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Consequences of a Baaad Domain Name

Seth Godin has a new book coming. It’s called “Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us“. Seth is a popular guy and writes popular books. It should be popular. He’s also a marketing innovator, notorious for doing things differently in obvious ways (so every notices that he’s doing things differently). To pull that off, he sometimes has to beat everyone over the head with the fact that he’s doing things differently. But, he can also achieve that awareness through…marketing. And that’s what he’s doing now. To promote “Tribe: etc” he’s aiming for best-seller status, which we all know requires tons of pre-selling. Pre-sell enough books and you launch as a best seller, which, of course, helps your launch do better because…. you can claim you have a best seller. Get it?

Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is… Seth has decided to build an exclusive online community for those who appreciate innovative marketing ideas, and offer membership by invitation only, to … you guessed it… people who have pre-ordered (and paid for) his book. Clever tactic for a $15 book. He claims he’s not doing it to sell books, and I believe him (I believe he’s doing it to qualify for best-seller status, but that’s just my opinion). Seth says he’s doing it to ensure that his online community launches with the right people (people who were willing to spend $15 on his marketing book… whatever).

It is true that the $15 price tag is insignificant compared to the value of getting in early on a Seth Godin-driven online community, especially one that promises :

A tribe for marketers, for leaders, for those focused on building communities or creating products or spreading ideas…this online community will live on a site we’ve created that will feature blogs, forums, social networking, comments, photos, videos and a job board. And it’s by invitation only until October. Spots are limited and early members get privileges and bragging rights…Members get a password and the privilege of meeting each other, posting thoughts, connecting to big ideas or projects and more. The site will include excerpts from the book as well as a chance to contribute to a new jointly-authored ebook, with full credit and links to the contributors.

Wow. All for $15. Anyone who believes in the promise (and there are plenty of Squidoo afficionados who believe in Seth) will glady charge $15 bucks to the credit card, especially since you not only get the book (eventually) but also get an exclusive personal early invite to …. are you ready?….. Ouch!

First, I have to apologize because I know you’re dizzy from looking at that and trying to figure out if it really is 3 i’s in a row (or is it 4?, or perhaps it’s an umlat or something?) Yes, folks, it is 3 consecutive lower case letter I’s.

What a horrible domain name.

Seth’s blog doesn’t mention the actual domain he’s going to use for his exclusive community of marketers, but this report did. When I checked the WHOIS today I saw Megan Casey (Seth’s point person on Squidoo?) as the registrant. By the way, is already registered by someone else (sorry) and if you have epilectic tendencies please stop reading now because I note that is still available! (yes, that’s 4 consecutive letter I’s). Someone should pick up that typo, no? You can own it for less than the price of a cheap marketing book (wink wink).

You can also note that someone has something going on at, which I guess makes sense if you buy into the whole ning thing.

Bad domains are a curse, and this one is truly horrible. Maybe that’s why Seth didn’t mention it? Maybe he still has hope that his team will find something better before he has to use it? Whatever, the fact is, no matter how much I think Seth’s idea is good and his community would work, I won’t be joining even at a mere $15 price point. It’s nothing personal – like I said I expect him to succeed. I just can’t stomach the domain name, and I know it will fail.

Oh sure he can change it, and a bad domain name is a temporary condition because it becomes obvious to everyone real fast when the traffic gets lost on the way in during the first month. But this one is just painful. A marketing community on a domain that can’t be read, can’t be spoken, can’t be typed without double-checking, and all for a product that can be spoken (“tribe”) and everyone understands (“tribe – we want to be in one”). Please. I would be embarassed to sign up.

I was almost embarassed to join Squidoo when it started because of the silly name, but I recognized it as quirky in a friendly way. Plus the octopus cartoon thing helped people identify with it a ton. This time, however, no donuts to anyone on the team that voted for triiibe. As a user, based on that domain name alone, I am completely predisposed to believe it will fail. If I think of triiibe on Ning… slow, clumsy Ning…3rd parties monetizing my activity stream…. I will definitely pass. But my disgust (and this blog post) was completely prompted by that horrible domain name.

I so desperately want to hit my registar and pool etc. for a tribal tribe-like domain name that’s better and available for under $500 bucks or so to help Seth out, except… I have some other stuff I have to do right now. Wow. Talk about bad domain names. Geesh. Ewe. Bleh. I think I need a shower.


  1. graywolf wrote:

    ii is gone but iiii is still open (not me)

    wonder if you would make enough from amazon aff sales of the book to justify buying it …

    Friday, August 8, 2008 at 10:07 pm | Permalink
  2. Dr. Richard wrote:

    I have huge respect for Seth and Squidoo and his books and his other stuff. He stands out as someone who delivers on genuinely useful ideas most of the time. I think the new URL is good for a few reasons:

    – you read it and then read it again – it gets noticed
    – it’s easy to remember
    – it relates to the topic
    – people are talking about it because of the spelling (as we are here)

    As you say though the downside is it’s easy to mis-spell, so it does break one of the golden URL rules.

    Good luck to Seth and I hope he succeeds (again)

    @Richard: No disrespect to Seth intended, as I stated, but it is a bad domain name (no matter what upside you try and find). That “people talk about it” thing is a latch ditch attempt at redemption… it is an urban myth that any publicity is good publicity when you are promoting a new web site in a crowded market. I’m happy to link to him and talk about his site…but it won’t help. Can’t spell it, can’t speak it, don’t own the probable typos, and it is remarkable for how bad it is. That doesn’t add up to genius marketing.

    Given no option but try and help Seth succeed, I’d turn those 3 lower case I’s into cute indian arrows pointing up, perhaps work in a tee-pee theme somehow, trying to help make it memorable but he’ll still lose his traffic to tribe and triibe and probably trybe and triiiibe etc.

    Good luck to Seth. If there is one thing I have learned from the domaining community, it is that people truly believe in their genius domain name choices, even when I (and perhaps everyone else) think they are terrible. Feel free to cite Galileo here, or Einstein’s shoe tying issues, or whetever.

    Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 1:49 pm | Permalink
  3. Canon wrote:

    HAAAA, just saw your page name…


    GREAT :-)

    @Canon spammer: Glad you liked it. I get my laughs where I can.

    Friday, August 15, 2008 at 4:42 pm | Permalink