Why These Businesses Broke Up With ‘Dot-Com’


This is the first in a series that features companies that forged a partnership ... with a new domain. When the fire in their original website names fizzled, each chose a "not-com" to boost their brand online. Perhaps these stories will sound familiar, and provide inspiration to those of you wrestling with similar domain relationship woes.

You know when it’s time to break up. The fire is out. Communication is off. The relationship is stagnant, or even worse: troublesome. It’s time for a fresh start.

Similar sentiments that apply to human relationships can be mirrored online -- with your business domain name. Perhaps you “settled” on a less-than-perfect website name because Mr. or Ms. Right URL wasn’t available? Or the URL that you thought was ooh-so perfect at the time has actually proven confusing, not only to you, but with prospective clients or customers? Or perhaps you’re just looking for the next best thing? (Hey, not judging.)

That's when “not-com” domain options might sweep you off your feet. They are the hundreds of new domain options that have been rolling out since 2014, ranging from the professional (.agency) to the category-specific (.florist) to the colorful (.guru). This new choice allows you to create a website name that is more descriptive, meaningful, memorable -- and yes, largely available. And availability, after all, is an attractive quality, especially in a domain.

Read on for why these businesses decided it was time to break up with their ‘dot-com’ or ‘dot-net’ for a not-com.

Ditching the long URL: www.AmiciCateringAZ.com --> www.Amici.catering

Lori Harlig, co-founder of Phoenix-based Amici.catering, had a long business URL that left a bad taste in her mouth: www.AmiciCateringAZ.com. When she discovered that ‘dot-catering’ (.catering) was available, she was eager to bite.

“It’s more personalized, and it’s right to the point,” Harlig, who owns the business with her husband, Scott, says of the company's new URL. “It describes our business. It gets us away from the ‘dot-com’ and ‘dot-net,’ which is just a big grouping.”


Oops! Clarifying what she does: www.KungFuMelissa.com --> www.MelissaRose.photography

Melissa Griffith thought she was being clever when she chose the domain KungFuMelissa.com for her photography business in 2008. That move backfired.

“I don't practice kung fu and in the years that I promoted the site, I had a lot of people asking me if I did,” she says. “Then I had one really awkward job interview for a photo editing position, where the hiring manager told me he scheduled the interview based on my website URL, thinking I was of Asian descent and a kung fu practitioner. He was disappointed, and I didn't land the job.”

When the ‘dot-photography’ (.photography) domain was released in 2014, Griffith made the switch so she could brand herself more effectively online. “I wanted a domain name that was easy to remember and didn’t trick the user when visiting my site,” she says. ‘They know what they’re getting into when they visit a ‘dot-photography’ website.”

Optimizing for online search: www.XtremeWrestlingCenter.com --> www.ProWrestling.training

Jordan “Smiley” Rogers is general manager of a professional wrestling training center in Kansas City, Mo. and launched the business with a URL that made him want to inflict a body slam on the World Wide Web: www.XtremeWrestlingCenter.com.

“No one in the world was going to search that randomly,” he says.

In 2014, he seized a ‘dot-training’ (training) domain to help optimize his website for online search. (Meaning, help to boost the company’s ranking when someone does a Google search for, say, “pro wrestling training.”) Note: A keyword-rich domain name is just one of several factors that can boost a website’s ranking, and Google has gone on the record saying that its search algorithm places equal weight on what words come before and after the "dot."

Rogers says the switch has definitely helped: “People are finding us nationally and, of course, locally because of the SEO [search engine optimization] benefits of having keywords in our URL, and not having the extra nonsense ‘dot-com’ [.com], which tells you nothing extra about what you’re going to see.”

Defining the business: www.Driftaway.co --> www.Driftaway.coffee

Husband-and-wife business team, Suyog Mody and Anu Menon, traded their old URL for one that better defined the business: coffee.

“It’s a URL that implies what we do,” says Mody of moving from Driftaway.co to Driftaway.coffee for their coffee subscription service start-up. “We are an online business exclusively selling online. Not having a physical location and physical space, our website is basically our location.”

Another perk of making the transition: the domain has become a conversation starter with prospective customers that then “focuses very quickly on deeper level about us as a company.”

Rebranding the family business: www.OneWorldTrading.net --> www.One.world

Brothers Jason and Jamie Bensohn are breathing new life into a 25-year-old business founded by their parents. The duo wanted to bring a 21st-century digital focus to One World Trading Co., a UK-based wholesaler of home furnishings from around the world. This started with an overhaul of the website and its domain name. They traded their old domain, OneWorldTrading.net, for something catchier: One.world.

“Just the fact that it plays into our name is really cool,” says Jason. “It’s not only unique, but also relevant. It’s something not everyone else has, and often with any bit of marketing just doing something slightly different is great.”

They were so taken with the domain, they’ve even integrated it into their business name: The company is now called One.World Trading Co. (As in “One-DOT-World.”) By integrating the website name into the company name, and showcasing it within the new logo and across social media as such, the Bensohns hope that potential customers will find them online quicker.

Stay tuned for more break-up stories ...