Domains and Branding in an App World?!?

Posted on 13 April 2019 by Andrei

We’ve all heard the “apps = the death of domains” narrative. While most domainers probably don’t believe this, a seed of doubt has likely been planted in their minds.


Well, because domains are not the only game in town anymore.

Up until the social media frenzy started, you *needed* a domain if you wanted to share your message with the world but nowadays… not so much. From Instagram “influencers” to “sensations” on newer platforms like TikTok, there are tons of success stories which prove you can do your thing without even touching a domain name.

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in the world of apps.

Sooooo many apps come and go. Today’s hottest app might be tomorrow’s MySpace. Time and time again, people who bet it all on just one platform and built a career on it were not able to adapt. Remember all the people who got popular on a platform called Vine back in the day by publishing short funny videos?

After Vine died, some transitioned successfully to YouTube or other platforms… many others, however, were not able to do it properly. And yes, I was ready to use a corny pun and say their career died on the vine… sue me 🙂

Leaving humor aside though, it should be clear that the social media phenomenon can be a branding blessing (enabling you to reach millions or even billions of eyeballs) but ultimately a curse if you don’t manage to adapt. I could write a gazillion books about social media and in all of them, it would be hard not to mention perhaps the fatal flaw of social media: the lack of any real control over your brand.

Made a mistake? Banned.

Didn’t make a mistake but someone thought you did? Banned.

Appeal? Yeah right!

Only a complete amateur would treat this blatantly obvious threat mildly and I believe brands are already starting to realize this. Social media disrupted the Internet in a very meaningful to the point of being shocking way. While it might have seemed that social media was here to replace everything that has to do with “Web 1.0” and facilitate a glorious transition to a post-domain era… once the dust settled, individuals as well as businesses realized it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Frankly, any marketer or entrepreneur worth his salt now understands two vital things about social media:

A) All these platforms are goldmines when it comes to (as Gary Vaynerchuk puts it) under-priced attention: whether we’re talking about a video of yours that went viral or a smart paid marketing campaign that leverages the (still) cheap traffic of various platforms, your brand can literally explode if you do things right

… however:

B) If you live by social media, you’ll probably die by social media and you can literally not afford to lose control over your brand. You just can’t. And when it comes to enabling you to do just that, those pesky Web 1.0 “relics” called domains are going to be vital!

Look, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: the #1 mistake domainers make when developing is assuming that an amazing domain will solve all their problems. It won’t. They spend all their money on a stellar name but only add mediocre development to the mix and are then surprised that they’re not making any money.

Therefore, no, the point of this post isn’t saying all you need is love… or in our case, a great domain.

I’m even willing to take things one step further and admit that as a percentage of your overall strategy, the importance of domains has diminished.

So what?!?

Yes, it’s a smaller percentage but a smaller percentage of a much bigger pie!

Please re-read the previous statement until it really sinks in: it’s unbelievable how much more money is on the table today when it comes to the Internet compared to let’s say 10 years ago. Just ridiculous! So even if domains are a smaller piece of that pie, the pie in question is huge enough (and getting bigger) for it not to matter.

Common sense is the operative word.

In 2019 and beyond, domainers cannot afford to embrace a domains-only view of the Internet. We need to get out of our little bubbles and acknowledge that the landscape is changing so that our strategies can be tweaked accordingly.

But if you think social media is here to kill domains… you couldn’t be more wrong! While social media is not here to help domains either, it does so indirectly (and I believe this will become more obvious as the dust continues to settle) by enabling this magnificently life-altering pie that is the Internet to become more and more important!

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Mark Thorpe Says:

    A domain should be your businesses homebase, an app and social media are just tools that can be used to help promote your business.

  2. Andrei Says:

    @Mark: yep!

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