY. Seriously. They say the company name will remain Comcast, but these services will have the new moniker.

There’s plenty of conversation out there about the new XFINITY name and Comcast’s reputation, and I am not seeking to contribute to that at this point. However, it is not known if Comcast plans on retiring the comcast.net domain name for its customer’s email addresses. As previously stated, they have done this before, eliminating the attbi.com when they acquired AT&T Broadband. From a technical standpoint, they can support any number of domain names for email – Yahoo! still supports rocketmail.com for its Yahoo! Mail service – however from past history they have decided not to. If they continue their past practices, many people will be forced to change their email addresses.

Changing an email address is a pain. So why not make one final change, to an email address with your own domain name? Another advantage of using your own domain name is you can change email service providers, but not change your email address. There’s no time like the present to look up the availability of a domain name and make it happen!


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SaucyPans.com Domain Name For Sale By Bido.com Auction On January 20

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, January 05, 2010 at 04:00 AM with 3 comments

photo of sauce pan for saucypans.comHere’s your opportunity to get a great domain name - SaucyPans.com. I have decided to sell this domain name, and am using Bido.com, the social domain name auction service.

SaucyPans.com is a fun name for a food-related, cooking and/or culinary Web site targeted to those who seek excitement in cooking. It is a play on the descriptive term "sauce pans" and the term "saucy" brings a touch of fun into it.

There is no reserve for the auction of SaucyPans.com, and the opening bid starts at US$28. The auction will be on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 at 2:00 pm ET, 1:00 pm CT. You must register with Bido to participate in the auction. Even if you’re just interested in watching it, the Bido site has some unique features.

See you at Bido on January 20, and bid early and often on SaucyPans.com!


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BostonPoint.com Domain Name For Sale By Bido.com Auction On December 16

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, December 14, 2009 at 11:15 AM with 0 comments

photo of Boston’s Back Bay for BostonPoint.comHere’s your opportunity to get a great domain name - BostonPoint.com. I have decided to sell this domain name, and am using Bido.com, the social domain name auction service.

BostonPoint.com is a great geographic domain name, or commonly referred to as a “geo-domain.” In reference to Boston it can have many uses, and accompanied by the word “point” it can be used for mapping, tourist destinations or any business to highlight.

There is no reserve for the auction of BostonPoint.com, and the opening bud starts at US$28. The auction will be on Wednesday, December 16 at 2:00 pm ET, 1:00 pm CT. You must register with Bido to participate in the auction. Even if you’re just interested in watching it, the Bido site has some unique features.

See you at Bido on December 16, and bid early and often on BostonPoint.com!


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How To Transfer A Domain Name

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, November 05, 2009 at 04:00 AM with 0 comments

Transferring domain names between people, businesses or entities is a common practice today and something I do quite a bit at my Internet consulting firm Dunkirk Systems, LLC. Where it may be common for myself, for those involved it takes a little understanding, especially as it is something may not do too often. The following is the overall process for transferring a domain name. There may be nuances with each domain name registrar, to which they can help you.

Before We Begin

Domain names are registered through a registrar. In order to do anything with the domain name, you should have a login and password to an account with them. In some cases you may be going through a reseller who will handle much of this for you. If not, the process describes the overall transaction.

You should know who you are transferring the domain name to, their email address and their registrar, which I’ll refer to as the receiving registrar, or receiver. Other information may also be pertinent depending on the receiver. You will ideally get an email or two from the receiver and it should have identifying information to verify to whom you are transferring the domain name. The registrar the domain name is leaving is sometimes referred to as the losing registrar, but we’ll never call them losers! With regards to email messages being sent to the person who is transferring a domain name to someone else, the messages will be sent to the email address which is listed in the contact information of the domain name. Therefore, you should verify the contact information on the domain name is accurate before the process begins. It is also a good practice to ensure all of the contact information for all of your domains is correct as well!

In some cases you may be transferring a domain name to an escrow service, which usually happens when you sell a domain name. Escrow services serve as a middleman between a buyer and a seller. The buyer will pay the escrow service and the seller will transfer the domain name to the escrow service. Once both have been done, the escrow service will transfer the domain name to the buyer and pay the seller, minus some fee. If you are selling a domain name and don’t know to whom you are selling it, it is best to use an escrow service.

There are 2 ways to transfer a domain name to someone else – to another registrar or within the same registrar.

Transferring To Another Registrar

Transferring a domain name to another registrar is initiated by a request from the receiving person. They will do this within their registrar account. The process of transferring a domain name will involve renewing the domain name for an additional year, which will be added to the domain name once it has been received into your account at the receiver. There will most always be a cost for transferring a domain name.

An authorization code is needed from the losing registrar to give to the person initiating the request. Every registrar has their own way of providing you with the auth code. Some, like name.com, make it very easy and it is visible on a domain name’s detail page. Others like GoDaddy.com require you to request it and it is sent by email. Registrar.com requires you to call them to request it by email, which is totally obnoxious in my opinion, but so are their prices! Once received, pass it along to the requestor and they will enter the code on their end during the initiation.

As well as the auth code, the domain name must be “unlocked.” A registrar lock is a preventative measure so a domain name isn’t inadvertently or fraudulently transferred to someone else. You will have to click a link at the losing registrar’s page for the domain name to unlock it. If a domain name is locked and a transfer is initiated, some receiver’s automatically reject it before an order is placed, and if it is placed the losing registrar will definitely reject it.

Once a request is made, there are several steps. Verification of the request is done by the requestor, followed by an email address sent to the contact’s email address. In cases where there are multiple contacts, the email may be sent to all contacts or just the registrant’s email address. This email will require a confirmation in order for the transfer to be performed. In the email is commonly a link to a Web page to approve the transfer. This Web page may either be a page with a yes or no button, or it may require a login to the receiver’s account. If the latter, you should forward the email address to the receiver, thus it’s handy to have their contact information.

If approved, a follow-up email may be sent to confirm the transfer is in process. If it is not approved, a message to that effect may be sent. If the transfer email is ignored, no other emails may be sent or follow-ups may be sent, depending on the registrar. I would not ignore a transfer request, rather I would reject it if it is not desired.

Now the wait begins. It can take up to a week for a domain name to transfer. Once completed, ideally you should get an email from both the receiving and losing registrar’s that the transfer has been completed, but this also varies by registrar.

Transferring Within A Registrar

If the receiver’s registrar is the same as where you have the domain name registered, the process may be more streamlined as it is a transfer within accounts of the registrar. This is commonly referred to as a “push.” Registrars will have their own process of doing so, but it is commonly initiated by the current owner of the domain name, where they are requesting the domain name be “pushed” to another account. The domain name may or may not have to be locked. This process can usually be achieved within a short period of time, hours as compared to days. As well, pushing a domain name may not incur a fee or any renewal.

It Happens Every Day

Domain name transfers occur daily in large numbers. It is important to know the process in case any issues arise. Whether selling or buying or moving domain names of your own from one registrar to another, transfers are a large part of Internet business, and now you are in the know.

I welcome your comments on the process as I outlined it. I was detailed in my explanations, and maybe you have some thoughts on it, or any clarifications that may be helpful for others.


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Redmug.com Domain Name For Sale By Bido.com Auction On September 16

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, September 11, 2009 at 12:43 PM with 0 comments

photo of a red mug for redmug.comHere’s your opportunity to get a great domain name - redmug.com. I have decided to sell this domain name, and am using Bido.com, the social domain name auction service. You may recall a few weeks back I was a guest speaker during a domain name live auction. Now I will be sitting on the sidelines watching as redmug.com goes on the auction block.

Redmug.com can have many uses. As pictures, it can refer to mugs that are red, or for a more general application to coffee or travel mugs. The word “red” in itself is very common on Internet-based businesses. Plus mug has other meanings, including your face.

There is no reserve for the auction of redmug.com , and the opening bud starts at US$28. The auction will be on Wednesday, September 16 at 2:00 pm ET, 1:00 pm CT. You must register with Bido to participate in the auction. Even if you’re just interested in watching it, the Bido site has some unique features, like the 2-step, secure login process, which rivals ING Direct, in my humble opinion.

See you at Bido on September 16, and bid early and often on redmug.com!


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Register Misspellings for Double Letters in Domain Names

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 04:00 AM with 4 comments

Don’t be like Rod Blagojevich.

You’re probably wondering why I am suggesting this, to not be like the impeached and shamed former governor of Illinois. But I am not talking about the corrupt way he ran the Land of Lincoln, rather I am warning about the missed opportunity when the domain name for his new Web site was registered.

It was announced over this past weekend that Blago had a new Web site at GovernorRod.com. Note I provide the link but I also advise caution in clicking over to it, especially for those whose morals are on the high end, but I digress. When I heard the Web site URL, the first thing that popped into my mind, as a domain name consultant and someone who thinks about domain names more than I should, is if he – or his PR people – bought the common misspelling of the domain name, governorod.com, which only has one “r” in it. As I am writing this, you can guess they did not.

Many domain names are the combination of words or names. When you have one of those words ending with the same letter as the next word begins with, it is common for someone manually typing the domain name to type that letter only once. For example, if the world’s largest software company got into the business of making salt-water candy, they may register the domain name microsofttaffy.com. It is recommended they also register microsoftaffy.com, and it can be also taken further to account for the double “f” in taffy as well.

What often happens is if you don’t register the domain name, someone else may. It is one thing if your name contains trademarked words or names, but if it contains generic names or words and is not trademarkable, a competitor may jump on it and potentially take some of your business. As I have said many times, in the grand scheme of things, domain names are cheap – register them all and monitor traffic to them.

In the case of the narcissistic former governor, I checked to see if governorod.com was registered the morning after the announcement, and it was not. This meant I had the opportunity to register it myself, but as I am glad he is out of office, I was not interested in going there! I was not alone in my thinking though, as several hours later someone else registered the domain name, and it is now pointing to a parked domain Web page. There may be a case here for the indicted former politician and his handlers to win this domain name in a UDRP filing, but that will surely cost a heck of a lot more than registering the domain name new. As Blago is rumored to already be in debt for his legal issues to date, he may not be afford to file for the domain name as well as maintain his hair-do.

Registering misspellings of domain names is almost as important as registering the actual domain name, especially if it is prone to errors. And in case it isn’t blatantly obvious to you, I am proud to say I never, ever thought for a moment of voting for this guy to lead the state where I live.


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Use A Personal Email Address In Your Social Media Profile

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, August 05, 2009 at 04:00 AM with 3 comments

Welcome to the land of Misfit Profiles – a place where profiles for social media sites go to languish when somebody uses their work email as their only profile email address, and then leave that employer, never to regain that profile again!

The other day I was browsing my LinkedIn connections and found some odd profiles. There were some people who had 2 profiles – one only complete to a certain point, and another complete up to now. When I looked at one colleague’s incomplete profile, it had an email address on it from his previous employer. Where there is a way of combining 2 LinkedIn accounts my guess is for most people they just abandon the old account and start anew. When I looked at the more current profile for my colleague, it had the email address of his current employer.

Most social media sites use email addresses to authenticate a person. If you use a work address – or any email address that you give up at some point – you may lose access to your account. This is why I continue to advocate using your own domain name for your personal email. I take this a step forward by advocating using your own email address with your own domain name for social media sites. If you change jobs or Internet providers, you don’t have to go through hoops to regain your account. That is, if the social media site even has hoops for you to go through.


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Join Mike Maddaloni for Domain Name Chat on Bido on Tuesday July 14

By Mike Maddaloni on Thursday, July 09, 2009 at 04:00 AM with 5 comments

Bido logoNext Tuesday, July 14, I will be the guest speaker in the chat room during the live domain name auction on Bido. Bido is a unique “social auction platform” which offers for auction one domain name a day exclusively on the Web. You don’t have to bid on a domain name to participate in the live chat, but you do need to register.

The domain name to be auctioned is unlock.info. The term "unlock" has a high degree of meaning in the world of mobile devices, as a device is either locked to a particular provider or unlocked and can be used on any provider. I have written on locked vs. unlocked mobile devices before and I only own and use those unlocked.

I am looking forward to joining the conversation on domain names, mobile technology and Internet services during the chat on Bido. If you have never participated in a domain name auction I encourage you to check it out.


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Is pizza.nyc More Valuable than pizza.com?

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 04:00 AM with 5 comments

There is momentum around New York City getting its own generic top-level domain (gTLD) - .nyc. The team organizing it, dotNYC LLC even has a ringing endorsement by former mayor Ed Koch. Where there has been a lot of controversy about the mass unveiling of gTLDs, this one has a lot of traction and makes a lot of sense to me, especially for a city of 8 million plus people.

So this got me thinking – which would be a more valuable domain name, pizza.com or pizza.nyc?

Last year pizza.com was sold in auction, and the price was reported to be around the US$2.6Million it sold for earlier. There is a Web site at pizza.com that has the tagline of “everything about pizza” but isn’t a compelling Web site, especially to someone like myself who 1) designs and develops Web site, 2) is 100% Italian American and 3) has eaten quite a bit of pizza in his time! I am not quite sure of the revenue model here; I can perform what is a Google search through the site for pizzerias, but you can’t order a pizza directly through the Web site.

When I think of pizza.nyc, all I think of is opportunity. The competition for this domain name will be significant, with parties from within New York City and beyond. The name recognition will almost be automatic in the City as there will be other .nyc domain names plastered throughout the city and people will start to naturally go to whatever dot nyc to get to a product or service. Then there is revenue. Pizza.com could be one pizza chain or a consortium of many. Whether it is direct or affiliate sales, there is definitely opportunity to make money from pizza in a city where people are passionate about their pizza.

This is not to say there is not opportunity for pizza.com. I do not have any insight or knowledge into its owners or their business model. What I am saying is based on what I see – both from what pizza.com is and what pizza.nyc can be.

What do you think? Are you in the pizza business? Are you a resident of New York City? Or do you just buy pizza? We’d like to know.


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