Just got a phone call from a Sherpa site visitor who wanted to know how to find a good consultant for a DRTV (direct response television) campaign. Naturally I told him to contact the Electronic Retailing Association, which is the association for the DRTV industry. I didn't have their number handy so I just told him to go to their Web site at "Retailing.org". He said, "Oh ok, I'll go to Retailing.org.com." I said, "No, it's .org!" He replied in a confused voice, "You don't need to add a dot com?"
This conversation was a wake-up call for me. Here was an American businessperson who certainly surfed online (after all he got my number through our Web site), who didn't know URLs don't require a dot-com. I don't think he was neccessarily stupid, I think it's that we in the industry take basic knowledge like this so much for granted that we forget about civilians. And to be successful online, you have to design your site (and URL) to be easy-to-use by the lowest common prospect denominator. Does this mean alternate URL endings such as .tv and .biz and .net are far less valuable than .com? Yepper.
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