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Anyone know any hard facts about the disadvantage of having a dash in your URL? Heard some disparaging words about having dashes in your URL and it just so happens that our company has a dashes in the URL of our main site.

We've got a dashless .us site, but that probably is statistically worse in terms of Bings and Googles right?

Also, the domain we want isn't up for sale for a few years (according to whois). Is there any way we can acquire that property earlier?

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Just to avoid confusion, this post appears to be asking about the domain name itself, not the URLs. To rephrase Peter's question, why is mydomain.com so much better than my-domain.com from an end-user and marketing perspective? –  Justin Scott Jun 15 '09 at 19:21
    
Yeah, that was what I was talking about, in reference to Podcast 56 with Jason Calacanis saying my company's domain was pretty much worthless. –  Peter Turner Jun 15 '09 at 21:41
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4 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

From a marketing point of view, people can find it harder to remember a domain with a dash in it, which could make your site less memorable. It's no huge loss though.

As for buying a domain before it's available, you'd have to contact the owner (whois will give you details), but if they're using it, they won't be willing to sell. They might also try and overcharge you. If you've got a trademark on the name, you could try threatening legal action, but that's as a last resort.

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Per Google:

We recommend that you use hyphens (-) instead of underscores (_) in your URLs.

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Dashes are fine from a technical standpoint, however underscores are not allowed in hostnames (although that doesn't stop people from using them - mostly successfully).

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I know it's ok from a technical standpoint, but I was thinking more along the lines of Search Engine Optimization. Maybe this isn't the correct forum for my question. –  Peter Turner Jun 15 '09 at 18:39
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The domain extension shouldn't matter as long as the relevance is there. delicious is a good example.

However some browsers will auto assume starting with .com.

I like to use "CTRL+Enter" after typing a URL to get the http://www. and .com automatically added.

dashes are not part of most people's touch typing which could hold you back a bit.

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Shift-Enter and Shift-Ctrl-Enter add .net and .org, respectively, in Firefox. –  Joshua Nurczyk Jun 15 '09 at 21:14
    
Yep, use those too. –  MathewC Jun 16 '09 at 13:12
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