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Empirical Evidence for Domain Name Performance

Karan Girotra

INSEAD - Technology and Operations Management

Karl T. Ulrich

The Wharton School

April 6, 2012

INSEAD Working Paper No. 2012/41/TOM

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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 26

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

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Date posted: November 25, 2010 ; Last revised: May 9, 2012

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

Contact Information

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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