Go on to any site like www.register.com, type in your requested name and realize that you most likely won't find it. A techie friend told me that all four-letter domains with a .com extension are taken. I've researched but found no stats to back that up. However, I spent countless hours typing four-letter combinations in and found nothing--well, nothing relevant to the English language.
Prior to my current post at eBrains, I had a company named Brand Truth. To my dismay, that domain name was taken. So I decided to take www.brand-truth.com. Life is not good in a hyphenated world. People found the company mostly by searching on Google and Yahoo. So why would a branding gal like me opt for the ugly hyphen, you ask? I had no other choice. I had to consider several factors: Would people type in the domain without a hyphen? If they did, was that particular site a competitor or similar in any way? How would people find the site? Would the site be a destination of sorts? What was the overall communications goal of the site? You get the drift. So what about other extensions like .us and the new .travel extensions? I guess the jury is still out. Do you lock it up to be preventative? Will consumers intuitively search such domains? How will they find your site? Will you tag ads with that new URL? My gut instinct is to lock it up before someone else does.
I remember back in the day I had some nutty friends that went on a domain buying spree. A few years later they were cashing in on selling such domains. I think about that now. I wonder if (now) free screen names for instant messaging programs will soon become paid names? Or e-mail addresses? Seems like anyone could sign up for a free e-mail service through Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo et al with a brand name. For instance, firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's your take on the clutter of domain names? I just found a registrar called pcNames that had recently announced 3-character and dictionary search tools. According to a press release, the company said that there are 40,000 3-character and 5,000 dictionary domains listed in the search tool. These lists are made up of all available domains including .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz, and .us. Since manual searching through every word in the dictionary or every possible 3-character combination to find an available one is a tedious endeavor, pcNames.com has developed and released the complete list of all available 3-character and dictionary domains.
This intrigued me. When I looked around to see just how many active domains there are out there I found, to no surprise, that the U.S. has the most--38,709,506. Germany (3,312,772), The U.K. (2,651,810) and Canada (2,497,141) are behind. (Source: http://www.webhosting.info/domains/country_stats/US).
Have you been asked by clients to find domain names? Have you encountered the same problem? Do you have any tricks or tips you could share with us? Well, I guess a domain by any other name is not the same.