How worthwhile can a good domain name be? While a basic domain name can usually be bought for under $20 a year, businesses today often spend thousands of dollars — if not millions — to secure a sought-after web domain as part of their branding and marketing strategies.
But for a 26-year-old former social media influencer and entrepreneur, a plot to illegally obtain a domain name for his business could result in a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and a $250,000 fine.
Last week, a jury in Iowa convicted Rossi Lorathio Adams II for his part in plotting a 2017 attack in which an Iowa man was held at gunpoint and ordered to transfer ownership of a web domain name Adams wanted.
Adams started a company called State Snaps in 2015. Mostly posting photos and videos of bad behavior with drunkenness and nudity, his company quickly earned large followings on Twitter and Snapchat and as many as 1.5 million followers on Instagram.
State Snaps used the slogan “Do It For State!” to promote the brand. While the company already owned the domain “doit4state.com”, Adams wanted the very similar domain name “doitforstate.com” too. However, the man who owned the “doitforstate.com” domain through a GoDaddy account refused to part with it for less than $20,000 — a price that Adams declined to pay.
In one instance, Adams showed up at the domain owner's home and insisted he was here for the name and not leaving without it. A month later, with the domain owner still unwilling to lower his asking price, Adams drove his cousin, Sherman Hopkins Jr., to the domain owner's home. Hopkins entered the home and held him at gunpoint to force him to transfer ownership of the domain to Adams' GoDaddy account.
During the confrontation, Hopkins' pistol whipped the victim several times in the head before a struggle for the gun ensued between the two men. During the struggle, the domain owner was shot in the leg before gaining control of Hopkins' gun himself. The victim then shot Hopkins multiple times in the chest before calling the police.
In the end, Hopkins, who survived the gunshots, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison in June 2018 for his role in the attack. Adams' sentencing, on the other hand, has not yet been scheduled.
While Adams' attempt to wrangle a desired domain name away from its owner took a rather extreme turn, it is not surprising to see major companies like Amazon to Tesla to either shell out large sums of money or get bogged down in long legal battles in order to secure a web domain. This brings us to our next question…
Why Having A Good Domain Name Is Important?
On a basic level, having your own domain name gives you and your business a more professional look. Your domain name represents your unique identity and is responsible to enhance your online presence over the Internet.
When looking for a product or service, your potential customer will usually first conduct a web search, and if your website is relatively easy to find and navigate, you’ll greatly increase your chances of a sale.
But domain names are much more than just a technical shortcut. A short, memorable domain name can make the difference between creating a successful Web presence and getting lost in cyberspace. You can expect the following advantages by having a domain name for your business:
- A domain name adds credibility to your small business. Having your own domain name makes your company look professional. Since many people don’t yet trust the Internet and e-commerce, you’ll want to do what you can to prove that your small business deserves their money. If you’re not willing to pay the money to register an appropriate domain name, why would consumers think you’d put any effort into creating valuable products or services?
- A domain name says you’re forward-thinking. Having your own domain name indicates you’re part of the digital revolution, and it implies that you’re up-to-date on emerging technologies. Whether this is true or not, having your own domain name might just put you ahead of your competitors.
- A domain name adds mobility to your Internet presence. Owning your own domain name lets you take that name with you if you transfer Web hosts or switch to your own in-house server. If you don’t own your domain name, you’ll have to take a new URL, which will destroy the branding that you built up with your first address.
- A domain name builds your brand. More than anything else, a domain name can increase awareness of your brand. If your domain name matches your company name, it reinforces your brand, making it easier for customers to remember and return. It will also be easier to win business via word of mouth because customers will remember your name and pass it along to friends.
The bottom line is that a good domain name can go a long way toward generating traffic to your website and building your reputation. That, in turn, will result in more customers and better sales.
The Take-home Lesson
With the majority of shopping happening on the internet, the significant change of the market dynamics proves that a maintained and well-developed website is one of the most effective and lasting methods to reach potential customers. From a marketing viewpoint, it goes without saying that a long-standing brand image can be created with the right domain name.
That said, deciding and registering a domain name should not be done in haste. It is a valuable marketing and search tool that should successfully lead customers to your site. Careful research and deliberation should be applied, as it might be the most important decision you make when carving out your slice of the online market.
At iPrima Media, we deeply believe in that online success starts with a great domain. Contact our team today to start digitizing your business where we will assist you in finding a web domain name that best matches your business. Also, do not forget to subscribe to our email list so you can continue receiving more useful contents from us on a regular basis.