Do Domain Names Even Matter Any More?

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Evan Williams, the man (seen above) who brought us Blogger and Twitter, and therefore reasonably described as a dude who knows where his internet towel is, has something to say on the subject of domain names: they really don’t matter any more.

The people at ICANN who recently voted to allow the registration of .anything-you-want for the sum of $185,000 a pop might disagree, but Williams has a compelling argument.

(MORE: Custom Domain Suffixes Coming: Here’s What You Need To Know)

For one thing, domains don’t matter because Google knows where everything is, and it doesn’t care about domains. Google doesn’t care if your website lives inside a sub-sub-sub directory on an obscure sub-domain sitting in a neglected corner of an old server rack kept in a barn in Oregon.

As long as the stuff the sites contains has a high enough pagerank, Google will be happy to index it and present it as a search result. Or to put it another way: as long as it matters, people will be able to find it.

And that’s just one reason why domains are losing importance. Williams has a whole list of others.

People used to think that having a single-word .com domain was the only way to ensure success, but that’s simply no longer the case. People are still finding their way to what they want, with or without a “good” domain name attached to it.

Does this mean an end to domain name speculation, and to people paying huge fees for great one-worders? No, it probably doesn’t. There’s one thing still in a good domain’s favor, and that’s for word-of-mouth.

People are still much happier to say “Where did I get these shoes? I bought them at someamazingonlineshoestore.com.” They won’t say “I faved a Tweet by some guy that linked to a saved search that took me to some site I can’t remember. But thanks for asking.”

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