New Top Level Domains create new opportunities and decisions

new-red0buttonFor years, we have had a narrow assortment of domain extensions (aka suffixes) to choose from: .COM, .NET, .EDU, .ORG and few others. Over the years, the choices have expanded to choices such as: .CO, .INFO, .BIZ, .ME, .TV and others.

Most domains have been priced at about $10/year. A couple of parameters have changed in a big way. First, some extensions are priced significantly higher. .TV, for example is about $40, annually. XXX, should you have the need for it, has a yearly cost of $100.

But yet there’s more…

New domain suffixes are being released at the pace of several, each months. A few examples having relevance to the wedding and hospitality industry are:

  • .photography
  • .menu
  • .lighting
  • .club
  • .directory
  • .camera
  • .equipment
  • .kitchen
  • .technology
  • .boutique
  • .limo
  • .photo
  • .shoes

These extensions come at different price points. .guru can be had for $40; while .photography is only $25/annually. Now, one can spend a small fortune on an infinite number of domain name extensions. In the past, search engines did not consider the extension as important in a search. Whether you owned .com, .net or .org was of no consequence.

As you might speculate, that is about to change. Owning a domain name, such as DenverWedding.Photography or LasVegasUp.Lighting will have both a cool-factor and search ranking influence.

Potential Pitfalls

ICANN, the governing body for domains is allowing both singular and plural options (such as .hotel and .hotels). One of my first web development clients was BBJ Linen. Their precise name was the singular, BBJ Linen; however, many industry professionals referred to them in the plural – i.e. “We like to thank BBJ Linens for today’s beautiful table coverings.” 

In a BBJ board room situation, there was an internal squabble about whether to buy the singular or plural. On of the owners turned to me, and said, “Andy, should we be the singular or the plural?”

With tongue, firmly in check, I said,

“Yes!… (pause for quizzical faces, and dramatic effect).. we should buy both BBJLinen.com and BBJLinens.com. You can brand yourself in the singular all day long, but when people get to their computer, they need to be directed to your website, regardless of whether they remember the name correctly, or not.”

And to this day, that $10 a year decision for buying BBJLinen.com to complement BBJLinen.com remains a smart move. Don’t let any unscrupulous competitor try to hijack traffic to your website, ROADBLOCK THEM!

I prefer GoDaddy as my domain registrar of choice. As the domain frontier expands I would encourage you to stick with domain registrars you are familiar with, directly. The best domain name management is to accumulate all your domain names with one company. It makes easy to manage your renewals.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon 
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Bridal Brokerage morphs into SkyBride

skybrideA few months ago, I posted an item about Bridal Brokerage; a company in the business of reselling services (in part or in whole) from cancelled weddings.

“Bridal Brokerage finds new couples to take over canceled wedding contracts, saving money for buyers, sellers, and wedding vendors alike.”

Source: Bridal Brokerage website

At the time, I posted my general skeptical outlook…

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Andy Ebon – quoted from Anonymous

Recently, I decided to check the Bridal Brokerage website to see if there was anything new to report. The business had quietly changed its name to Skybridal-brokerage-tileBride. The welcome screen sports a block of ten media logos with the reminder headline, “This is where you’ve seen us.”

Not Exactly

None of the logos are linked to any of the media companies. It seems if you had media coverage, you would set-up direct links to the video or website article. The absence of links may indicate the publicity was about Bridal Brokerage, not SkyBride.

WHOIS Information

eyeballs - point of viewWhat I Observe

  • The business name and domain named have changed.
  • The business model appears the same.
  • The About Us page on SkyBride.com is vague. It reads in first-person-plural ‘We’, but doesn’t name an owner or owners, specifically.
  • One can’t clearly tell whether this was an ownership change or a just a name change.
  • The only email I can find on the website is info@skybride.com
  • There are links on the About Us page for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. The Facebook text-link was dead; the logo-link worked.
  • The phone number and email address associated with the Facebook page were different from those on the website.
  • The Twitter page showed a gap in activity from May 17th to July 24th. 
  • There is a sparse YouTube Channel with three videos, from two years ago.

Analysis and Opinion

Too often, business websites feel anonymous. People like to see the names of owners and their bios. If there is a sales department, it’s good to see names, phone extensions, name-based emails (FirstLast@yourbusiness.com), and perhaps a business headshot.

It is not comfortable to be wheeling and dealing in after-market weddings on a website that lacks ownership clarity.

Whether a name-change or an ownership-change, OWN IT! The business is not dealing in last-minute cruise bookings on a major cruise line. These transactions are not simple transfers of commodities. More information about the growth and transformation of the business would be appropriate, in my judgment.

Your Comments are IMPORTANT on this topic

As a wedding business, what’s your take? How does this business model resonate with you? If you have had any experience with BridalBrokerage.com – SkyBride.com (good or bad), please leave a comment.

There are at least two other businesses with similar models. I’m going to investigate them, too.

One more recommendation/opinion

There are far more marketing options to market your business than you could possible afford or need. I think one should have a healthy skepticism of any new business. If it is a new business model, you should have an even higher level of skepticism.

Please don’t jump at the New Shiny Object. Do your homework, and choose carefully.

… Help me on this, too? If you didn’t know what SkyBride referred to, after reading this post, what it would it mean to you?

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog

TweetChatting about Domain Names, today: 10am PST

Will be the guest of Wedding Market News for a chat, today, talking about Domain Names. It will be a fast-paced exchange, hosted by Julie Albaugh, with answers by me, Andy Ebon.

Well worth your time.http://ow.ly/7ZgNz

And, should you miss the chat, there will be a transcript for download (late Wednesday).

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Blog