When combining two or more words into one URL one can glue them together using dashes or hyphens or just combine into a solid name (e.g., "jingling domains" can be transformed into jingling-domains.com or jinglingdomains.com - the former being dashed and the latter solid).
The question "which way is better?" is asked all the time. From the branding point of view, hyphenated names are easy for the eyes, especially with more than two words glued together, for instance Brands-and-Jingles.com. However, when it goes about the actual typing the address into the browser, people prefer solid names.
Our advise: always try to secure both names, and promote the one appealing best to you and your clients.
On the URL (Uniform Resource Locator, a.k.a. web address) level, at Brands-and-Jingles, we distinguish between conventional domains, domain jingles (jingling domains), and domain hacks:
- Conventional domains: typical URLs as we all know them, e.g., Brands-and-Jingles.com.
- Domain hacks: unconventional URLs that usually omit the ".com" ending and use other top-level domains (TLDs), either ccTLD (country code) or gTLD (generic), to build a phrase that can be read as a complete word, slogan or even a sentence, given the separating dots are skipped. See also another formal definition on Wikipedia.
Probably the most famous example of domain hack is del.icio.us. The name "hack" is implied here in terms of hacking the name, not the site in its nature per se. However, the first dot in "del.icio.us" is a bit unnatural, and thus we keep calling it a domain hack.
- Jingling domains: the term coined in 2008 by Mark Kychma, sometimes also referred to as domain jingles, are similar to domain hacks, with the only difference that they are more natural to read as the whole. These are usually built on .it, .ly, .me, or .us domains as they don't confuse the user of where to put the separating dots.
Although, it is difficult to determine where is the border between hacks and jingles, the general rule of thumb is that if it jingles and is easy to remember - it is the latter, else the former.
Typical.ly, jingling names irradiate powerful statements. Good examples are: buy.cheap.ly, do.u.luv.me, love.actual.ly, remortgage.me, replay.me, sea.sun.me, unlock.me, etc.
To get the flavour of jingling, let us provide some examples of good English names built on various ccTLDs, which are easy for the eyes:
- .AT: mymall.at (virtual shopping)
- .BE: LetMe.Be (personal journal)
- .BY: stand.by
- .IN: put.in
- .IS: who.is
- .IT: print.it
- .LY: quick.ly
- .ME: fancy.me
- .NO: just.say.no
- .TO: travel.to
- .TV: london.tv
- .US: juice4.us
And of course old good gTLDs:
- .BIZ: show.biz
- .NET: inter.net
- .PRO: ski.pro
Many ccTLDs are used as known abbreviation and acronyms:
- .AD: vista.ad (advertisement agency)
- .AI: robot.ai (artificial intelligence)
- .CA: la.ca (Los Angeles, California)
- .CD: music.cd
- .CV: my.cv / your.cv
- .DJ: house.dj (disk jockey)
- .FM: last.fm
- .MC: prime.mc (master of ceremony)
- .MD: surgeon.md (medical doctor), physician.md forwards to nih.gov (National Institute of Health)
- .TT: audi.tt
- .VC: MAKTIG.VC (venture capital fund)
- .WS: easy.ws (web site)
One may also consider the following names, though the ccTLDs are not that jingly in general:
- .MA: grand.ma
- .MR: big.mr
- .MY: is.my
Now compare it to hacks, which are indeed a bit awkward, but still good enough as, due to the existing ICAAN rules, you cannot have any URL you wish for:
- .CA: cir.ca
- .CH: ri.ch
- .EE: s.ee
- .ES: fish.es
- .IE: pig.ie
- .PH: ral.ph
- .RE: architectu.re
- .RS: blogge.rs
- .SE: of-cour.se
- .UY: b.uy
Uniform Resource Locator, sometimes broader referred to as URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) is in fact nothing more than a web address.