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Monday, July 16, 2012
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Radio Missing Top Level Domains


Quite a bit of sleight-of-hand occurs within the radio industry. We often read about items that carry only a portion of what's important, so there's an appearance of more success than is really attained.

Like a weak journalist interviewing a politician who avoids directly answering a question, we often see radio trades avoiding the tougher stance that clarifies a situation. One example is the current story about Clear Channel's iHeartRadio music festival selling out in eight minutes; a claim that needs the size of room and number of available tickets to carry meaning. Have you read either of those points anywhere under those large headlines?

I bring this up because online there's another sleight-of-hand being tried with little success. It deals with an abundance of radio-related names in the Top Level Domain (TLD) of ".com" that are floating around the internet, not being used by the radio industry.

"The radio industry missed the opportunity to purchase all of these names for $9.95 each when the internet was getting its legs." Group heads believe their creation of alternative domain names will draw attention. The RadioAdLab is a good place to start this lesson. With an opening paragraph stating "The Radio Ad Lab is funded by Radio industry companies to further the understanding of how Radio advertising works, to measure Radio's effectiveness, and to increase advertiser and agency confidence in Radio," it doesn't show up in search queries for "how to advertise on radio." Pandora does. Among other things, what hurts is the nebulous name "RadioAdLab."

If you haven't visited the site before, RadioAdLab does appear on the 4th page of a Google Search for "radio advertising" (it's #31), but that isn't good enough in the fight for online exposure. If you have visited this site, the search rank will be higher.

The tip is that nothing will win online better than an exclamatory ".com" name.

Let's put a few examples on the table and ask why radio, which is paying its executives many millions of dollars, can't find a few thousand in its budget to purchase an online address like WhyRadio.com.

What triggered these words occurred last week; I went looking for that recently launched RAB "WhyRadio" web site. Of course, my first instinct was to go to "WhyRadio.com," only that isn't correct because the real domain for this collection of radio facts is at "http://www.rab.com/whyRadio." Why?

Visit "WhyRadio.com" and you'll find a placeholder web site serving ads. It's also up for auction at the meager starting price of $1,234. Here's another tip, to RAB, you have 6 days left to bid. Why let this domain name sit idle, while leaving the current WhyRadio information buried deep at RAB.com?

The radio industry never has understood the importance of a TLD.

Clear Channel has come up with names like TotalRadius.com. What's that mean?

It took CBS Radio a few years after it purchased CNET to activate what that company owned, Radio.com. And I'm still looking for any radio group to purchase either RadioAdvertising.com or RadioAdvertiser.com. I own the latter and will let it go for a reasonable price. But, after 15 years, not once has anyone in the radio industry inquired about its availability. I also know that no one has questioned the owner of RadioAdvertising.com.

Checking on domain name ownership is a very simple process. Who is it that owns "RockRadio.com"? How about "TalkRadio.com"? Or, "ListenToRadio.com"? It's not anyone in the radio industry. Nor do any radio groups own "RadioStations.com," "SellingOnRadio.com," or "AdvertisingOnRadio.com."

Take this one step farther. As was mentioned in a May 2009 Audio Graphics article, names like "HoustonRadio.com, DetroitRadio.com, DenverRadio.com, LosAngelesRadio.com, MiamiRadio.com, PittsburghRadio.com, or even the mother of all radio industry names, NewYorkRadio.com" are missing from any radio group's portfolio.

Even the term "SeattleRadio.com," owned by Fisher Communications of Seattle Washington, sits idle with no redirect leading to any of Fisher's Seattle radio properties. Pardon me, but that's just stupidity in action.

TotalRadio.com is owned by Noalmark Broadcasting. It's the only example of a radio group owning a radio name that I could find. As for owning your own call letters or frequency as a web site address, that may work in your market but it does no good for someone outside.

Audio Graphics owns "RadioRow.com," RadioAdsOnline.com," and a number of other radio domains. In 15 years of ownership, I've never been approached by anyone in radio who's even asked about a price. Yet, we watch millions of dollars being paid to CEOs and people in the higher levels of an industry that's losing the online battle.

Radio missed the opportunity to purchase all of these names for $9.95 each when the internet was getting its legs. $10 lousy dollars. Think about that for a moment. That was mistake number 1. Mistake number 2 is to continue paying all these high level radio industry executives the wage they receive as they sit on their hands, not understanding how people are moving around the internet today.

If the radio industry is going to make headway in years to come it can't ignore the importance of the Top Level Domain ending in ".com." (Waiting for the release of the upcoming ".radio" domain is wasted time. They'll be as effective as the ".FM" series - especially in ranking high on search engines.)

Though content is important, domain names are as important to the success of an online venture. Even more so when it comes to consumers and advertisers finding information, or search engines ranking your web site. (An example of this is to go to one exclamatory name that is owned by the radio industry - RadioHeardHere.com. See what having poor content creates. Or, try sampling TheBestofRadio.com to find the same style of weak content.)

Being online without a Top Level Domain is ignorant in a new media world. Continue like this and the radio industry is going nowhere in its battle to reach people, on devices that are replacing traditional radio receivers in hands and on dashboards.

Names in the ".com" TLD are there. The question is when will radio start using them to succeed, and quit this attempt at sleight-of-hand positioning online. It's not working.
















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