While looking over NorthxEast’s excellent guide to guerilla marketing, I was reminded of something that happened months ago when I was setting up this site.
But first let me tell you something about myself . Most people don’t actually call me Lucas (my youngest sister being one of a few exceptions). While I like the name, people I know have always called me by Luke. It’s always seemed more familiar to me — and Lucas has always sounded a bit more, well, formal or something.
So naturally, when I went to look for a domain name, one the first places I went was lukemcdonnell.com. After clicking around the site for a bit, I was quite surprised to find that there was a guy out there also named Luke McDonnell, who was a rather talented comic book artist.
I was a bit disappointed that the domain name wasn’t available, but at the same time, thought it was kind of cool that I had a namesake (who was much more talented than me at drawing, I might add).
If the other Luke McDonnell and I were both corporations, I would imagine there would be some kind of lawsuit involved for copyright infringement or using a previously registered trademark (as you can tell by that, I’m not a lawyer) — perhaps based on who was born first (thereby proving previous trademark rights)? So what did I do instead? I just went to see if lucasmcdonnell.com was available.
So what’s the lesson here? Well, I struggled a bit with that. At first I thought it was about marketing myself — that I had learned that the domain didn’t really matter. But from everything I’ve done on the web, I’ve learned that a domain is actually incredibly important to the success of a site. And then I thought it was that it was the execution of the idea that counted, versus just having the idea.
The conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s neither of these. There’s a basic human lesson here instead. This site has seen more benefits from the friends and contacts I’ve made online (and from my the friends and contacts I have offline) than from any domain name I could have chosen. It’s that technology — while it is a powerful enabler, too often becomes the focus of what we’re doing, instead of an extension of what we’re doing.
By the way, just as an aside, I would imagine that even though we both share the same name, the other Luke McDonnell and I wouldn’t really have much of a copyright issue if we were corporations — we’re not in the same industry, and I highly doubt we look the same (distinct brand recognition).