Monday, December 29, 2008

Register a Domain to Promote Your Ebay Auctions

Branding and name recognition are sought after by merchants and marketers both online and off. Some names have gotten so big that they’re now used as verbs, such as ‘Google’, ‘Photoshop’ and, yes, ‘Ebay’. On a smaller scale, you can get your own name recognition by registering a custom domain name and using it to promote your Ebay stores and auctions.

Why would you pay for a domain name when you could just use your Ebay storefront URL to draw customers? Two reasons: marketability and customer convenience. It’s much easier to market a custom domain name than it is to market a long URL filled with random numbers, letters, and other characters. Likewise, it’s easy for customers to remember a custom domain name. Marketing is all about getting people’s attention and keeping it long enough to cinch a sale. Most domain names can be reserved for under ten dollars a year. With the potential payoff that name recognition brings with it, those ten dollars are definitely a worthy investment.

There are some rules to remember before you reserve a domain name for your Ebay store. First, never reserve a domain name that actually includes the word ‘Ebay’. Name recognition is a hot commodity, and Ebay will not be happy if you try to capitalize on their trademark. There’s a secondary issue as well. The Internet is a very fluid place. Ten years ago, we didn’t have YouTube, MySpace, or many other modern day giants. Ten year down the road, who’s to say that Ebay will be the auction site of choice? It would be a shame to spend several years cultivating your name recognition, only to have another auction site spring up overnight and bump Ebay out of top position.

What you do with your registered domain is entirely up to you. Some Ebayers simply have the new URL forward to their Ebay store. Others build an entire web site around their auction listings and seller bio. With widgets, feeds, and other little extras, it’s possible to have a very informative web site that still promotes your auctions and storefront.

The Ebay pros do caution against using affiliate links on your web site to promote your own auctions. This is against Ebay’s terms of use, and can get your account suspended. You can, however, use your web site to promote other goods that you sell elsewhere. If you have an offline store, post contact information so that local buyers can drop in and check out your goods. You can also sell merchandise directly through your web site. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination – and, of course, by Ebay’s rules!

If you’re having trouble thinking of a snazzy name for your new domain, try using your Ebay account name. If that name is taken, try following it with ‘auctions’ or ‘auctionsite’. Many domain registration services make suggestions for alternate domain names. Remember to make the name easy to spell and remember, and look at it with a critical eye to make sure the words don’t inadvertently combine to spell something embarrassing or offensive.

Ebay stores and auctions offer modern solutions for sellers. But to take full advantage of the possibilities, serious sellers should never underestimate the power of branding. Get an inexpensive custom domain name that will stick in buyers’ minds, and watch those bids roll in.

1 comment:

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