I've been actively marketing online for almost 20 years. And I've missed a ton of great domain names...
For example, this blog was originally called indiemusician.com. I had to buy musicmarketing.com on the aftermarket...and it wasn't cheap.
Buying the domain you want from somebody who already owns it may be a good option, assuming the domain is for sale. If it's not, then what?
A few alternative domain names you can try, if you're not able to get YourBand.com...
What I do not suggest is getting a domain name with .net, .org, or .biz. When it comes to domain names, people think .com and nothing else.
1. Stay away from names with hyphens.
2. If you must have a number, get two domains, one with numerals and one with the number spelled out.
3. If your name has a "weird" spelling or there is one way to spell your name, get different versions of it and direct them to your main site...even if it seems obvious. For example, direct an uncommon spelling, like indymusician.com, to indiemusician.com.
Obviously, having a great domain name is an important part of your marketing strategy. To help you come up with one, here are some questions to ask yourself...
1. Is your band so new that you can change your name to something that would enable you to get YourBand.com?
2. Is there an aspect of your marketing that would make sense with a .com after it? For example, Kiss' fanclub is known as the Kiss Army. KissArmy.com would work for them as well as put focus on the fans, which is a good marketing strategy.
3. Is there a generic term for what you're doing that would make a good domain name? For example, indiemusician.com or popsinger.com.
4. Is there a common word or phrase that would make for a good domain name? For example, underarms.com for a deodorant company or ifyoucouldknow.com for a psychic.
Post more suggestions, as well as your creative domain names, below...
One month ago, I decided to stop using Twitter. From a time management perspective, I still stand by my reasons for doing so. In short, Twitter is a timesuck.
With that said, there is information I have access to, which people want. For example, listings of recording artists who are looking for songs to record now. I could post this information here, but since it's archived (and easily found later via search engines), it would present a problem for producers, artists, and publishing companies, since they'd continue to get submissions long after they were needed.
For something timely like this, Twitter is the perfect solution.
So I'm back on...for now.
If you're interested in artists, film projects, television shows, and other people who are looking for music you might be able to provide, follow me at twitter.com/davidhooper.
RELATED: Last week, I taped an episode of Music Business Radio with John Clore, Director of Digital Marketing & Campaigns at Sony Music Entertainment's Provident Label Group. If you're interested in hearing about Twitter from a major label perspective, make sure you subscribe to our free podcast to be notified when this episode is released.
Last month, I decided to stop using Twitter.
John Mayer has gone one step further and deleted his account entirely. He's moved everything over to Tumblr.
From his Tumblr page...
I had 3.3 million Twitter followers back in March April when I announced that I’d be predominantly posting on Tumblr, a site that takes all of 25 seconds to sign up for. Five months later I have just passed 50,000 followers, a fraction of my Twitter base…
From 3,300,000 followers to only 50,000...
Either people don't care or people aren't reading Twitter messages and don't know what's happening...
Thoughts? Post them below...
Just got an email from DJ Ron. He's released an iPhone app based on fan feedback and actually does something people are interested in. I'm posting the text from his email below, in hope that you'll get ideas on what you can do with your own iPhone app, should you decide to develop one.
I have officially launched my first APP: The DJ Ron App is now available in the iTunes store for iPhone/iTouch/iPad. I worked with MyAppInc.com to create something that would let me reach out to dance music lovers with several of the things that they ask for.
First, I am often asked for mixed CDs. As big supporter of artists and record labels, I don't feel comfortable giving away the work of others. With the App, you can stream a podcast - about 45 minutes of mixed dance music. You can then click on the blog to see a list of the artists and songs in the podcast, which you can then try to purchase through iTunes, Masterbeat, Beatport, etc. I will be updating the podcast twice a week (and sometimes more often). For all those who go to the gym, think of it as a personalized workout mix to keep you going.
People often ask me what the big new songs are. Through dancemusic.about.com, I post a song of the day which highlights something new that I am listening to and enjoying and/or think will be something big. On the app, in the Music section there is a list of songs which you can listen to and then purchase directly from the iTunes store. I will be using this section to highlight new releases that I am passionate about and it gives you a quick way to purchase the song and support the artist.
Surprisingly, I often hear that I am hard to get a hold of. On the app, there is a Request feature that sends an instant message directly to my phone. If you are at Play and can't make it to the stage - shoot me a request message. However, at Tribe, it would be awesome if y'all would still come up to the booth. <grin> This feature is more in test mode to see how it works out. The iPhone app also has links to photos, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube- so you can keep up with all aspects of my digital life. The app is free and is available now in the iTunes store.
Interested in creating an iPhone app and have no idea where to start? Try Appmakr.
Leo Laporte says nobody cares about Google Buzz and that this whole "social media" thing is like shouting into a vast echo chamber where no one can hear, because they're too busy shouting themselves.
Both Twitter and Facebook, while very cool in theory, are more of a distraction than anything. One more thing to do.
Are you on Twiiter and/or Facebook? Why or why not?Post your thoughts below...
But sometimes he's wrong... Like the time when he tried to handle his own distribution of the "Crystal Ball" box set in the late 1990s and failed miserably, even after he had 50,000 pre-orders.
Sometimes he's right though... Like when he packaged his album "Musicology" with tickets for his live show and sold over 632,000 copies in just five weeks.
Sure, it was sneaky, and SoundScan changed the rules of how it calculated album sales, but you can't argue that he got a lot of albums out there ...
But is he right about the Internet and the future of music sales?
"The Internet’s like MTV," Prince said in an interview with The Mirror. "At one time, MTV was hip, and suddenly it became outdated."
I keep getting emails from readers asking me for opinions on "social networking." I have lots of thoughts on the subject, so I'm going to post a few things I feel you should consider before spending too much of your time, energy, effort, and money doing anything involving Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or anything else that comes along.
First, let's talk about "old school" media...
The current issue of Playboy has an interview with John Mayer in which he refers to his penis as a "white supremacist" and spills the goods on his various romantic relationships and sexual conquests, among other things. What was published likely went through several filters, including the guy interviewing him, an editor, a layout person, and others...
In addition, to make the interview happen in the first place, there were likely several other things which had to take place. Something scheduled through a publicist, an editor, a reporter, etc.
In short, these things don't just happen; a team of people has to make them happen. It takes a team to actually get the interview and it takes a team to get the interview out to the public.
That's a lot of time for the person being interviewed to think about what he's going to say and to work with his team about the message which needs to be presented. There are also a lot of opportunities for somebody to catch a mistake, before it gets released to millions of people.
When is the last time you saw a typo in a magazine like Playboy? Probably never. That's because, like cellulite on a Playmate's thighs, typos get caught and fixed before they are printed.
A "bad interview" in traditional print media doesn't just happen. Lots of people were looking the other way for this one to be printed.
What does just happen, however, is artists going online and running their mouths without thinking about how the messages they send will be received or affect their careers. Often times, thanks to the combination of easy/instant publishing and no filter, what goes out is not focused enough, too frequent, or just plain crazy.
This is killing music careers. At least that's the opinion of La Roux's Elly Jackson.
"This new generation of pop stars are killing their careers with the social networking thing. They're promoting their careers in the short run, but in the long run they're telling people way too much about themselves and making themselves too accessible."
"I'm fascinated by artists such as Prince and David Bowie. Neither have Twitter profiles, because they're not stupid enough to be on Twitter. Prince doesn't like to have pictures on the Internet, let alone interviews. That's not by mistake or because he's an arsehole. It's because he knows the intrigue and mystery need to be upheld."
It's a valid opinion backed with solid arguments. Artist don't put the time or effort into social media like they would something like Playboy or Rolling Stone because it's too easy!
Artists like Prince and David Bowie came up in a different time though. Is it possible for a new artists not to be 100% accessible by social network services like Twitter? Will acts who aren't sending out messages every few hours be forgotten by a society that is easily distracted and onto the "next big thing" more quickly than ever before?
It's something to think about...and probably something you could convince yourself of, especially if you're somebody who is using social media as part of your music marketing strategy.
However, something else to think about is that John Mayer's success has, at least in my opinion, been due not to his use of social media, but instead to relentless touring, great musicianship, and catchy songs. Sure, he may have 3,000,000+ people following him on Twitter, but are those real fans or are they just there to see the train wreck?
I'll tell you... They're there to see the train wreck. Playboy wasn't the first time the guy ran his mouth and Twitter is the perfect outlet for him.
Don't confuse "fans" with people who are following you on Twitter. They're not necessarily the same thing. Fans spend money with you, buy your albums, come to your shows, and tell friends about you; Twitter followers simply click a button on their computers and add one more name to a list of "friends."
As a marketing guy, believe me, my company has tested Twitter and other social networks extensively. Seth Godin (listen to my interview with him) has tested them too...
"A lot of these fans and followers are faux. Sunny day friends. In one experiment I did, 200,000 followers led to 25 clickthroughs. Ouch."
That's clickthroughs, not buyers. And getting clickthroughs is easy!
So there goes the argument that you're "building relationships" or that anybody else is listening... Posting something via Twitter is less effective than printing up flyers and hitting random parking lots.
Feel free to post thoughts below. If you've done marketing tests using social media to sell your music or get people to shows, please post that information too.
Want more info on the subject? Be sure to look at more on the subject of social networking by Seth Godin as well as listen to my radio interview with him.
Let's say for a minute you're in the fitness business and your primary job is helping people to lose weight. Most of your business is done online, so you drive traffic to your site by advertising on Google.
Things are going great. You're making a ton of cash. Every day, you log in to check your stats and there is more money than there was the day before.
Until one day when it all stops... Everything. No more traffic.
Sound crazy? It happens all the time. Just ask these guys who just got banned from Google.
Sure, there are other options. They can go to MSN or Yahoo!, but chances are they're already there...and getting only a fraction of the traffic they were getting from Google. To get things back the way they were, if that's possible, will take some time.
If you are relying on one major source for your leads, traffic, sales, or distribution, take note. Everything is great when it works, but what will happen if something goes wrong?
This happens in the music business all the time...
For those of you selling music online, what percentage of your income comes from iTunes?
It happens in all industries! For example, if you're selling books, what percentage of your sales are via Amazon?
Think about offline revenue... If most of your music sales are done via a merch table at live gigs, or most of your income is via the gig performance itself, what happens if you get in an accident and are unable to perform?
I'm not one to get all "doom and gloom" on you. If you've got something that is working, keep at it. However, this is something you should be aware of, because it can and does happen...all the time.
WAYS TO DIVERSIFY YOUR MUSIC BUSINESS:
I'm an Apple fan. I'm typing this on a Mac, we record my radio show on a Mac, and I sell both audio books and music via the iTunes Store. Apple does a lot of things right. Unfortunately, security of your personal information via iTunes isn't one of them.
Over the weekend, my iTunes account was hacked. I found this out when I noticed unauthorized charges for iTunes downloads on my bank statement.
When I got on iTunes to see what was going on, I couldn't get into my account. When I used iForgot to retrieve my info, I found out that not only had my password been changed, my Apple ID had been changed also. This made their automated password retrieval system useless.
You would think that Apple would let you know when a change is made to your account, especially your email address. That's a standard security measure, which most sites do. For some reason, Apple doesn't.
How easy is it to get your iTunes login info? Anybody with your email address, date of birth, and address can change your Apple ID information. And since, for me, that information is all over the place online, whether it be Wikipedia's entry about me or the contact page on any number of web sites I'm associated with, that's not hard to come by...
Think it can't happen to you? Apple security is so bad that a class action lawsuit has been filed, alleging it violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by printing purchaser names, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers on receipts.
Fortunately, I caught the problem early. After a couple of emails to Apple and a helpful phone conversation with somebody from Apple Cares named Edward, after about an hour of work and conversations with two additional departments, I was back in. It's worth noting though that Apple refused to refund charges, even when all evidence pointed to its lack of proper security as the cause of this incident. If this happens to you and you want your money back, you'll need to go to your credit card company and file a dispute.
SECURITY SUGGESTIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH AN ITUNES ACCOUNT:
1. Use a fake date of birth.
2. Remove your credit card from iTunes. If you need to buy something, you'll have to type it in each time, but this will save you considerable hassle should your account ever be compromised. Do a search for "itunes account was hacked" and you will see several stories of this happening to people.
3. Make the answer to your "Security Question" something that nobody will be able to guess.
Using a Mac or iPhone? 1Password is a great solution to the issue of online security. It can create strong, unique passwords for you as well as remember them. You simply remember a single, master password.
PC users, try RoboForm for a similar solution.
As many of the readers of this blog, like me, make money selling content via iTunes, I hope Apple will improve iTunes security and start doing a better job looking out for its customers. Not only is this is nuisance if it happens to you, it can also cause people to lose faith in iTunes and stop spending money there.