Keep or Drop the TLD In Your Advertising?

I’m a big fan of simplicity. I’m a big fan of website homepages that make it obvious what “next step” I should take. I’m also a big fan of simple logos that don’t try to tell a story—because that story has already effectively been told, and that simple logo stands for much more than what I can see.

I’m almost universally against using “.com” (or another Top Level Domain or “TLD”) in your logo. That bridge has already been crossed by our internet forefathers. (Thank you AOL and Yahoo!) The assumption now is that you already have a website. And even if you’re not a “.com,” most will find you simply by typing your name into a search engine anyway. For a well-thought-out opinion on the use of TLD’s in your logo design, here’s a great blog from Graham Smith’s website, imjustcreative.

But should you continue to use your TLD in your advertising? It depends on a few factors—ask yourself these questions:

How is the ad going to be used? If it’s an online ad, you’re already directing viewers to your website (or possibly your Facebook page). In this case the only call to action should be the click-through.

(So, for the next few questions we’ll assume the ads are offline, “traditional” advertising—like TV, radio, outdoor, or print.)

Is your company an online company? Is your company a website? If that’s a “yes,” then your trademark/copyright likely includes your TLD—in which case you have to use it.

 

Big Brands

 

How tech-savvy are your customers? Do they go to the interwebs to find out their information, or the yellow pages? The rule here would be: “If they miss the phone book, you’d better include the TLD.”

How branded is your name? If your company name is too generic (or similar to another company’s name) you may have to be obvious—or be in danger of not being found at all. While everyone knows Google as just “Google,” the same rule does not apply to “Pets.com,” or “Mint.com.”

What looks/feels natural? Your website is likely already the face of your company. If people are going to get there—either by being given the full URL or by finding you on their own—you should use your TLD in a way that is most-pleasing to the reader/listener. It’s the “Amazon Kindle,” not the “Amazon.com Kindle.” Design the best ad possible, without “wording it up.”

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