The Holy Grail of Generic Domain Names

The most powerful of all premium domain names are those that have multiple meanings *and* can be used in different parts of speech.


Taglines with double meanings are extremely memorable because of the ability to elicit an emotional response. The same is true for dictionary words that can be used in different parts of speech because of the unlimited ways they can be creatively integrated into marketing campaigns.

Together, the ability to effectively establish brand recall and loyalty – the end goal of all marketing efforts – is like no other.

It is an extremely rare competitive advantage to have.

“Companies spend millions … by incorporating music, sounds, images, vivid color and celebrities to trigger huge sensory responses towards their product, company or innovation. An emotional response towards a name is the human-to-brand connection that is sought after like the Holy Grail. If customers feel drawn to something, loyalty … is sure to follow.” – Kyra Dawson

Stephen Houraghan explains the science behind this phenomenon.

“When you have a double meaning within a tagline, your brain … makes neural connections from one meaning to the other. Because of the way the brain makes those connections, it stores that tagline in a different part of the brain. By creating a dual connection within your tagline, you’re helping the way the brain stores that tagline, ultimately making it more memorable and more effective.”

Real-Life Example:

This website began as an offline business network in Asia that expanded worldwide with just 1 FTE and no marketing budget. How was that possible? When people – be they members, corporate partners, ad sponsors, the media, etc. – see or hear the word “oriented”, they can intuitively guess what it is about, remember it, and thus refer it to others.

Domain Valuation of

Particularly effective is the tagline, “Get oriented to the Orient!

It is a very clever play on words, and it almost always elicits humor and smiles. That ability – the ability to elicit a positive, emotional response – together with the instant credibility that one-word domains command, was key to significant opportunities, growth, and expansion.

Examples of Usage:

  • ORIENTED in Shanghai (view)
  • ORIENTED in Silicon Valley (view)
  • ORIENTED Happy Hours (view)
  • ORIENTED on the Radio with Real Time Beijing (view)
  • ORIENTED in the News (view)
  • ORIENTED Monster Martini (view)
  • ORIENTED at the Grand Hyatt Taipei (view)
  • ORIENTED Advertisers (view)
  • ORIENTED Sponsorship (view)
  • “If you’re not ORIENTED, you’re not anywhere!” (view)
  • ORIENTED in Sydney (view)
  • ORIENTED T-Shirts (view)
  • ORIENTED with Otterbox (view)
  • ORIENTED with the South China Morning Post (view)
  • ORIENTED Newsletters (view)
  • ORIENTED Events Calendar (view)
  • ORIENTED with the Beijing Chambers of Commerce (view)
  • ORIENTED Dialogue & Exchange (view)
  • ORIENTED Standee (view)
  • ORIENTED with CKGSB in Asia Pacific (view)
  • ORIENTED with CKGSB in North America (view)

It’s the gift that keeps on giving – itself a double entendre.

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The Power Six Elements

Amongst the many characteristics of premium domain names, six of them really distinguish the big domain names from all the others.

The Holy Grail of Domain Names

As Alan Hack explains, these elements are incredibly valuable for the people that acquire them and extremely powerful when used strategically in marketing and business development.

Transcript (abbreviated, edited):

Element #1 – It is descriptive.

Take ‘’. It is a name that defines the category of retirement. It is descriptive of retirement. You can imagine that the website will have products and services about retirement.

Element #2 – It is intuitive.

You think about it intuitively. “I need to plan for retirement, let me check out ‘’ and see what information is available.”

Element #3 – It is memorable.

As soon as people hear it or see it, they can remember it. If they already have retirement on their minds, it is easy to remember ‘’.

Element #4 – It is marketable.

Highly marketable domains are very valuable because they can be strongly positioned in marketing campaigns – online, offline, and in the real world.

Element #5 – It is referable.

A domain name’s true value is how easy it is for someone to remember it enough to REFER it to their friends and family… because word-of-mouth is the most effective form of marketing.

Word-of-mouth results in 5x more sales than paid media impressions

Element #6 – It is credible.

Generic, descriptive domain names have an inherent if not unconscious element of credibility. One assumes that the people behind ‘’ must know a lot about retirement.

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Mind Share Increases Sales

“Because generic domains are memorable, intuitive, referable, and credible, they have the opportunity to go BEYOND the traditional marketing channels into … word-of-mouth marketing.” – Alan Hack

Consider this:

  • Word-of-mouth marketing results in 5x more sales than paid media impressions (more)
  • 64% of marketing executives say that word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective form of marketing (more)
  • 88% of consumers place the highest level of trust in personal recommendations from people they know (more)
  • 28% of consumers say word of mouth is the most important factor in strengthening or eroding brand affinity (more)
  • Generic domains outperform non-generics in advertising by 42% (more)

These statistics further underscore why companies are willing to pay millions for generic, descriptive domain names.

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The Holy Grail of Domain Names
The Value of Generic Domain Names

Real-Life Example:

Alan Hack provides a perfect example of a generic, descriptive domain name:

Transcript (abbreviated, edited):

If you asked, “Hey I’m concerned about retirement, what are you doing?” I can just say to you, “I just went to, it has great information, services, products. You should check it out.”

A couple of things will happen from that.

The odds of you remembering 30 minutes, an hour, maybe a day after our conversation, will be significantly higher than if I said, “Go to“. You might not even remember that 5 minutes later! And you will probably associate expertise and credibility with because the assumption is that these people must know a lot about retirement.

The ability for these domain names to go viral — to be heard in a conversation, remembered, and then navigated to — makes them INCREDIBLY powerful when it comes to turning that already existing mind share into market share.

That is why generic domain names are so valuable, because these words already live in the minds of millions if not billions of people.

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