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Forum: Domains Discussions
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about a hyphen vs non hypen in domain name. For search engines.

Hi, I am asking a question in regards to Domain names and if this may be a problem for me with search engines when I register a domain name. It looks like my name is taken, but if I put in a hyphen I can have the .com.

(My real web name does work well with the company name using a hyphen anyway, so that is not a problem on that end. But I am wondering if this other variable is a problem. I am using the below as an example, with a fake name.)

So lets say I have this company named ArtificialFlowersBlue so wanted this domain name:

eg: arfiticialflowersblue.com

Since it's taken..................

If I register the same name but with a hyphen

eg: artificialflowers-blue.com


.....if my customers don't type in the hypen - when they are looking for my site, will my website NOT show up if they mistakenly type in JUST artificialflowersblue.com
(no hypen) as the domain name instead of the "correct domain name specifically"?..

..... artificialflowers-blue.com (with the hyphen)

This is a deciding factor for me as picking a domain name as another company has the name I was trying to register.

I don't want .net or .org without the hypen, but they have those 2 without the hyphen. I want .com

Coincidentally, the OTHER company with the domain name I wanted, it's where I live, an hour away.

I don't mind coming up after them on the same page after I get popular LOL (positive right?), but is the hyphen the difference between, me never coming up without my customers specifically punching in the hyphen?

(2 totally different company types, me and the company that got there first and has my preferred domain name LOL .)

Does anyone know?

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Re: about a hyphen vs non hypen in domain name. For search engines.

There is a lot of debate about this in professional forums. As a general rule I would avoid using a hyphen unless it formed part of the underlying real business name. In that case I would register both versions and redirect one to the other.

If the original name is a trade mark you would be setting yourself up for a legal challenge. If trademark.com is registered but you find that trade-mark.com is still free it doesn't give you an automatic right to use it.

Re: about a hyphen vs non hypen in domain name. For search engines.

Quote: Peter
There is a lot of debate about this in professional forums. As a general rule I would avoid using a hyphen unless it formed part of the underlying real business name. In that case I would register both versions and redirect one to the other.

If the original name is a trade mark you would be setting yourself up for a legal challenge. If trademark.com is registered but you find that trade-mark.com is still free it doesn't give you an automatic right to use it.
Hi Peter and thanks for coming by to assist with this.

Forgive me as some jargon/terms used I am lay so not familiar.

I listed 3 questions with numbers of 1-3 so you can recognize easier what I am asking.

I understand what you mean saying registering both and directing one to the other. I am just learning all of this and read the same type of pattern with .com, .net., and .org in that buy all three so you can have one go to the other.

Makes sense so thankyou very much Peter for this. It's clear.

Okay, I will check to see if they are trademarked. I went through a government business name registry site and checked to see if they registered their name and it doesn't look like it even though they are established. I kept running the name without the hyphen, as well as with the hyphen, and nothing. Perhaps it's the type of business they have so, they never thought of it?

1) Okay, I am rereading and this is very interesting about what you said about trademark.com and trade-mark.com.
a) **Even if the latter is not registered you still may not be able to use it.

Why is that? Could you explain that for me?**
===
Okay, as said above I went to the gov site but I will "call" the gov to make sure their original name is in fact, not registered. Or go in personally. The one without hyphen. And the hypen. I've got some foot work to do.

2) You said: **"I would avoid using a hyphen unless it formed part of the underlying real business name."

It is the whole real business name. Not just a form of. **Is this what you are getting at? It works well without or with hyphen. But the words involved are ONLY the underlying real business name.

===

3) a)So let's say it isn't registered with hyphen. Why could I NOT use it still?

b)So if a person types the same name as mine without hyphen, my name with hyphen will not show up googling the name without the hyphen?

===

I hope this is clear. It's kind of confusing for a novice but your first explanation I quoted on some of my concerns is explained very well so thankyou for being so specific Peter I do sincerely appreciate it.

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Re: about a hyphen vs non hypen in domain name. For search engines.

Quote:
Forgive me as some jargon/terms used I am lay so not familiar.

I have explicitly tried to avoid jargon but in any technical area there are specialist terms that you will need to learn.

Quote:

Okay, I will check to see if they are trademarked.

The law will vary depending on what country you are in, please remember that this is an international forum. Where I live there would be both issues with actual trade marks and with "passing off" which means making your business look like an established one to poach their customers or at least close enough for them to claim that you are poaching them!

1 - Depends on the jusrisdiction but a certain hamburger chain might still go to court of you put a hyphen after the Mc even if they hadn't explicitly registered Mc-Donalds.

2 - Anecdotal evidence is that people are more likely to type joescafe.com than joes-cafe.com when going to the Joes Cafe web site. I wouldn't even think about using joes-cafe.com (personal preference) but if I wanted a site about t-shirts, then I would register t-shirts.com and tshirts.com as t-shirts is, according to answers.com, the correct spelling.

3A - I think this duplicates 1.

3B - Google and Bing are designed to include common mis-spellings and synonyms in a search. One word, two separate words and two words hyphenated would produce very similar results.


To summarise:
Hyphenating a domain name is no big deal for the search engines
The public are less likely to remember a hyphen unless it is naturally part of the words that they are typing.
If your domain is so similar to that of an existing business in the same field that people might go to your site by mistake then you could have legal problems. For advice on that you need a lawyer.

Re: about a hyphen vs non hypen in domain name. For search engines.

Hi Peter,

Fantastic! Got it.

You're actually...... great at explaining. So thanks. I don't know how to separate quotes the way you did, so responded accordingly to your quotes and points.

- This response is from your first quote: You didn't use jargon, I don't know what you do, but you did indeed avoid it which is why your explanations were was clear to me. I guess I was referring to some of the "net" explanations I'd searched on google. Some were worded a bit over my head. And yes, I have to learn all the terms and definitions and so forth. :)

- This response is from your second quote, Point #1. Okay, this is an international forum keeping that in mind info is going to depend on where one resides. Makes sense.

And my business with the same name but "with a hyphen", couldn't be more different than the business with the same name "without the hyphen", so their customers wouldn't be the least bit interested in my products.

Not to mention the other business site is merely advertising where they are, and what they do, AND it can't be sold online. Their site merely let's people know where to go to "engage" in the activity.

Mine is online selling a completely unrelated physical product to public.

Both the other company and mine, couldn't be more opposite and totally different types of business but the name, fits both businesses 100% accurately. Isn't that something?

Your example of Mc-Donalds and McDonalds and all of it are great. How if they are the same type of business and one is trying to get the other's customers using this method by using almost the same name one with hyphen one without, and the legal repercussions of doing this, perfect. Thanks.

Yeah, I don't live in that scenario so maybe it can work. I'll find out. Anyway, I'm in Canada.
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- Your second quote Point #2: Got it with the anecdotal evidence with how people search etc., what they would naturally type first.

- Your second quote Point #3a: Yes, you answered it above.

- Your second quote Point #3b: Great to know google and bing, are designed for these types of errors. That explains why I see what I see when I misspell something etc.
====
Your last paragraph summary:"
To summarise:
Hyphenating a domain name is no big deal for the search engines.
**The public are less likely to remember a hyphen unless it is naturally part of the words that they are typing. **(Like t-shirt.)
If your domain is so similar to that of an existing business in the same field that people might go to your site by mistake then you could have legal problems. For advice on that you need a lawyer."
====

Awesome Peter. You've been a huge help with this! I very much appreciate it. Completely clear.

Thanks so much and I do hope all is well on your end wherever you are as well!

Sincerely,
Teegirl




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Re: about a hyphen vs non hypen in domain name. For search engines.

some agreed but some not