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Thread: Opinion on dashes, underscores, and .net. .info etc

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    elbandelero's Avatar
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    Opinion on dashes, underscores, and .net. .info etc

    So, I want to buy some domain names and I've got quite a few options that have been emailed to me, but some that look really attractive have dashes or underscores in them, and some are not .com.

    My question is directed to people who have developed sites that earn AdSense/Affiliate income, does it really matter if the domain has dashes or underscores in it? Can anyone confirm that the major SEs don't like these?

    The difference between .com or .info, is it really that important? I have a budget of a couple hundred dollars to spend on one or two nice aged domains, but I can't afford to waste this, I need to know that whatever I buy is going to work for me. Thank guys, appreciate our answers in advance.

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    Underscores aren't legal in domain names, so those are out.

    Google gives an edge to com/net/org domains which exactly match the target keyword, without hyphens.

    Hyphens ruin the exact match bonus. Other than that, hyphenated domains only other downside is that humans don't like them -- so they are harder to brand.

    Of course, when you buy a site you are normally paying a multiplier of revenue -- so these advantages and disadvantages will automatically be factored into the price.
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    Shenron's Avatar
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    There's no such thing as underscores in domain names, you might want to double check that.

    If I were you I'd stick with .com , .net and .org only, also, I don't see a problem with hyphens (tech-faq.com ), even though people tend to bash hyphens.

    I have a few sites with hyphens and they perform rather well, so I'd stick with keyword domains if possible, .com, .net, .org if possible; to hyphen or not to hyphen it's more or less the same imho, even though I'd prefer without.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Will.Spencer View Post
    Underscores aren't legal in domain names, so those are out.

    Google gives an edge to com/net/org domains which exactly match the target keyword, without hyphens.

    Hyphens ruin the exact match bonus. Other than that, hyphenated domains only other downside is that humans don't like them -- so they are harder to brand.

    Of course, when you buy a site you are normally paying a multiplier of revenue -- so these advantages and disadvantages will automatically be factored into the price.
    Thanks Will. I'm looking at buying a domain name on it's own rather than a full site, so I'm not sure what sort of factoring will have been done on the price, and I have a lot of options, I just need to settle on a domain I can really get interested in.

    Is it your personal experience that a .com/net/org with the same amount of promotion as a .info will be favored by Google? There are some great domains available on .info, but I'm serious about creating a long term money earner and I don't want to be fighting the SEs over something stupid like paying $50 more for .com

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    Forget .info if those were of any use they wouldn't be available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elbandelero View Post
    Thanks Will. I'm looking at buying a domain name on it's own rather than a full site, so I'm not sure what sort of factoring will have been done on the price, and I have a lot of options, I just need to settle on a domain I can really get interested in.

    Is it your personal experience that a .com/net/org with the same amount of promotion as a .info will be favored by Google? There are some great domains available on .info, but I'm serious about creating a long term money earner and I don't want to be fighting the SEs over something stupid like paying $50 more for .com
    If you want people to remember and type in the name later (branding as Will stated) then stick with non-hyphenated and .com only. If not you will lose people who type in the www.nonhyphen.com

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    Dashes in domain names are a throwback to the days when that was friendly to the search engines so they could separate words in the domain names; they haven't needed to do that for a few years at least.


    There's nothing wrong with having a domain with a dash in it, especially if it is short and memorable, but, as Will pointed out, people don't like that.

    Main reason being that they will remember the domain without the dash, and whomever has the domain without the dash will probably send you a thank you email for all of the accidental traffic you are sending them.

    Another reason is that people are just lazy on the internet. A lack of capitalization, contractions without apostrophes, no paragraphing, etc. A lack of dashes plays to a person's tendency to just type and go, without having to space, etc.; you know, all the inconveniences of actual writing.


    .info domains can be useful, but primarily if you want the keyword value of 'info' or 'information'. They can also be useful if it is keyword rich, but it is not available in other extensions.

    The downside of .info domains is that they are just as expensive to maintain in subsequent years as any other domain, and sometimes more expensive.

    Being that they are so cheap up front, they have gotten a bad rap due to spammers using them as throwaway domains.

    Google seems to have a tendency, if all things are equal (theoretically) in page rank, keyword density, etc. to give an edge to listing .com domains in search returns, and I've heard it suggested that if it were equal among the three, it would be returned in order of .com, .net, then .org. Of course, the chance of things being equal is way out there.


    Perhaps a bit off topic, but I find, if the .com is not available, .orgs are easier for me to remember. I have a bad tendency when typing a .net to accidentally type .com instead; I don't have the same tendency when typing a .org.

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    elbandelero's Avatar
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    Thanks Menard, that was a VERY useful and well articulated response, and I like your last point about .org vs .net
    Being that they are so cheap up front, they have gotten a bad rap due to spammers using them as throwaway domains.
    Would an aged .info suffer less from this, for example one that was registered 3 or 4 years ago? And if so, how would one make sure it hadn't been abused by a spammer in the past?

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    Correct me if i'm wrong but don't forget about cctld's. In local search results, they tend to appear even before .com's considering al other things equal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elbandelero View Post
    Would an aged .info suffer less from this, for example one that was registered 3 or 4 years ago? And if so, how would one make sure it hadn't been abused by a spammer in the past?
    The bad rap is not necessarily from search engines, though they probably have some qualifications for checking out infos, but also from surfers who are used to finding spam sites on these domains and are hesitant to click on returns with .info in them. That is probably a small percentage, but it is a factor with which you will have to consider.

    You can check any domain by running it through a blacklist check to see if it is on the list from any email providers. If it is blacklisted, you would want to steer clear of it. Of course, if it was not blacklisted but was used by a spammer, I would check it for backlinks and pr.

    More than anything, though, a domain is its value in keywords, the value in the website on it, and of course the value in promotion. If you like the domain, it sounds good to you, it fits with what you want for your website, then go with it; don't let what someone else says steer you away from what you want, but it doesn't hurt to take in their advice (just keep in mind that advice is sometimes nothing more than what someone read off of a bathroom wall).

    A domain does not have to be a .com to be tops in its category. Though there are lots of examples, just do a search for 'bad movies' and you will find the top return to be a .org. One of the top websites for finding web hosting is a .info.

    There are probables when 'everything being equal' is the yardstick, then optimizing by extension and keywords will make a difference. That difference becomes more moot if the efforts you have taken gives you more of that yardstick than another.

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