Did Chicago Olympics Committee Register Domain Name For New Tag Line

By Mike Maddaloni on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 04:00 AM with 1 comments

photo of Chicago 2016 Olympics bid signThe International Olympics Committee is now touring the candidate cities for the 2016 Summer Olympics, and their first stop was Chicago a few weeks ago. Everywhere you looked throughout the Windy City, there were signs promoting the games coming here in 7 years. There were also a few signs against it, but that’s a topic for another time.

The signage was branded with the Chicago 2016 logo and imagery, as shown in the accompanying picture, which is at the corner of State and Madison Streets. It also features the recently changed tag line, “Let Friendship Shine,” which replaced the former one, “Stir The Soul.” Apparently the old tag line did not translate well into other languages. As someone who thinks about domain names as much as I do, I wondered if the Chicago Olympics Committee registered the domain names for the new tag line. From the looks of the registration data and registered domain names, it is not 100% clear if they did or not.


photo of Chicago 2016 Olympics tag line - Let Friendship Shine

Searches of the WHOIS database using DomainTools show registrations for letfriendshipshine.com, .net, .org and .us. There was no registration for the other “primary” TLDs of .biz and .info. I did not extend the search beyond these TLDs. Looking at the registrants of these domain names, the .com and .org have private registration on them, which is a service to mask the true owner of the domain name. The .net is registered to a company in Chicago, and the .us is registered to an individual in Chicago. All 4 domain names point to parked pages which display advertising.

I then looked up the registration of the main Chicago Olympics Committee domain name, chicago2016.org, and its registrant was also masked by private registration, and the same one as letfriendshipshine.com and .org. It can be inferred these 2 domain names are owned by the Committee. I did not contact them to ask. As for the others, it can be inferred they are not.

Part of the reason for being inquisitive surrounds the registration of chicago2016.com, which was registered prior to the .org by an individual in Chicago. It is tied to a Web site offering a fair and balanced economic discussion about the Olympics coming to Chicago. The Chicago Olympics Committee filed a case to win back the name, but lost. Perhaps they did their diligence this time and got the domain names before the new tag line was announced.

If they do own the domain names, 2 questions come to mind. Why not register all available TLDs? In the grand scheme of things, domain names are cheap! Also, why not use them? A quick Google search found zero results for the official Chicago Olympics Web site for “let friendship shine.” Where getting the name to protect the brand is smart, actually using it can return great results in your investment.


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Your Twitter URL Should Have Your Own Domain Name

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, April 17, 2009 at 12:46 PM with 2 comments

Twitter profile for thehotironThere’s no shortage of information or advice on the use of Twitter. Allow me to add something I have not seen elsewhere – make sure the URL for your Web site in your Twitter profile has your own domain name in it.

When people customize their profile and backgrounds in Twitter, they can add a link under “more info URL” to any Web site, blog, service, etc. Some also suggest you link to a unique Twitter landing page. Whatever you link to is your choice, and this is not something I am choosing to discuss here. My recommendation is the actual URL be to a domain name you own – not to another service, but to a domain name registered by you. For my own Twitter profile, it points to my blog, The Hot Iron.

Why own your own domain name? I have talked about this at length before and the beauty of it is you can use that domain name in any number of ways. It can redirect to another URL, such as your Twitter page or LinkedIn profile. You can also customize your hosted blog at WordPress to use your own domain name. You can also customize Gmail to use it instead of gmail.com. Even more beautiful is the fact that you can switch Web hosts, blog services or even email to another provider all while keeping your same URL and email address! If you have ever moved and did not have postal mail forwarded, think of it as a permanent address.

Your own domain name further brands you. What you choose for a domain name is up to you and is a topic for another time. Just as long as you have the domain name itself, people will be able to identify and reach you with ease.


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What Is A TLD And Why Should You Care

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, April 13, 2009 at 04:00 AM with 1 comments

What is a TLD and why should you care? If you have anything to do with the Internet or are a businessperson, you should know what it is.

TLD stands for “top-level domain” and is the last part of a domain name. For example, in the domain name thehotiron.com, the TLD is “com.” Where those who register and manage domain names use the acronym frequently, many others do not. As I plan on using it in many future blog posts on domain names, I wanted to define it ahead of time.

The acronym is sometimes used by itself or it can be prefixed by other letters to further quality a type of TLD. A gTLD is a “generic” top-level domain, and generic means anyone can register a domain name with a gTLD. Examples are .com, .net and .org. A ccTLD is a “country-code” TLD, and are ideally for entities which reside in a specific country. Examples are .us, .au (for Australia) and .dk (for Denmark). An sTLD is a “sponsored” TLD and they are only available to certain groups or classifications. Examples are .aero (for the air transport industry), .coop (for cooperative associations) and .museum (for museums). For a complete list of TLDs, view the list from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) for all global TLDs.

Knowing about other TLDs is helpful in choosing domain names to register or in analysis of a URL with a TLD you may not be familiar with. Each TLD is managed by an organization which sets the rules for registrations. For example, some ccTLDs require the registrant to be based in that country, and others do not. If you are a business and have operations or sales in a country, it may be of interest to register the name of your business or brand with a specific ccTLD or sTLD as appropriate.

TLDs of all forms are approved and assigned by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). There have been cases where a TLD was requested but not approved, and a notable example is .xxx and .sex. Some TLDs have been retired, such as .cs (for Czechoslovakia), which were replaced by .cz (for Czech Republic) and .sk (for Slovak Republic).

Of interest to many is a move by ICANN to open the floodgates on any gTLD. For example, .pizza, .beer or .gum. This has been met with much controversy, as it would require an effort for a company to register its name and brands with all new gTLDs, and the opportunity for violation of trademarks by entities who may register domain names with their brand for some random gTLD. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), which is a staunch defender of its brand for the word “Olympics” globally, has already contacted ICANN with its concern over open gTLDs and to “take action” as required. My guess is the IOC would have an issue with a name like olympics.beer?

In the future, I will reference this document on TLDs in other posts here at The Hot Iron as well as follow-up on news and activities surrounding TLDs, especially the opening of gTLDs.


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Domain Names Cure Long URL Paths

By Mike Maddaloni on Monday, March 09, 2009 at 04:00 AM with 2 comments

By its definition, a URL – or uniform resource locator – directs you to the exact location of content on a Web site. Depending on the domain name, structure and naming standards of a Web site, a Web page URL can be short or extremely long. Maybe even too long to be useful?

The photo below is of an ad I saw recently on a Chicago subway car, featuring a URL for the Women’s Sports Foundation’s GoGirlGo! Chicago program.

photo of GoGirlGo! Chicago subway ad

Where I normally would feel bad for calling out something for a non-profit organization, it appears to be well-funded and founded by tennis legend Billie Jean King, so I feel it is my duty to talk about it.

Now close your eyes and see if you remember the Web site. Well? Did you get it verbatim? Now imagine bouncing around on an Orange Line car on the way to Midway airport, and see if you can remember it any easier!

This is a perfect example of acquiring an additional domain name and use it on the advertising, where it would point directly to the desired page. Now close your eyes and see if you can think of some short, catchy and easy-to-remember domain names? Probably a little easier than remembering the printed URL, whether you’re on the Orange Line or not.

Where your main Web site URL can be whatever you choose, keep in mind how you will be using it, and if it doesn’t work well in a certain medium – whether printed in the newspaper or a poster or spoken on the radio or TV – the small cost of an additional domain name can do wonders for driving traffic from the offline world.


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Domain Names Are Case Insensitive

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 04:00 AM with 3 comments

Did you know domain names are case insensitive? Had you even thought about it?

This is a question I have been asked a few times, so I thought I’d write about it and share with all. From a technical standpoint, domain names ignore case. Therefore, it you are typing in a domain name in a browser, you can use uppercase or lower case letters and it won’t matter. For a more technical description, read this article from the Internet Engineering Task Force on domain name case.

Why this question comes up is when people are presenting a domain name in print, whether in paper form or on a Web page or a PDF document. Typically this is if they want to capitalize one or more names that make up a domain name. For example, the domain name for The Hot Iron can be presented and entered into a browser as thehotiron.com, TheHotIron.com, theHotIron.com… you get the gist of it.

URLs May Be Case Sensitive

Despite the domain name being case insensitive, a URL may be case sensitive. The domain name portion will not be, but on some Web servers, the remainder of the URL may have both uppercase and lowercase characters, and you will need to be careful to enter them properly.

If you are planning on displaying a domain name on a billboard, be as creative as you’d like and mix character case all you want. If you are planning on displaying a URL on a banner… well, on second thought get another domain name to redirect to that URL.


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Use Domain Names To Directly Navigate Within A Large Web Sites

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, January 06, 2009 at 04:10 AM with 3 comments

Web sites can vary in size. In some cases, you may want to take a Web visitor deep within a Web site without having them click multiple times to navigate through content they don’t need to see. You can do this 2 ways – 1 way is to publish a long URL that is to the exact location of the content, the other is to use a domain name that redirects to that long URL.

This came to mind recently when I saw a commercial for Shell promoting a concept called “Real Energy” where at the end they displayed the following URL verbatim:

shell.com/us/realenergy

The announcer read the URL as follows:

“Shell dot com US real energy”

Note the announcer did not read the slashes! Where this is not incorrect, wouldn’t it have been more effective if it was displayed and read as shellrealenergy.com? Note that as of this writing, this is an unregistered domain name.

If this domain name was used, it could have server multiple purposes. On a quick Web search, there are other versions of this commercial for other countries. By going to one domain name, it could have first loaded a Web page that could have detected where the Web visitor was coming from and automatically directed them to the appropriate country’s Web page? Or it could have displayed a map or list of countries for the Web visitor to select from.

One address, multiple destinations, all thanks to a domain name. I wonder if Shell will go out and register the domain name now?


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Manage You Own Short URLs For Fun and Profit

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, December 12, 2008 at 08:15 AM with 7 comments

psURL logoYears ago I read an interview of Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee where he said he was surprised people and business would promote URLs, displaying them in print, advertising, et. al. Not surprising as the idea of the Web is all about linking. Some URLs are better for this as they are short and easy to remember, and others are long and cumbersome.

It is the long URLs that are made easy with services that all you to create a unique, short URL that redirects to the long one. This presumably started to make them easy to type and handle, and they became exponentially popular with short messaging services like Twitter. And Twitter actually automatically rewrites short URLs using the original service, TinyURL.

But have you seen some of these URLs? Where in some cases you can pick a text string, most common ones are taken and the new URL is structured as a domain name followed by random characters. It is short but not memorable. And do you have control over it? Unfortunately no. That is, unless you manage your own.

This is exactly what I decided to do – create a Web application for creating and managing short URLs. I call it psURL.com. For example, the short URL to the Dunkirk Systems, LLC Web site is http://psurl.com/dk. You’re probably wondering why anyone would want to do this? Here’s a few compelling reasons:

  • Control your own destiny – I have written on controlling your own destiny before and it something I firmly believe in, especially in turbulent economic times.
  • Brand your short URLs – You can choose your own domain name to synchronize branding with your company and give further meaning to them.
  • Choose the URL string – No need for random characters, as what goes after the domain name is under your control.
  • They can be changed – Did the long URL itself go away, or do you want to redirect the short URL to something else? You have the ability to easily change the destination URL.
  • They are measurable – From basic logging and reporting to third-party analytics tool integration, you can measure them like any Web page or Web site.
  • You can monetize them – Where this is not in place right now, it is possible to add interstitial pages to display ads before redirection is complete to the final URL.

Dunkirk Systems, LLC has developed the first release of its short URL application and is offering this as a hosted service. Of course you would have to choose your own domain name, but many good names are still available. Whether you choose to manage your own short URLs or not, it is good to know this is an option that works to your advantage.


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A Domain Name Registration I Wish I Couldn’t Have Made

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, August 29, 2008 at 08:17 AM with 3 comments

Yesterday I acquired the registration of a domain name I wish I wasn’t able to have made – bostonjaycees.org. Allow me to explain.

Back in 1997 I originally registered this domain name for the Boston Jaycees, an international, not-for-profit community service organization for young people between the ages of 21 and 40. I had recently joined and offered to build its first Web site. Over the years the Web site served as the main communication link for the chapter, especially when we decided to suspend printing a paper-based newsletter, and grew our email list to well over 600 people. I ran the Web site myself for a number of years, handing it off to our more than capable Administrative Vice President.

The Boston Jaycees, and Jaycees in general, have been a big part of my life for many years. I gained a tremendous amount of experience leading the organization, both as Administrative Vice President and eventually President. As an organization whose selling point is “leadership development thru community service” I benefited from the experiences of meeting people and leaders within the community. From the programs we put on to being Santa Claus to inner-city kids for many years, I feel I gained much more than I put into it. The pinnacle of this was when we did an exchange program with the Belfast, Northern Ireland Jaycees, and I had the opportunity to speak before a packed audience at Belfast City Hall, including many political leaders. Oh, and I met my wife through the Jaycees too!

I don’t know what specifically led to the domain name not being renewed, as I haven’t been involved in the Boston chapter for many years, especially now that I am in Chicago. As part of the domain name services offered by my Internet consulting firm Dunkirk Systems, LLC, I monitor domain names to ensure they are properly renewed. I had this domain name in my monitoring system… not sure why, probably more for nostalgia. Or perhaps because I have “rescued” many domain names for similar organizations? When I saw it was not renewed, I attempted – and succeeded – in acquiring the domain name using SnapNames, a premium service specifically for this purpose.

Why did I acquire the domain name? It is my hope that the domain name will be used once again for a Boston Jaycees chapter. I offer to manage this domain name at no cost to the chapter, just as I do for the Chicago Jaycees today, to ensure it is used for its intended purpose. I made an attempt to contact someone at the organization but never got a reply. I hope to be contacted soon, and can be done so through the contact form on the Dunkirk Systems, LLC Web site.


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To WWW Or Not To WWW

By Mike Maddaloni on Friday, August 08, 2008 at 09:47 AM with 0 comments

Do you need to include the “www.” when displaying a URL? This was a recent topic on Seth Godin’s blog, and reading various other blog posts and articles on the topic, the general consensus is you do not need to include the www-dot before a domain name. When someone sees a domain name all by itself, they assume it’s a Web site. But does it mean that every time you enter just a domain name you will get the Web site?

Unfortunately the answer to this is no. And it has nothing to do with marketing or how much room you have to display a domain name. It has to do with Web server and network configuration.

Here’s an example of where leaving out the www-dot will not show you the Web site. Berkshire Hathaway is the multi-billion dollar empire of Warren Buffett. Though he hangs out will his fellow top-tier billionaire Bill Gates, he shuns technology whenever possible. Berkshire Hathaway does have a Web site, albeit extremely simple. If you browse to it at http://www.berkshirehathaway.com you will be presented with the Web site. However, leave off the www-dot going to http://berkshirehathaway.com and you get an error.

The www-dot in question is called a subdomain, and is used to identify various types of servers on a domain. If you have ever configured Outlook or an email program with an email server, you probably entered a server name beginning with mail-dot. As a result, using – and not using – the www-dot subdomain needs to be configured. It needs to be addressed within the network domain configuration as well as the Web server or servers. It must be configured and tested properly, as leaving off the www-dot can be configured to take you to an altogether different Web site!

Why not take this time to check your own Web sites and blogs to see if they pass the test of leaving off the www-dot. And while you’re at it, check your vendors, partners and even competitors. Good luck telling them if doesn’t work – I emailed Berkshire Hathaway over a month ago when I first saw this problem, and it still exists.


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Domain Name Blogs I Read

By Mike Maddaloni on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 09:03 PM with 0 comments

As someone asked me for a list of the domain name blogs I read, I thought it best to post it here on The Hot Iron, as others may be interested in them as well.

Here they are, in domain name alphabetic order:

CircleID - Very thorough discussion on Internet infrastructure including domain names
Conceptualist.com - By Sahar Sarid, a great blog by a domainer and founder of Bido.com, as well as great insight into business and entrepreneurship
Daily Domainer - Good domain news and accompanying mailing list for domain news and alerts
Direct Navigation - Good domain name news, including “taken or not” contests
Dominik Mueller’s Blog - Good news and insight from an experienced domainer
DN Cartoons - Domainers laugh at themselves
DN Hour - The Digg for domain name content
DNXpert - Good domain name news from the author of the Domaining Manifesto
DNZoom - Blog for an excellent domain name management tool
Domain Bits - Good news and information from Jeff Behrendt
Domainer's Gazette - Good news and information from Peter
Domain Name News - One of the best news sources from Frank Michlick and Illinois’ own Adam Strong
Domain News Wire - A good news and information source
Domain Name Industry News - A good domain name and Internet news source
DomainTools Blog - Updates on the DomainTools service and industry information
Dot Sauce - The blog is just part of the information offered on this fast-growing domain name resource
Elliot’s Blog - Domain name developer Elliot Silver’s blog provides insight into his own business and the industry
What’s Your Name.com - News and insights from inside a domain register by Kellie Peterson at name.com
Rick’s Blog - “Domain King” Rick Schwartz’s blog, with frank domain name and business news and opinion
Seven Mile - Domainer guru Frank Schilling’s blog, though it hasn’t been updated in months
SuccessClick - Stephen Douglas’s blog with good domain name news
The Domains - Good industry and news source
Whizzbang’s Blog - Domainer Michael Gilmour’s blog is part of the information sharing, including an archive and forum

A final note – while this list is extensive, I have to admit I don’t always read every post in its entirety, and this also applies to blogs and feeds I read in general. Many of these blogs have links to others.

Please let me know your thoughts on any of these, as well as any others I may want to read.


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