Is the old mantra of having a dot com domain name for your business becoming less important as social media takes hold, or is it still a vital and centralised piece of branding that must simply evolve to keep pace with the changing nature of the Web?
Mashable published an interesting article this week titled Is Social Media Making Corporate Websites Irrelevant? in which it suggests the merits of directing people to a social networking URL instead of a corporate web site.
I can understand the lure of promoting more “sticky” sites, such as Facebook, Bebo and MySpace, over a staid corporate web site, particularly if the company has managed to create something viral or otherwise of enduring interest to users.
However, my general take on the issue is that it’s not wise to decentralise branding and content to third party sites that may either restrict access to members (Facebook) or could close down or suffer technical problems that subsequently offlines a big chunk of your marketing efforts.
Instead, create microsites using domain names that you own, pointing to content that you host. Yes, incorporate Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and whatever other social networking and media tools you see fit, but don’t rely on them outright.
If you want to direct people to Facebook, why not do it via a subdomain that you have control over. In any case, not many organisations have vanity Facebook accounts yet. What’s easier to remember: facebook.yourdomain.com or www.facebook.com/people/Your-Name/123456789 ?
Web 2.0 sites are certainly a lot more alluring than the average corporate site, but there’s no reason why companies can’t create (or outsource) their own compelling content that embraces the social web but doesn’t relinquish overall control.
What do you think?