Sunday, September 16, 2007

Master of Your Domain (Name)

I worked for a Puzzle and Game company a few years ago as the Graphics person, helping to create the marketing materials for the company.

My last year there, the new COO decided to hire an outside firm to rebrand the company, getting away from our roots of serving smaller toy shops and gearing the company towards retailers that were major, such as Target, Wal Mart, Barnes & Noble, etc..

The firm came up with a new logo, slogan and advertising campaign. It was decided to unveil this new branding at the upcoming Toy Fair in New York, the biggest toy show of the year. They even bought a full page ad in a trade magazine to announce our new look and logo.

Well, four weeks before this grand unveiling of our new name and look and someone inquires about our domain name, did anyone secure the domain name for the new name?

The answer was no. The marketing firm thought we had secured it and the company thought that the marketing firm had taken care of this.

So the COO went to work trying to get this domain from the guy who had it. He was a former Jeopardy champion who was using it as a springboard for some kind of educational use. The end result was that he wasn't interested in giving it up, I have no idea what the COO offered him, but it was refused.

So two weeks before Toy Fair and we had to change all of our marketing materials because we embraced a new name. We changed our flyers, brochures, envelopes, letterhead and business cards. There was also packaging, for about 30 different products - it was a heck of a week.

There was one more thing that was lost during all of this, the front page advertisement on that trade magazine to be distributed at Toy Fair. The marketing and Sales team had to go around Toy Fair the morning it opened and take the front covers off of every issue of that magazine before it got into the hands of any of the readers.

This all happened because nobody bothered to look up the domain name to see if it was available. So if you are thinking about changing your businesses name or want to start a new business, learn from someone else's mistake, check on the domain name first.

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