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The Age of Discovery

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This effective online marketing strategy is not only being employed by large brands. Small and medium-size companies, such as Bice's Florist and Bobbleheads, are also jumping on the bandwagon. Bice's, a Fort Worth, Texas-based flower shop, leveraged a domain-name acquisition strategy to increase company sales by $1.5 million and reduce operational expenses-all while closing four brick-and-mortar locations.

Bice's, which has been in business for more than 30 years, purchased approximately 20 related domain names, including eflowersite.com, nationalfloraldelivery.com and blossomlink.com. Keith Riewe, owner of Bice's, says that since he's able to track the hits from each domain, he can understand which are performing and which aren't. Riewe says Web site traffic is up 47 percent as a result of his domain portfolio.

Georgia-based entrepreneur Warren Royal also saw immediate benefits from owning both the bobbleheads.com and bobblehead.com domain names when launching his Bobbleheads business. Royal purchased these domains from the owners, paying $29,112 for bobbleheads.com and $36,000 for bobblehead.com. Outside of any significant online advertising, after only five months of being "live," the company was averaging nearly $6,000 in gross sales due in large part to the domain's natural traffic. With the generic names consistently providing Web traffic, Royal only needs to spend a few hours a week on the site, with the traffic practically selling the bobbleheads themselves.

Large companies can and should take a page from the playbook of these small and medium-size companies. In fact, we've seen a recent example of how failing to acquire your brand-related descriptive domains can be a costly missed opportunity. For its "Whopper virgins" campaign and whoppervirgins.com Web site, Burger King failed to also register the nonplural whoppervirgin.com. As a result, it's missing out on a ton of Web traffic -- a mistake Web-savvy small and medium-size companies are less likely to make.

Burger King's whopper of a mistake is a great proof point and underscores the need to register variations of your domain name. It's time to get descriptive with your brand's domain name and think like a Web surfer.
More customers will find you.

Jeremiah Johnston is COO and general counsel at Sedo.com.