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With ICANN set to allow the expansion of the pool of gTLDs, you can be sure that many marketers will be hearing, and thinking a lot about, domain names in the near future.
But are domain names becoming less important? Ev Williams, who started Blogger and co-founded Twitter, thinks so.
Thanks in large part to Twitter, URL shorteners, love them or hate them, are almost ubiquitous on the internet today.
When it comes to URL shorteners, Bitly was one of the early pioneers that took advantage of Twitter's growing popularity to position itself smack dab in the center of all of the social line sharing that Twitter is so often used for.
Thanks to spammers, making your email address visible on the web can be a painful mistake. Spammers, of course, often harvest email addresses using automated programs, and when doing so, they pick off the lowest hanging fruit.
One particularly tasty piece of fruit: the WHOIS database that provides access to domain registration information.
In response, many domain name registrars offer private domain registrations. With a private registration, the registrar's contact information is displayed instead of yours, leaving it harder for spammers (and shady direct marketers) to use WHOIS for nefarious purposes.
In the not-too-distant future, .com, .net and the handful of other well-known gTLDs (Generic Top-Level Domains) may be sharing the spotlight with a whole lot of new ones.
That's because ICANN, the organization which runs the domain name system, is widely expect to move forward with its plans to loosen up the system, allowing just about any organization with the resources to apply for its own gTLD.
The internet has minted a fair share of millionaires. More than a handful have made those millions buying and selling desirable domain names. Starting with the sale of business.com for $7.5m in 1999, over the years many domains have changed hands for sizable amounts -- six, seven and even eight figures.
That's not exactly surprising: domains have been likened to real estate, and when it comes to building a brick-and-mortar business, it's all about location, location, location.
Finding a good .com domain name can be tough work these days. There's a good chance that when you go to your favorite domain registrar and type in that perfect .com, it's taken.
There are, of course, alternatives to .com. And one of the alternatives receiving a big marketing push is .co.
In 2006, the domain name Sex.com was purchased by a group of investors for a reported $14m.
The buyers of Sex.com, Escom LLC, had big plans for their $14m domain name. According to a press release announcing the sale, "The new Sex.com will transform into the market-leading adult entertainment destination by offering compelling, next-generation web interaction experiences to revolutionize the industry. The new Sex.com will leverage the millions of monthly unique visitors that are already coming to the site while it continues to roll-out a host of professionally produced products and services..."
Imagine that your name is Harman Bajwa. Your Facebook profile is located at the vanity URL facebook.com/harman. You log into your Facebook account one day only to receive a message indicating that your vanity URL has been "removed for violating Facebook’s policies". This message implies that your vanity URL is unrelated to who you are, and that you've been impersonating someone or something.
That's exactly what happened to Facebook user Harman Bajwa. What gave? A message from a new Facebook 'friend' who works for agency giant Carat provided a hint.
He may not have run a $50bn ponzi scheme but the domain name industry has found its Bernie Madoff. Yesterday, it was revealed that an employee of SnapNames, a popular domain name drop service and auctioneer, had been bidding on SnapNames domain name auctions, winning valuable domains, inflating auction prices and boosting revenue for the company in the process.
All told, the employee, who was an early member of the SnapNames team and a vice president at the company, is said to have participated in 5% of SnapNames' total auctions between 2005 and 2007 and that the value of his bidding accounted for 1% of SnapNames' revenue during that time.
If you're an entrepreneur, or budding entrepreneur, making money online can sometimes seem like a real challenge. In my opinion, that's often because entrepreneurs focus on the wrong thing. They want to create a 'startup' and become the next Facebook or Twitter.
That's a tall order and, for most of us, a recipe for disappointment. But if you're willing to start out small and work hard, profit on the internet isn't so elusive.
Building a brilliant brand online requires a brilliant domain name but unfortunately, supply and demand aren't in your favor when it comes to acquiring great domains. Trying to find a catchy .com can seem as difficult as trying to catch a fly.
But that doesn't mean that the perfect domain name is out of your reach. To the contrary: when you know where to look, finding the domain you've always dreamed of can be far easier than you might imagine.
The idea that exact-match keyword domain names can be a significant ranking factor is not new. But, for me at least, the significance has always been hard to confirm for a few simple reasons.
First, it's not every day that I acquire an exact-match keyword domain for a popular search phrase. Second, I've never launched a new site on an exact-match keyword domain with the specific goal of seeing what the domain can do on its own. That makes it nearly impossible to isolate the ranking factors that are likely contributing the most to results.