Empirical Evidence for Domain Name Performance

26 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2010 Last revised: 9 May 2012

Karan Girotra

INSEAD - Technology and Operations Management

Karl T. Ulrich

The Wharton School

Date Written: April 6, 2012


This paper provides the first large-scale empirical evidence of the association between specific properties of internet domain names and website performance. We analyze over one million internet domain names, linking their phonological and morphological attributes to the realized demand for their associated websites. We test hypotheses related to how the names sound, how they look, their ease of recall, and the likelihood that they will be typed correctly. We find that certain attributes of names are associated meaningfully and significantly with the demand realized by a website. The websites with the highest demand have names that are short, include dictionary words, avoid punctuation symbols, and use numerals. The use of phonemes associated with disgust is negatively associated with performance for most websites, but positively associated with performance for adult sites. Some of these results from the on-line world are likely to hold off line, while some are not. These findings can be used in conjunction with other criteria as part of the selection process for names.

Keywords: Domain Names, Naming, Branding, Euphony, Phonology, Linguistics

Suggested Citation

Girotra, Karan and Ulrich, Karl T., Empirical Evidence for Domain Name Performance (April 6, 2012). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2012/41/TOM. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1714992 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1714992

Karan Girotra (Contact Author)

INSEAD - Technology and Operations Management ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77 305 Fontainebleau Cedex

Karl T. Ulrich

The Wharton School ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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