Search is the New Domain Name

The other night, I went to see Quantum of Solace with some friends as a way to unwind after a long day of meetings. The movie was fun, if perhaps a bit unremarkable, but what really stood out for me was something I saw during one of the trailers that screened before the feature.

No, it wasn’t the studios giving away too much information to make me even want to see the film (which is why I rarely pay attention to trailers anyway, they always spoil the really good movies). Nope, instead it was something I saw on the final frame with the list of credits:

There was no URL to take home and learn more about the movie. Instead, they said “Google this keyword”. I can’t even remember what the movie or keyword was, but I remember this fact. It’s almost a throwback to the AOL keywords of yore.

I find this very interesting. More and more, as search generally and Google specifically become intertwined with our daily lives, we’re going to see companies and organizations that suggest we use search, rather than a specific URL to find things.

Personally, I don’t search for something I know the name of, I enter it into the location bar of my browser. However, I’m seeing lots of advanced users who Google everything, such as “You Tube”, “Face Book” and even, get this, “Google”.

To me, this shows that search results are becoming increasingly important and the domain your content resides on is becoming even less essential. This is primarily a byproduct of the fact that the vast majority of the good domain names are taken, which forces people to have to come up with nonsense names that mean nothing (like, say flickr). But, if you can be associated with your primary keywords (such as “photo sharing“, you may be able to build an even better brand than the one associated with your domain or URL.

I’m predicting that in five years or less address bars in browsers will go away and we’ll be left with intelligent desktop (or phone-top) level search instead. This doesn’t mean that the domain you use won’t be important for your brand, but it becomes less and less essential for people looking for you.

Previously posted on brightwhite.ca

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