My friend RJ Lewis wrote a column entitled “The importance of a Name” that recently appeared in Product Management Today. His premise is: “Choosing and capitalizing on a memorable domain name for a pharmaceutical product may very well be the most important on-line marketing strategy.”
In this new age of educational DTC, marketers must think of newer variations of generic terms to create such domain names as breastcancersource.com (AstraZeneca Wilmington, DE), depressionhurts.com (Eli Lilly, Indianapolis), and PADfacts.com (Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ). — RJ
I also just happen to be reading the book “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding” by Al and Laura Ries. The book also includes “The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding” as a “bonus.”
These two expert sources could not be further apart from one another! The Ries’ lambast “generic” domain names and claim that “one of the reasons for the dotcom disaster is the almost universal use of common-name Websites.” They cite some examples:
The Ries’ propose that “the mind treats a generic or common word as the name for a category of things, not as one particular thing or brand.” They often ask the reader to imagine conversations like this:
“Where did you learn about depression online?”
“I know it does, but what’s the name of the site?”
“OK. Let’s go home. Everything will be fine!”
RJ cites an example of a Philadelphia couple selling generic domain names such as heartdisease.com for millions of dollars. He’s implying that these names have value for pharmaceutical marketers who should register generic names relevant to their products before a bum with $10 from Hoboken does!
Well, I’m no bum from Hoboken, but I thought I’d give it a shot.
First, I looked at some other generic depression names like www.depressionsucks.com (I think this is closer to what depressed people must feel about depression than depression hurts). Unfortunately, that name is already registered by a David Butler from Bowie, MD. Evidently, David registered this domain name way back in 2002 in the hopes that Eli Lilly would buy it. Sucker! Lilly spent about 30 seconds coming up with another name that no-one had yet claimed; hence, depressionhurts.com.
Undeterred, I tried www.depressionreallysucks.com and Bingo! That’s available. I bought it. Lilly, you can have it for $295! (I don’t expect a lot of money for this one because it violates one of the Ries’ immutable laws: it’s too long!)
Another pharma-owned DTC generic domain name I like is www.mensfacts.com, which is GSK’s site about erectile dysfunction. At first, when I was doing research for this post, I mistyped the URL and ended up on www.menfacts.com. And Lo and Behold! MensFacts.com was at the top of MenFacts.com’s “Sponsored Links for Impotence.” This is very disturbing because other sponsored links include “Solid Erections In Minutes” and a Mexican online pharmacy. Thinking the Mensfacts.com link was a spoof, I clicked it and wouldn’t you know? It lead me directly to the genuine GSK site! Obviously, GSK or one of their agents is paying to be on this sleazy site!
Menfacts.com is registered to Bill Swartwout out of Baltimore, MD. (seems a lot of these questionable sites originate in MD).
Next I tried womensfacts.com. It turns out that Bill also owns that. So I tried womenfact.com, which is owned by Andy Tran in Orange, CA.
Crap! All the good generic names are taken (even crap.com)!
So, what’s my point? I don’t know, except that my research turned up one interesting tidbit and a question: GSK, why are you advertising mensfacts.com on the sleazy menfacts.com Website? Are generic domain names that important to your eMarketing Strategy?