Gee Whillickers!

Domain Attraction

There are approximately 50 million .COM domains registered. Let’s have a look at some interesting data about these virtual address plaques we all nail onto the front of the homes and businesses we build online.

The Dynamic Duo
Out of the 676 possible two-letter sequences, there are none available. No surprise. Even the full 1296 possible combos using both letters and numbers are taken.

Three Letters Are Not a Charm
All of the 17,576 possible three-letter sequences are taken. And there’s not even much hope by adding digits into the mix for short and junky domains like

Hey, That’s a Lot of Four-Letter Words!
There are over 450,976 possible four-letter combinations. This is where availability starts to creep into the picture, but just barely. You’re going to have to hunt for a four-letter-only domain, but with nearly a million letter/number combos, you may find more success with yummy domains like and Catchy, huh?

Five Will Getcha 11,881,376
That’s how many possible five-letter combos there are. But you’re going to have to work hard to find a free one that can even be pronounced or can be back-engineered into an acronym. (My Very Own Meaningless Acronym) is available, but WATCH OUT! is taken! Adding digits only adds as much nonsense as it does mathematical possibilities—which is quite a lot.

Graph - Length Distribution

Graph - Letter Sequences

So, Where’d They All Go?
Unfortunately, the majority of these aren’t even being used for anything worth looking at. And that’s not just a broad insult to the websites out there—they’re simply parked in digital limbo.

Parasites and Pirates
There is such a parasite that exists in this world that goes by a few names—the one you can utter in front of children is “domain speculator.” This is what one calls people and companies who buy domains by running computer programs or employing staff to find and buy available domains en masse for resale, advertising, SEO or some other exciting and worthwhile enterprise.

Their parasitic practices include buying domains out from under someone else as well, like the preemptive purchase of a domain like Guess who this money-grubbing idiot is hoping to cash in on?

Then there’s hijacking domains. That’s when a domain is tracked for when its registration lapses, becoming available. Perched like soulless digital vultures, speculators scarf up lapsed domains for themselves or try to “resell” them to others, or back to their owners—eh-hem, can you say “blackmail”?

Gee Whillickers!

Branding in Tongues

Here are some actual foreign product names that could never hit the shelves in America without renaming and rebranding.

Looza orange juice
Flag - France (France)

Chubi chocolate M&Ms
Flag - Chile (Chile)

Basterd bread
Flag - Holland (Holland)

Skum candy
Flag - Sweden (Sweden)

LaVile drinking water
Flag - vietnam (Vietnam)

Schmuck sprinkles
Flag - German (Germany)

Meltykiss chocolates
Flag - Japan (Japan)

Flirt chocolate bars
Flag - Belgium (Belgium)

Prison deodorant
Flag - Uganda (Uganda)

Colon detergent
Flag - Czech Republic (Czech Republic)

Mysore rose soap
Flag - India (India)

Cocagne fish fillets
Flag - Portugal (Portugal)

Hertzgut butter
Flag - German (Germany)

Krapp toilet paper
Flag - German (Germany)

Plopp chocolate
Flag - Sweden (Sweden)

Smellur cookies
Flag - Iceland (Iceland)

Puke playing cards
Flag - Turkey (Turkey)

Atum Bom tuna
Flag - Portugal (Portugal)

Now think about the fact that everyday American brands like Wheaties, Ford and eBay are bound to phonetically translate as some awfully odd or inappropriate meaning in some language or other.

Gee Whillickers!

Antique Branding

Josiah Wedgwood

It is commonly accepted that branding, positioning and product endorsement were innovative marketing techniques developed in the late twentieth century. WRONG! In actual fact, these concepts were fully developed more than two hundred years earlier.

Like many of the residents in his small village in Staffordshire, England, Josiah Wedgwood was apprenticed into the pottery trade. In 1759, at the age of 29, Josiah decided to expand his business, an unusual concept in those times. He first set his product apart by literally branding his pottery products with his name.

Wedgwood signature

He then established a production assembly line with strict quality controls and a capacity for high-volume output.

To drive more demand for his products, Wedgwood established a sales force which was paid on commission and he targeted the upscale demographic of the newly moneyed classes of England.

Sales were further driven by the gift of a customized breakfast set to Queen Charlotte (the wife of George III). Duly impressed, she ordered a full tea service, and bestowed the title of “Potter to Her Majesty” on Wedgwood.

Queensware plate

Not missing an opportunity for positioning combined with celebrity product endorsement Wedgwood appropriately named the tea set “Queensware,” which he sold in vast quantities to the general public.

In 1771, in a bold play to capture the European market, at a cost of $2.7 million, Wedgwood delivered free samples of his pottery to one thousand wealthy Germans. More than half of them were sufficiently impressed to order additional pottery items. He recovered his investment and now had a respected international brand.

He further extended the influence of the brand when he capitalized on the notoriety of several commissioned dinnerware sets for Russian Empress Catherine II. In a masterstroke of marketing, Wedgwood exhibited the set for several months at his London showroom prior to delivery and required admission by ticket only. The public came in droves.

Wedgwood was now firmly established as the premier seller of fine tableware in Europe, outselling his competitors in volume while charging four times the cost of their comparable products. To top it off, Wedgewood china and pottery is presently one of the most sought after by collectors. How’s that for successful branding?