Free eBook: Business Domain Names Written by Steve Baba
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The key to having most trademark protection is to choose an unrelated, arbitrary word. Descriptive words, such as fast, are unlikely to earn much trademark protection. Instead of fast, it may be possible to use a suggestive name such as jet, rocket, or race. With 10,000 good, short, easy-to-spell dictionary words, it is always possible to find one for a few thousand dollars. Shorter four or five character dictionary words are more expensive. Three character dictionary words are extremely expensive. Coined or fanciful words are words such as Exxon or Kodak that had no prior use. In theory, coined words are best from a trademark-legal point of view, since no one has used word before. Ideally, a coined word is totally new and unrelated to any other word. But, memorability requires a short name, which has led to a number of similar coined names such as Duron, Enron, and Micron, which diminishes legal advantage, since confusion is possible. LexIs sued LexUs. While legal protection is not perfect, legal protection is considered strongest of any category. But from a marketing point of view since no one has used word, coined words may be as difficult to remember as nonsense syllables. With a supply of thousands if not tens of thousands of short, coined words, it is always possible to find one for a few thousand dollars or less – often free. Because of lack of trademark protection for generic names, lack of distinctiveness, and cost of many generic domain names, many businesses have used a “generic plus” or “modified generic” naming strategy. A prefix, suffix or second word can be added to generic name. Examples of this are Carmax, CarMart, eCars, CarDepot, CarOne and CarLand. This works if generic word, such as car, is short. Longer generic names, such as CarpetCleaningMax.com, can be too long. But many of longer generic words have common abbreviations. For example, computer is often abbreviated “comp” as in CompUSA. Software is often shortened to “soft” or “ware” in names. Tech is a common abbreviation for technology, overused in names. These names range from virtually generic, eCars.cars, to nearly coined, QuanCars.com, with descriptive, suggestive and arbitrary second-words in-between. Since generic word lacks any trademark protection, trademark strength depends on trademark strength of “plus” part of name. The generic plus strategy is often an attempt to have benefits from both a generic and a distinctive name, but may have problems of both if one is not careful. At worst, it could infringe on someone's trademark based on second word such as CarsRus or CarBay. The generic part of word is usually trademark safe. Another strategy is to use two unrelated words in a name. Examples of two unrelated words are RedEnvelope.com and BlueTooth.com. The two unrelated words strategy differs from generic-plus strategy in that neither word is related to generic product. Technically red is related to envelope by being an adjective, but neither word is closely related to product or service being sold. The main advantage to this method, two unrelated words, is that it’s cheap and often free. With 30,000 single words, there are 900 million combinations of two single words (30,000 x 30,000). The main disadvantage is that two unrelated words are twice as difficult to remember as one. Two words that are commonly related to each other such as “happy birthday” or “hot wire” are easier to remember, but rare and may be as expensive as single words. From a trademark viewpoint, it could be twice as risky. It could infringe on someone's trademark based on either first or second word. If you are RedDog.com selling computers, either Red Computers or Dog Computers could consider trademark action against you. The entire book can be read at www.seemly.com.
Steve Baba has a Ph.D. in Economics and ebusiness experience. The ebook on domain names is available at www.seemly.com, for free.
8 Tips for Choosing a Domain NameWritten by David Cooper
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7) Search for Deleted Domain Names: Domain names that were once registered but have expired turn up every day. With some research you might be able to find one of these names that would be a good fit for your business. You can search for deleted domains at http://www.deleteddomains.com
8) Check for Trademarks. You should do this before registering your domain name. Search as many existing trademarks as possible and look for possible conflicts. Obviously you want to choose a name that is unlikely to cause you any legal problems. Trademark research can be done at following sites:
U.S Patent and Trademark Office - http://www.uspto.gov
Thomas Register - http://www.thomasregister.com
The Trademark Association - http://www.inta.org
Nameprotect - http://www.nameprotect.com
If you need help with researching your domain names try following websites:
1) Nameboy - http://www.nameboy.com
2) GoDaddy - http://www.godaddy.com
Both Nameboy and GoDaddy are well-known registrars and will allow you to search for and register domain names.
You can register a domain name today for less than it costs for a nice lunch. There is really no reason not to put forth effort and money to register a domain name that you can begin building your online presence with.
Your domain name is your first chance to build credibility with your visitors. Keep in mind that you never get a second chance to make a great first impression.
Remember, choosing your domain name is one of most important first steps you will take in building your online presence. Make it a step forward. Happy Hunting!
David Cooper is the editor of the 1Source-WebMarketing Newsletter. David specializes in helping people with their internet marketing efforts by offering real world tips and strategies. Subscribe to his FREE newsletter at: http://www.1source-webmarketing.com