Description is key to a big hit

The key to establishing a successful e-commerce brand is a descriptive name, not a company name, according to Walsh Simmons Interactive.

The Manchester-based marketing communications agency – with blue chip clients in Internet banking, insurance and car leasing – has just registered over 3,000 .com and .co.uk domain names. They are either generic or descriptive of financial services, eg. www.onlinecarloans, or www.directisas.co.uk.

Steve Walsh, partner at Walsh Simmons, says three years ago the company registered the name www.quote.co.uk plus a number of others – including offers, bargains, and deals – as it anticipated using them for online products. Although there were no sites attached, the names still attracted hits; it seems users guess domain names in order to bypass search engines.

“Brand names on the Internet are all very well,” says Walsh. “But the way the Internet works in this instant culture means that domain names will become more description-driven. We did some work with Yahoo!, Altavista and Lycos identifying the most used words when searching for travel sites. They were deals; holiday; bargain; late; and offers. So we built holidaydeals.com for Co-Op Travelcare, and were getting dozens of hits before we even launched it.”

Walsh Simmons is not anticipating a wholesale stock clearance of unused names in the future. The majority of them will be used as pointers to other sites it develops.

Domain registration company, NetNames, has become MSN LinkExchange’s first UK partner. LinkExchange offers Web-marketing tools aimed at small companies. Until now, it has only been available through the business channel at MSN.co.uk. LinkExchange allows small Website owners to register with up to 400 search engines and directories; track a site’s ranking on major search engines; create online customer lists and electronic mailings, and advertise free throughout its ad-banner network of 400,000 sites.

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