Marketing to Women Online:
How Not To Do It Part II
The Grass Is Always Greener

A Domain By Any Other Name...

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief Social Media Strategist at xynoMedia Technology

The other day I'm on the horn with Lady Diane Danielson and we start talking about company names and how I'm so very tired of my company's domain name getting caught in email spam filters (because of the 'x' and 'y') when trying to send email to clients or prospects. Reason number 4,356 that we're changing the company name and launching a new brand in Jan 2008.Objectification

So Diane begins to tell me about her woes with her domain name - DowntownWomensClub.com but for a TOTALLY different reason.  Apparently, "downtown" is a sexual reference. Who knew? Ok, I did but, whatever. I didn't know that anyone would ever associate that with DWC for crying out loud. I'm a member!  If I recall correctly, Diane even said that someone once asked her - to her face - if the site was a porn site (gasp!)! [Correct me if I'm wrong, Diane]

Thus began this whole brainstorming about how other women-centric domain names are probably having the same problem. We wondered out loud if Tory Johnson of Women for Hire was catching the same hell we both were. I mean...Women FOR HIRE? The same thing had to be happening on her end. One call to Tory confirmed it - and more (which I'll be covering in my Entrepreneur column in Jan 2008). Damn!..and Tory runs a very respectable business.

And, then Diane dropped the bombshell of all bombs. You know, PINK Magazine, right? The women's business magazine? But, do you know THIS Pink Magazine? (For the record, I did not contact anyone at either PINK Magazine for a comment.)

It seems like everywhere you turn words, feelings and scenarios that are used to describe women are being co-opted and turned into smut by...well, men (along with a smattering of highly-paid women in advertising).

So, what does this mean for us marketing to each other and communicating that energy and intent?

If you can't have a pithy company name with some sparkle without being lumped togther with the latest Viagra ads, what's left?

I know full well that we women don't have to use words like 'pink' or 'downtown' to describe businesses geared toward women, but that's our right and choice, no?

I guess it's also our right and choice to pick other names, too, huh?

Usually I have an answer for everything, but this one stumps me. And, while I don't want to overreact, I find something inwardly saddening about this trend.

It's almost as if nothing is sacred - not even our careers. Are we always objects? Even when it comes to our domain names?

Bottomline: What do you think? Should women select better, more suitable names for our companies? Ones that have less of a chance of being smeared?  Am I totally over-reacting to what I see as the bigger picture? Do I need a chill pill?

P.S. My InfoWorld blog finally launched today! It's called: Social Media 360: Less Facebook, More Business. Give my two little posts (for now) some traffic love! :)

Comments

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Lena L. West

Talia:

Thanks for your feedback and perspective.

I'm not sure that it's a "no win", but without a doubt, it's a hard win.

To some people, this may be the cost of doing business but, I don't see this phenomenon happening to sites geared toward men which sets off a red flag of sorts for me.

- Lena

talia

Yeah, I am torn as to what we women should do. I mean on one hand it is important to choose a domain name that means something to you and your company or blog, but you don't want to get punished for it right?

I mean look at what one comment said about the company that has WhoRepresents.com which obviously as they say can be seen as WHOREpresents.com! Ouch!

I think that the search engines and email whatchamacallits are just doing their best to filter out the porn crap and there is sooooo much of it. I don't know, if they didn't do it how full would our inboxes be with porn spam?

Tough call, it is a no win situation really.

Lena L. West

Chelle:

Yes, I've heard of that website. I can't say that I'm impressed with the content but I believe they're just starting so I'll reserve my vote.

Thanks for sharing the Tech Crunch link...I'll check it out.

-Lena

Chelle

There was a bit of a back and forth a few weeks ago on TechCrunch about the names of a couple women focused social networking sites. Namely Damsels In Success. Some of the comments were quite insightful, others a little silly. But it was interesting to read.

http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/08/22/damsels-in-success-networking-for-professional-women/

Lena L. West

Porsche:

Yes, I'm of two minds about this one as well.

Thanks for chiming in,

Lena

Porsche

This is a hard one. It's a catch-22 for sure, as there's nothing you can really do. Should women be responsible for thinking about the repercussions of their name? Probably. Should women be allowed to choose their own names. Sure, but there will be repercussions in society. It's a tough job being a business owner and coming up with names. I think just further thought into the future would help remedy some frustrations, and just letting snide comments slide are the other option. In the meantime, for your female entrepreneur looking for some help even buying your domain name, let alone coming up with a company name, check out this contest called “Make Your Dreams Come True with Mirassou”. They will be awarding one aspiring business woman $50,000 plus a team of highly professional consultants to help kick start your business. Visit http://www.mirassou.com/women_in_business/dreams.asp for more info and to enter. I work with them so just wanted to give you the inside scoop. They even have advisers to help you think about the right name for your business and all the repercussions. Best of luck. Try not to get too frustrated. It's just another day in business, I guess. :)

Lena West

Diane:

Wow, thanks for this backstory. Isn't it amazing how things change so drastically in such a relatively short amount of time?

I agree that domain considerations are key right now especially since every word except for maybe 10 words in the English language are already reserved domain names. I call it a domain name hustle. :)

-Lena

Diane Danielson

We started the Downtown Women's Club in 1998 and at the time we were "all email" and many people said I don't check email. So we never even thought about the ramifications of our name. It's now 10 years later, and if I was founding the company now, I probably would have rethought the name. It's too long and it was too late for me to get DWC (Daniel Webster College had beat me out)by the time I decided to make the DWC a real business. I'm actually going to change my business email to something related to DWC in January, when we do a bit of rebranding. But, I think for anyone starting a business today, they need to think about a lot more things than how the name looks on paper or in a logo.

Diane

Lena L. West

Yvonne:

Yes, you're right, good businesses will triumph over smut! Power to the women!

Lee:

Wow, now THAT's interesting - do you want to be interviewed for my Entrepreneur article? Yeah, it's all about context, right? And, how is one to know without looking at the website. It's like the URL of the Hollywood casting company that tells everyone who represents celebrities. The name of the company is Who Represents?

Their domain name is WhoRepresents.com or WHOREpresents.com. Yikes!

Thanks for your comment.

-Lena

Yvonne DiVita

Lena, this is merely a fact of life. Our cover designer, Karin, just started a blog on going green - ecologically - and thought she'd be creative by calling it Green Sexy. Well, we don't yet know how much trouble that will get her...but, I can tell you this, my book still attracts a fair amount of insults because "Dick*less" has become synonymous with a certain male body part, when, in the day, it was just a boy's name. And that's what it refers to in my book.

I just let it go. Smart people, like you and Diane and others who read this blog, can laugh it off, as I do. If we band together and refuse to allow the dirty thoughts of others dictate what we do and say, we'll win and they'll lose. IMHO

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