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Choosing the Right Domain Name:
a Marketing Perspective

all you need to know about domain names (and some you don't need to know, but is interesting anyway)


I thought long and hard about even including this section because a microsite falls very much between the promotional site and the landing page - the subjects of the previous and next sections. There is also an issue with the definition of what a microsite is. In my book Key Concepts in e-Commerce, I say the term is generally used to describe one of two types of web presence:

1 Where the organization's objectives can be met by the content of one web page, or

2 A website that is on a different domain to the organization's primary site because it serves a different purpose to the rest of the web presence

In terms of microsite domain names, the first of these issues is covered by the guidelines for organizational names, and in the second the website described is likely to be covered in one or other of the sections of this chapter - 'promotional', 'landing page' or 'unexpected', for example. However, I will offer an analysis of the domain name side of things in what I think is an example of a microsite.

In September 2005 the Hard Rock Cafe chain opened a new outlet in Times Square, New York. As part of an impressive promotion for the new cafe - it swallowed 50% of the chain's annual marketing budget - a microsite was developed on its own domain name. This was a departure from the norm for Hard Rock, which has all of its other outlets, hotels, casinos, events, memorabilia and merchandise on However, the launch of the new cafe was considered significant enough to have its own domain name - There are two points of interest on this:

1 Why not This would be the obvious domain name, but the promotion had a distinct emphasis on 'rock' and so the choice makes sense - particularly as the URL was featured heavily on promotional literature - with the microsite being the only way customers could enter a competition to win a trip to the opening night in New York, so it was unlikely that anyone would type in the wrong address. Given the cost of the marketing overall, however, a few dollars to register and redirect seems a bit short-sighted. If nothing else it would have prevented any kind of scam being perpetrated on the domain.

2 After the launch the domain name defaulted to Given the policy of having all content under the same domain name, this is understandable. However the pages were not updated until some two months after the event (ie they talked of the launch event in a future tense). During the aftermath of such a massive promotional campaign that featured the domain I would have thought that content could have been developed for a page on that domain - perhaps featuring images and a narrative of the events surrounding the opening of the new outlet - with a link to
Some four years after the event the domain defaults not to the webpage of the Times Square venue of the company, but a 'cafe news' page. Although that page includes a link to a 'cafe locator' facility, it seems to me that anyone who typed in, or clicked on a link for would rather be taken to the designated web page for the New York cafe.

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Copyright copyright 2009 Alan Charlesworth. All rights reserved.
International Standard Book Number: 978-1-4452-0538-0
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.
Every effort has been made to make this book as complete and as accurate as possible, but no warranty or fitness is implied. The information provided is on an 'as is' basis. No responsibility is assumed by the author for any injury and/or damage to persons or property as a matter of products liability, negligence or otherwise, or from any use or operation of any methods, products, instructions or ideas contained in the material herein.
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