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Q: Using a prefix on a web page ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   7 Comments )
Subject: Using a prefix on a web page
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: 1722-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 03 Mar 2003 21:11 PST
Expires: 02 Apr 2003 21:11 PST
Question ID: 170343
I'd like to form a company and stake out domain names. The company
will have a variety of related aspects. In order to pin down domain
names in each of these "subsidiary" types, should I go about
purchasing all that I can think of in the .com, .net and .org realms?

Here's a fictitious example: I'm selling baseball goods at (note my use of a hypen after bazeball).This
means I'm selling bats, balls, gloves, hats, chewing gum, etc. --
everything related to baseball. I want to drive people to different
sites where they would "try things on," so it's a fairly sophisticated
interactive concept. Importantly, I want to completely brand the
unique name "bazeball," which would be bery bery good to me (just

The basic question is two-fold: Is it necessary to start staking a
claim on domain names with everything I can think of relating to my
new company, I really want to make the name "bazeball"
recognizable. However, I will have gone about purchasing everything
under the sun related to bazeball-____. And while this might corner
the market on all things bazeball, maybe I should have just purchased
one site and developed subsites that linked to In
other words, where would I draw the line? The balls themselves
(, the bats (, the gloves
( are main categories. Maybe I should just
purchase those. And what do you think of my putting a hyphen after
bazeball? It's my way of getting the unique name distinguished, but
will I run into trouble?

Your last answer was great. I upped the payment on this one so I could
get a pretty thorough response. Please let me know in detail. Thank

Request for Question Clarification by snapanswer-ga on 04 Mar 2003 21:02 PST
Are you hoping for an answer from a specific researcher?

This statement at the end of your question leads me to think it is a possibility:
"Your last answer was great. I upped the payment on this one so I could
get a pretty thorough response."

I want to be certain before I post an unwanted answer.

Clarification of Question by 1722-ga on 04 Mar 2003 23:01 PST
Request for Question Clarification by snapanswer-ga on 04 Mar 2003 21:02 PST 
Are you hoping for an answer from a specific researcher? 
No, all comers OK -- and I'm getting 'em. Thanks for the collective participation!
Subject: Re: Using a prefix on a web page
Answered By: snapanswer-ga on 05 Mar 2003 17:02 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
  To answer your first question about whether or not you need to
purchase .com , .org , and .net here is my suggestion:  The most
important one to get is .com because it is the one that people will
assume you have.  For example, if someone says "Go to Yahoo, Amazon,
Google, Ebay, etc." everyone takes the .com for granted.  In my
opinion, you only need to consider .org and .net if the name you hope
to use is taken as a .com and you cannot think of an alternative.  I
urge you to find a name that has .com available.  It is worth it.

  In this way, it is similar to a toll free phone number.  "800" is
the "prime real estate" because everyone recognizes that as a toll
free number.  This causes less confusion.  In addition, it makes it
easier to remember, because one barely needs acknowledge the "800"
portion of the phone number.  On the other hand, if it's an 888, 866,
or 877 toll free prefix, it's just not quite as memorable.

  If you want .org and .net in addition to .com, that's fine.  But, it
is not mandatory.  For example, Yahoo has all three while Amazon does
not.  If you have .com and then begin marketing "", I
doubt you would lose people accidentally typing in .net or .org. 
There is nothing to prompt them to do that.

  Your next question is about the hyphen in the domain name.  I
strongly urge you to avoid having a hyphen.  It makes your domain and
site more difficult to type, more difficult to use, and more difficult
to tell others about.  For example, when someone asks for the email
address, you might be  This dash or
hyphen can be confused at times by the person on the "other end of the
phone."  Whenever possible, keep your domain name short and all

  Instead of "" I would suggest you consider a
subdomain strategy, such as,,,
etc.  These subdomains do not require additional annual registration
fees and they are either inexpensive or free to set up with most web
hosting providers.  They generally also improve your listings in
search engines provided that they link to genuine content and do not
simply refer you to the home page.

  In the event your web host charges you to set up subdomains, it is a
one-time service charge instead of a recurring annual registration
fee.  You may want to check with your potential web host providers
about how they handle subdomains during your evaluation of them.

One company that uses this subdomain strategy very effectively is also uses this approach.  You may want to look
at these examples: Subdomains Subdomains

If you prefer, you can explore the "subdirectory" strategy mentioned
by denco-ga.  That is easy to setup and maintain.  Unfortunately,
though, you might be surprised by how confusing the "/" is to people. 
"Should it be "\" or "/" or what was it again?  Slash what? 
Backslash, forward slash?"

You need not simply take my word for it.  Below, I have linked to
articles with suggestions about choosing a domain name and using

"Tips on Choosing a Good Domain Name" by Christopher Heng

"The Secrets to a Great Domain Name in 5 Easy Steps" by Joe Chapuis

"URL as UI" by Jakob Nielsen

NetMechanic:  "Promotion Tip:  Site Organization With Subdomains" by
Larisa Thomason

Search Strategy:  Utilize my background in web usability to focus

Search Terms:
tips choosing domain name usability

Jakob Nielsen choosing domain name

using subdomains

I hope that you have found this information useful and easy to
understand.  If you have any questions about this information, please
do not hesitate to post a clarification request prior to rating the
1722-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Thanks for the effort. With everyone jumping in, I got slightly more
confused -- but I'd prefer to have more information than less.
Researching on my own through suggested links, etc., may actually
crystalize the answers received. Thanks very much.

Subject: Re: Using a prefix on a web page
From: em0ry-ga on 04 Mar 2003 12:11 PST
I would focus on the brand name, the trademark you want to establish. 
I wouldn't focus on other things - does Ford cry because is taken?

Get the obvious variations; a net/org/com of whatever identity you
want to protect AFTER getting the legal work finished.  You will have
more clout if you have an actual trademark and someone infringes upon
Subject: Re: Using a prefix on a web page
From: denco-ga on 04 Mar 2003 14:05 PST
I agree with em0ry in that you should concentrate
on the trademarkable word/domain name when getting
your domain names, in other words, get,
(and .net and .org) and promote it.

Then point people to, etc.

As for the trademark (since getting the trademark
itself can take some time) I would apply for the
trademark and get the domain name at the (or as
close to as possible) same time as each other.

At least that is what I did, and it worked out nicely.
By using the applied for trademark in business through
a website presence I established an "in use" date for
the trademark itself.

I advise people to avoid the hyphen when possible,
but if that works out to be the best choice, go
with it.

All of the above said, if you find several domain
names that will work for you, such as:, etc. you might (without going
overboard...) get those and test those with people
and/or point them all to the same website.

I had one client that have moderate success with
pointing a group of domain names to their main
website, all around one general theme, such as (this
is just an example),,,
etc.  The domain names were all advertised through
various means, and since each domain name triggered
a different desire, it seemed to produce better
traffic than if just the main domain had been used.
Subject: Re: Using a prefix on a web page
From: pinkfreud-ga on 04 Mar 2003 14:10 PST
Domain names are not my area of expertise, but I would like to say
that this sentence in your question made a tired old Researcher laugh
out loud:

"Importantly, I want to completely brand the unique name 'bazeball,'
which would be bery bery good to me (just kidding)."

Thank you for the *great* SNL reference. 

I'm pinkfreud and you're not. ;-)
Subject: Re: Using a prefix on a web page
From: denco-ga on 04 Mar 2003 14:26 PST
Another thing on hyphenated domain names.  If the
domain name reads better (scans) as hyphenated,
( vs,, for instance)
get both hyphenated and nonhyphenated versions
of the domain name, point them both to your main
website, and promote the hyphenated version.

People will type (guaranteed!) in the nonhyphenated
version, but you will still get them.
Subject: Re: Using a prefix on a web page
From: easterangel-ga on 05 Mar 2003 00:08 PST
In case somebody wants to answer this, 1722-ga was referring to the
earlier work I have done. Please also refer to the comment made by
denco-ga below the answer so that the answer provided here would have
more detail.

Thanks 1722-ga!
Subject: Re: Using a prefix on a web page
From: denco-ga on 07 Mar 2003 12:26 PST
I would have to disagree with snapanswer re: subdomains vs. subdirectories.

Subdomains are not all that common (even Google's can be
reached via and when they do appear, it is in the format of's structure, wherein they control their own servers.  They have it
structured so that a "wrong" URL (such as takes you to their
search engine, etc.  I don't even want to think of the 1000s of hours that
went into structuring, etc. to work properly.

Others have more logical setups, so that they have "fixed" and (sort of)
guessable subdomains, such as, etc.  However, if
someone mistypes the subdomain (try for instance) they
will get an error message, and will not be at your site.

Without a good SysAdmin (System Administrator) you are going to have a
difficult site to manage, both from a admin and web structure viewpoint,
if you go the subdomain route.

People would be more confused by a (relatively) unfamiliar subdomain
structure than they would a (properly) structured subdirectory site.

First, people will see (read) your domain name (and subdirectory) more
than they will verbally hear about it.  They will see the slash properly,
so they will not be all that confused when they type it.  Second, with
one proper setup (which never has to modified, such as a subdomain setup
might have to be...) anything mistyped by someone looking for a specific
subdirectory, will go to a common "error" page called a "404" page, but
will still be at your web site.

The 404 page should be set up so that it includes links to all of your
subdirectories, if you chose to go that route.

Ultimately, I would probably keep it simple, get "" and promote
the main domain name and site, etc.

This includes typing in a "backslash" vs. a "forward" slash, or typing in
the wrong subdirectory name (try going to:\wrong
for instance) and so on.
Subject: Re: Using a prefix on a web page
From: snapanswer-ga on 08 Mar 2003 18:19 PST
Thank you for the rating and for the tip.  I hope the answer is useful
to you.  Denco's comment above makes valid points.  You will simply
need to consider what works for you.

As Denco points out... you can get to by going to, but, that does not hold true for,, etc.  You just need to pick a branding strategy that
works for you.

I believe that you can set it up so that a subdomain such as resolves to and to and to  In that
approach, you would have the benefit of subdomains and subdirectories.

I think the primary thrust of the answer is... avoid using a hyphen in
the name and you can avoid buying numerous domains (and renewing them)
by choosing a subdomain (or subdirectory, or combination) strategy.

Good luck with your business.

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