Time and again I have interacted with a number of people who have been inquisitive to know whether buying a domain name with branded keywords is a good idea. For instance, homedepotcoupons.com is an example of a branded domain. You will realize that home depot is a well known brand: hence the question is, is it okay to use their name on their domain?
I had never decided to buy a branded domain until just a year ago when I decided to buy one. You can do this by taking any brand and adding the word coupon or review and you will realize that this will give you a keyword phrase that is likely to attract a good number of searches (depending on the size of the brand). Better still, you will realize that these are often easy to rank for keywords. Most often, you will realize that the brands on their own are usually not optimized for these keywords but in the past year, I have received a better ranking (including several #1 spots) for branded keywords. However, this has its own disadvantages that make it not worth of a risk
Disadvantages of Buying Branded Domains
The worst is the fact that you can get a Cease and Desist request which will prompt you to hand over the domain any time.
This often happens for those people who have any type of brand name in their domain. There have been cases whereby such individuals are asked or even made to transfer or delete the domain or even slapped with legal actions. Therefore, if you were earning anything from the site, then you can bid those earnings goodbye.
Even though I started buying branded domains just a year ago, unfortunately, I have already received a dozen requests to remove the domains that I had purchased. The following is a classical process of handing over a domain name when the company’s legal counsel asks you to stop using a domain name:
- First you get an email or a letter in the mail that has a number of threats and scary legal jargon telling that they own the rights to the brand name and that you need to stop using it at once.
- The email or the letter then asks you to delete the domain or simply transfer it to their domain registration account
- You decide to either delete or transfer the domain to them
- Once you are done, you email them.
- They respond with a simple than you or never to hear from them again
Sample of a Cease and Desist letter
The words Cease and Desist can a times sound scary but from my experience, the process is a times painless. For privacy reasons, I removed some contents of the domain like domain name and others.
The moment I received the email, I went straight into Godaddy account and deleted the domain then I responded to the email that I have deleted the domain and that is how I completed the process.
Sometimes you might receive emails that are filled with legal jargon and copies of legal precedence cases. This made it sound like a big trouble but in real sense, they are often tame mails and a simple email would otherwise have served the purpose.
After being caught in the midst of such scenarios, I have come to the conclusion that it is not worth buying branded domains. Worse of, the next time you might encounter an over ambitious legal counsel who would end up pursing a real legal action which sincerely is not worth a risk.
The other disadvantage is the fact that you are never certain when you will be asked to take down the domain. A good example is the ones I have had in the past where some I was asked to pull them down after a few weeks while others like the Southwest Airlines had lasted for almost 10 months yet I received the request yesterday.
Alternatives to using Brand Name Domains
However, you can still target key words that include brand names but you have to do it cleverly. A good example is use a unique domain name like: MrHawsCoupons.com such that your domain name does not include a particular keyword but at the same time, each of the pages can target branded or non-branded keywords. You can also title your page: Home Depot Coupons without the fear if receiving a Cease or Desist letter. Most legal issues arise when you buy the domain but when you mention a brand on your site, is not enough reason to be targeted by a legal counsel.
It is definite that you will not get to enjoy the boost that you would have expected if you had a keyword on the domain but by doing this way, you can target a number of keywords on a single site
What do you think?
That was my experience in buying branded domains. For me, I concluded it was not worth it. What are your thoughts about this subject? Are you still interested in branded keywords? If you have any particular experience in this area please, do not hesitate to share it with us here.