Choosing Your Snap! Websites Domain Name

Alexis Wilke's picture

I have been around for a while, as you may have guessed, and this is a subject that comes up quite often... What domain name should I get for my company?

As you can see, this website is called Snap! Websites. The name of the product is Snap! and it is all about you creating a website online. Already guessing the answer for your website?

The answer is very simple: What is the name of your company? That's the domain you want. Period.

For those of you who are doing this as an individual, you want to choose between your full name, which is generally a good idea1, and the name of your services or products. Using the name of your service or product for your company is not a bad idea if you have many different types of products like us. At times, you just want to use a sub-directory or a sub-domain name like Google does for most of their products.

Using tricks, such as purchasing mispeled domain names, will generally not help you unless you already get huge traffic or you expect so. Do you have a business with 7 million customers? No? Then drop it.

Okay, you may still want to cover yourself... In case of Made to Order Software, the domain is the acronym m2osw. You may notice that after the '2' there is the letter 'O'. The English language has a problem with that letter because it is often used as the number zero. They both look alike: O & 0. Although in other languages, such as French and German, we don't do that, O is O and 0 is zero, we're in the US and the most prominent language is English. Anyway, it's hard to tell people to use the letter O after the 2 in our domain name. Thus, we got m20sw as well. We get something like 1 hit a month on that one. So money wise, it is a loss. Since we're working with the Internet a lot, we decided that would anyway be a good idea to have... You can try them both, you will see that it works as you would expect:

As you may notice, the second one will convert to the first one automatically when accessing the web server. However, the company doesn't accept emails on it. Too bad, will bounce. That just means a lot less duplication of spam emails for us.

A fun one to test is Google. Although their search engine is Google with two O's, they also got the URLs with 1 and 3 O's, just in case. The following works all the same:

They had more before (up to 10 O's), but they probably figured that pretty much no one would misspell so badly that they needed more than what they have now.

How do I get my Snap! Website domain?

You have several ways to check for the availability of a domain. One of the simplest way is to use our Whois on the right site of this post2.

For Mac OS/X, Linux and other Unix users, you can open a console and type whois <URL> and hit enter. You will get information about the domain name or a message that the domain name is not registered with Whois3.

One last way is to go to your favorite domain name reseller. Personally, I use GoDaddy to purchase my domain names. It's cheap and very reliable. They have search capabilities too, including a Whois option to know who owns a registered domain name.

Again, don't over do it. Choose something simple and as close as possible to your company, product or service name. If your name is very long, find an expected short version for it. Remember that you can use dashes in the name. So is taken, but you could use for your own product or service. Some people also have used a dash between each letter like in

Remember that there is a wide choice of extensions. .com is probably the best if you have a company. Others well known extensions are .net, .org, .info, .biz, .name and .ws. When you check with GoDaddy, it generally tells you immediately which ones are already taken and which are still available.

Update 2010/09/22

MaxMind offers a whois that accesses many more databases worldwide. If whois does not return the answer you were expecting, you may want to test with their demo website:

MindMax - GeoIP | IP Address Locator Demo

  • 1. The reason to use your name is simple: If I know you for selling product A and later you try to sell me product B, I'll already know who you are and thus I'll already have some level of trust, especially if I purchased product A and enjoyed it. If you have different domain names for product A and product B, chances are I'll never find B by myself. If you have a domain name set to your name, I may very well come back to your website and find out about B without you having to do anything.
  • 2. Note that we limit the number of requests you can make in one hour. Don't be surprised if we ask you to wait for a bit.
  • 3. VeriSign takes care of the .com, .net and .edu and is often referenced as the Whois company since they handle the famous .com extension. Yet, by now we have a good 300 Internet extensions (one per country plus international and specialized entries.) Each countries generally handles its own names. The US is often the one handling international domain names.