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.

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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” 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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