Make URL short, memorable

May 1, 2005

My advice to most doctors is to use a domain name ending in .com or .net — these are recognized by almost all members of the public as being proper domain names.

My general advice is to keep the URL as short and memorable as possible. Make the URL easy to spell - or reserve the commonly misspelled variants on that URL and have them automatically forwarded to your main URL.

For example, my primary URL is http://www.smithlaser.com/ - and for the benefit of those who are not sure how to spell "laser" I have also reserved http://www.smithlazer.com/.

I have been asked about the merits of using a suffix like .md instead of .com or .net.

The .md suffix was assigned to the Republic of Moldova (one of the poorest former Soviet satellite states, situated between Romania and Ukraine) years ago. ".MD" is a top-level domain name, and has been licensed from the Moldovians to Domain Name Trust, a broker company based in Bonita Springs, Florida, and was being marketed by Professional Domains Inc., a California company based in Beverly Hills, for $299 a year. After some litigation, MaxMD, a Jersey City, N.J.-based company, has acquired the marketing rights to the ".md" domain, and is now charging $150 per year.

The .MD domain has been described as "...a special domain primarily dedicated to professionals and companies that work in the healthcare industry worldwide." That means a wide variety of individuals and entities could register and use domain names ending in .md - it is not just for doctors.

My advice to most doctors is to use a domain name ending in .com or .net - these are recognized by almost all members of the public as being proper domain names, so they are less likely than an unfamiliar suffix like .md to cause confusion. Another great advantage is that .com and .net domain names can be registered for between $10 and $30 per year - a big saving over the $150 per year currently being asked for .md domain names!

Final consideration A final consideration is that .com and .net domain names are very stable, and I expect that such domain names can be easily and cheaply renewed for many years into the future. I would be concerned about trapping my brand equity in a domain name like smithlaser.md which might not be renewable - or which could only be renewed at a very high price - at some point in the future.

To learn more about domain names and their management, visit http://www.domainguru.com/.

Dr. Smith is a dermatologist in Niagra Falls, Ontario. He may be reached at ksmithderm@aol.com
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