The puzzling logic of asking public help desks to find your own address (domain)

November 10, 2018 (Sat). I just came back from visits to Japan and Taiwan. Because I have worked and lived in these two places, it's always a pleasure to visit them again -- if only for their delicious foods. However, what I saw there suggests that the global domain market is still in its early stage, despite the fact that domains have been available since 1985. I was shocked to see how little many companies there understand domains and their effective use in advertising.

My multicultural and multilingual skills become helpful when studying domains used in different cultures. In my recent article The sleeping Samurai, I pointed out how companies in Japan are obsessed with putting a search box with pre-filled keywords instead of their digital address (domain) in advertisement. The situation in Taiwan is even worse, which is illustrated in the two pictures in this article that I snapped while riding the subway in Taipei.

The picture on the left is a survey site for the subway operator to obtain real time feedback from riders using emoticons to indicate location and nature of problem. The ad instructs you to give feedback by entering "" into the search box (or just scan the QR code to jump to the site). The picture on the right is a service to help you locate exits of subways in the world. Similarly, the ad instructs you to enter "" into the search box.

What is the problem common in these two pictures? Both "" and "" are digital addresses, with .io being a country extension and .rocks a relatively new generic extension. In fact, you can simply write them as "" and "". Imagine that you operate a store in the digital world. The puzzling logic in these two ads is that you are asking your customers to enter your digital address (domain) into a search box so that the search engine company can show them your digital address! Why not simply ask your customers to enter the digital address in the address bar of their browser and come to your store directly? Why depend on the kindness of strangers who are not volunteers but profit seeking companies?

Companies need to understand that domains are digital addresses. (See my article Are domains really digital addresses?) If you have a good digital address that your customers can easily remember, your customers can come to your store directly without any assistance from third-party services. If consumers across the world can remember your brand (what) and digital address (where), how strong will your business become? A brand-matching .com domain is the easiest to remember for consumers across the world.

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