Do we need domain suffixes?

Kids and the Internet - They don't do domains
Kids and the Internet - They don't do domains

I’ve been wondering for some time now whether the .com. .net and .eu suffixes are all we need to buy when we launch a new brand for a client. We don’t want to make the mistake of Wolff Olins, when they were preparing to launch ‘Introducing Monday ‘ back in 2002.

They forgot to buy the and b3ta placed a joke site in it’s place, effectively stopping the launch altogether and wasting £7m of PriceWaterhouse Coopers consulting’s money in the process. But we all found it very funny indeed and it did at least launch the brilliant b3ta into the big time.

But for me now, I wonder whether we will need domain names at all soon. If the research from TGI Europa as far back as 2008 BA (Before Apps) is true, then 87% of all Internet activity starts with a Google search. So, domains will become irrelevant. If you watch the ways kids use the Internet, they either go directly through Apps on the iPad or they go to Google and key the name of the site they want. So to get to Facebook, they either app it, or go via Google.

If this is true, then pretty soon, Google is bound to stop showing the domain suffix anyway. We’ll just be delivered to the Facebook area, the Ebay area or even the Oxford United area and we’ll become less and less concerned with what specific domain this is on.

So for brand owners, it’s about building your name again. Forget the domain name, concentrate on the name itself. That’s where Google will be going in the future.

Article first published as The way the Internet works is changing“ domain suffixes are dead on Technorati.

Online advertising overtakes TV – but brands will suffer if they ignore it

It was announced on the BBC (so it must be right then!) that spending on online advertising in the UK has overtaken the spend on TV advertising for the first time. It came from a report prepared by Pricewaterhouse Coopers for the Internet Advertising Bureau.

Online spending grew 4.6% to £1.752bn – which doesn’t sound that large a growth in what is such a young and explosive market – whilst TV advertising fell by a rather more substantial 16.1% to £1.639bn.

This is great isn’t it?

All clients are becoming much more savvy and spending their money where they can get a measurable return and not throwing any of their hard kept budget at more general profile raising ads.

I think this is not great, not great at all, as brands will suffer in the long term for doing so.

Brilliant virals change perceptions, we all know that, but brilliant TV advertising changes generations. It just has a far greater impact than another click through to a website by someone bored in their office on a quiet Friday.

Internet advertising must be part of any advertising mix that’s obvious, but so must profile raising clever TV ads, if you want to create and maintain a world brand.

When Nick Kamen stepped out of his pants in a launderette ad for Levis, he literally rebuilt their brand from that day forward. He gave them ‘cool’ and they have worked hard ever since to keep it.

I can think of thousands of transformational TV ads, but Virals, with very few exceptions are often just a gag that wears thin all too fast. Its the creatives having a hoot and winning awards. But is it really winning them customers or just massive click through rates? When Chris Tarrant, presents them on late night TV, how much good is that really doing for the brand?

And the best bit?

The irony that it was PwC reporting the demise of TV ads.

PwC were the people who were laughed at through massive viral campaign of changing their name to ‘Introducing Monday’ in 2002 by the hilarious viral geniuses at B3ta. If you don’t remember that, have look here and here.

Pw C - We've got your name and you are a donkey
PwC - We've got your name and you are a donkey

It was the viral that created virals, but its brilliance was in its irreverence, not in its conformity.

If I owned a consumer brand, I’d be sticking by TV for a long time yet.