By Erica Bray and Jeanine Ibrahim
This is a series featuring companies that forged a partnership with a new domain when the fire in the original website name fizzled. Each chose a "not-com" domain to boost their brand online. Perhaps these stories will sound familiar, and provide inspiration to those of you wrestling with similar domain relationship woes.
Break-ups suck. Or do they?
The word itself often conjures up images of a lonely person clad in sweat pants, sobbing into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s while sitting motionless on a couch in front of a TV. But sometimes separating yourself from what you’ve known for years can be a good thing, especially when it comes to the digital world -- which is constantly evolving anyway.
Entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes are beginning to break up with their old 'dot-com' and 'dot-net' website names. They’re ditching them for newer “not-com” domain endings such as 'dot-deals' (.deals), 'dot-photography' (.photography), 'dot-business' (.business) -- among hundreds more.
These “not-com” options have been rolling out since 2014, and all remain widely available. They offer you a more direct, concise and descriptive approach to choosing a website name, or URL, to match your business. Not-coms also help make a company’s domain name more memorable to consumers -- and we all know how brand recall can leads to increased sales.
Read on for domain break-up stories that had entrepreneurs weeping happy tears when they left 'dot-com' or 'dot-net' domain for a not-com.
Positioning the brand for growth: www.SoulCamp2014.com --> www.Soul.camp
When Ali Leipzig and Michelle Goldblum, co-founders of Soul Camp, launched their business website in 2014, they picked a domain that they thought was appropriate for a camp they assumed would be a one-hit wonder: www.SoulCamp2014.com.
Their first adults-only sleep-away camp proved so successful -- and has since been written about by the likes of Travel + Leisure, ABCNews and BuzzFeed – that they knew they had a long-term business on their hands. That meant that they needed to ditch the “2014.” So they seized a ‘dot-camp’ (.camp) domain once they learned about it, and love the simplicity of their new website name. “We go through a whole spiel of like, ‘Dot-com is so 2014,” jokes Goldblum.
Adding professional polish: www.CincyAcupunctureClinic.com --> www.CincinnatiAcupuncture.clinic
When Inesa Zelepuhin, an acupuncturist with 18 years of experience, opened her clinic in Cincinnati in 2015, she couldn’t secure the ‘dot-com’ domain she wanted. Like many businesses coming online today, that domain was already taken. So Zelepuhin settled for something that she says never quite conveyed the professionalism she desired.
When the ‘dot-clinic’ (.clinic) option emerged, however, she saw it as an opportunity to elevate her online brand. “Our new domain name stands out from other competitors before potential clients even see the website,” she says.
Erasing buyer’s remorse: www.IcarusPhoto.net --> www.Icarus.photos
Professional photographer Katy Lengacher was never satisfied with her ‘dot-net’ website name, something she settled on because her first-choice ‘dot-com’ was already taken. “It reminded me of something that I didn’t get,” she says.
Lengacher had a chance to create a clean slate when a variety of photography-specific “not-com” options started coming online in 2014: ‘dot-photography’ (.photography), ‘dot-camera’ (.camera), ‘dot-pictures’ (.pictures) and ‘dot-photos’ (.photos).
Lengacher happily choose Icarus.photos. “Having a unique domain that describes what I’m thinking about, doing and breathing all day was a no-brainer,” she says. “It’s the perfect new branding identity tool.”
Serving as a role model for innovation: www.SustainableValleyTechnology. com --> www.SustainableValley.technology
Sustainable Valley Technology Group is a start-up accelerator based in southern Oregon. Co-founded in 2010 by Jessica Gomez, a local entrepreneur with her own successful business, the non-profit recently switched to a ‘dot-technology’ (.technology) domain to mirror the innovation it hopes to inspire in the start-ups under its umbrella.
“When we established the company, we used the traditional ‘dot-com’ [.com] ending because that is what people are used to seeing,” says Gomez. “When we found that ‘dot-technology’ [.technology] was available, we switched over because it seemed to fit better with our image and mission.”
Streamlining to cool and concise: www.ShopWrapLife. com --> www.TheWrap.life
The website name ShopWrapLife. com wasn’t Nnenna Stella’s first choice for her lifestyle brand, The Wrap Life. But when she launched her company in January 2014, her desired domain, TheWrapLife. com, was taken.
At the time, she didn't know a viable not-com option existed. When she learned about 'dot-life' (.life), however, she jumped to buy it and ultimately switched her online shop's domain name to TheWrap.Life.
"‘Dot-life’ [.life] is perfect for a lifestyle brand like mine,” she says. “It just fits. It’s savvy, hip and new.”
At the end of her first year in business, the site got a huge boost in sales thanks to social media users sharing her products online during the holiday season. Stella also says migrating to the more concise, cool-looking domain 'dot-life' contributed to the increase.
“It’s the actual address of how customers find us. Having a domain that’s short and to the point makes it easier to remember,” she says. “I love that mine, TheWrap.life, is the exact name of my business — no hyphen or ‘dot-net’ or ‘dot-com.’”