The #1 Domain Strategy mistake most Startups make

Most startups seem to make this one crucial mistake with their domain name acquisition strategy.

There are several stages of a startup from inception to the first investment round to even second and third rounds. While this article applies to all of these stages, we are specifically focusing on companies that have sales and have just gone thru their first round of receiving investment capital. At this stage, the company knows their product is working and they are looking for investments to help them scale faster and invest in the infrastructure for this growth that achieves higher profit and returns.

There are many decisions to make in the businesses plan and investors do like numbers. Most startups at this stage make the mistake of not including their domain strategy or acquisition in their proposal for funding. We know this because we speak with many of them. Investors understand the necessity and power branding provides for growth, retention and customer appeal. Domains are an integral part of this branding process.

A bad domain can destroy any momentum that a marketing investment can create. A great domain can elevate your brand and allow you to pivot with new products as you grow. Domain strategies should be included in a startups proposal for funding Domain acquisition is a foundational element for branding strategies and company growth. Most startups can’t afford to acquire the perfect domain when they first get started. It typically comes down to economics and resources.

With anything, there is a balance between the different elements (product, operations, etc…). Domain names are not just a nice to have anymore. They are intrinsically tied to how consumers find and talk about your brand online. A domain acquisition strategy should be included as part of the company’s growth strategy and marketing plan.

Premium Brandable domains give a massive confidence boost to investors and consumers. It is the ultimate pre-suasion asset. The perfect domain will create a competitive advantage by supercharging any marketing campaign and effortlessly communicating the brand message.

An inferior domain (adding words before/after your brand) communicates weakness because of how we are conditioned to view brands in a leadership position. They all have their perfect domains.

Startups can get away without the acquiring the perfect domain for a while however when they are ready to move to a leadership position it is a must. Every company can benefit from thinking early and strategizing their domain acquisition strategy. Download my latest book .Com Strategies for help in defining the key elements for your plan.

Domain names are assets on the books

A domain acquisition should be treated as an asset, not a marketing expense. Companies regularly list their brand’s goodwill and trademarks as assets. A domain name is recognized as an asset on the books and can be depreciated over several years. For example, Citrix listed on the books for $18M dollars. The brand value for the Nike brand in 2014 was estimated to be worth $19B. A premium domain name is inseparable from the brand name (,,, etc…). A premium domain builds confidence for investors and customers. Investors understand the strategic marketing element this provides a brand.

Customers appreciate the simplicity it creates thru a brand’s journey and to their product offering. Premium domains increase in value and have a very robust marketplace. Brands can sell off domains they no longer need or if things don’t work out. With the global demand increasing and a finite supply of quality domains available the prices will continue to go up. Lastly, domains are regularly depreciated similar to any other asset. Make sure you speak with your accounting team. Acquiring a premium domain that perfectly matches your brand is a great investment.

The acquisition of a premium domain should not be treated as a marketing expense.

Marketing campaigns produce value for as long as you paying. The impact on a marketing campaign is finite, it typically has a beginning and an end.The return on investment for a domain is the lifetime that you own the domain.

When should a startup rebrand or acquire the perfect domain for their brand?

Domain strategies should be outlined from the very beginning because of how your online location impacts your brand and marketing message. Different resources will determine the quality of domain that can be acquired. Brands do need to realize that domains are a global asset. The longer you wait to acquire your perfect domain the greater the chance it will be taken by another company. Trust me, we see the happen every day.

Create a plan and roadmap that outlines when you will acquire your perfect domain.


Most startups seem to make the crucial mistake of not outlining early on their domain acquisition strategy. Domain strategies should include the path to acquiring the perfect domain as well as key marketing platforms to support their marketing and branding efforts.

Domain names need to be considered assets on the books similar to other capital expenses. Startups should consider including their domain acquisition strategy in the pitch to investors. The investor community understands the importance and strategic impact a premium domain can have on the growth of a business.

A premium category defining domain instills confidence that a startup understands the fundamentals of marketing. Make sure you set a realistic budget by working with a quality professional domain broker. Whoever you use, stick with one domain broker company and don’t contact the seller until you are ready to buy.

If an acquisition is not approached strategically, it could cost you thousands of extra dollars.