Co-operatives around the world can benefit from using a .coop domain name. Whether you have a web site or not or whether your cooperative is large or small, .coop provides many benefits to co-operatives. These are some of the reasons that organizations have bought .coop domain names. Which one works for you?
- Reclaim Your Names
Register for all the domain names your co-op needs for a strong online presence but which weren't available under other TLDs. Because .coop is available for use by only cooperatives, it gives your co-op a better chance of registering all the memorable, meaningful names you wanted.
- Improve your ranking at Google and other search engines
It is a good idea to register your cooperative's name, but it is still a better idea to register generic terms. Many people are searching in the Internet rather for a generic term than for your company's name. Seach engines like Google rank your listing higher if a keyword from a search is in your domain name. You can get these names with .coop when they are not available in .com. Listen to what the Internet "gurus" have to say about what names to buy: "As we've frequently reported in our SE Book & Newsletter, placing keywords right in your domain name can give your site a major boost on search engines. We've also reported that some engines are no longer accepting sub-directory pages. This is one of the reasons the smart marketing pros have been buying keyword-phrase domain names. They use them as doorway pages to boost traffic to their sites." says Stephen Mahaney, author of The Unfair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars. Michael Campbell points out, in Nothing But 'Net, "The reason we want keywords in the domain name is that search engines often get 'tuned' to find, and give better positioning to, domains with keywords in them." Declan Dunn, author of Winning the Affiliate Game, sent out a memo to his affiliates advising "To get on top of the search engines, one of the critical keys is a good domain name LOADED with keywords." Declan goes on to say "This news is spreading among WebMasters, SearchEngine Meisters, Internet marketers, and big corporations. Don't wait."
- Differentiate Your Cooperative
New top-level domains reserved for specific types of businesses are fast becoming the best way for businesses to stand out on the Internet amid a sea of .coms. Co-ops are using .coop to set their cooperative apart -- and above -- other web sites.
- Add Value to Your Web Site
Specialized domain names also enhance the value of your web names by instantly telling users - in just four letters - that your business is a cooperative, owned and governed by its members. Other specialized domain names, like .gov and .edu, provide legitimacy and credibility to the information on the web site, since users know that strict criteria are applied to anyone using these restricted domain names in their web addresses. Use .coop to give peace of mind to users on your site.
- Gain a Competitive Edge
Help consumers find the businesses they trust online. Extensive market research shows that consumers trust and prefer to do business with cooperatives( see below: coop-a domain of trust). Use .coop to help consumers and members find your cooperative online. Tell them you're not just another .com and gain a competitive edge over investor-owned companies!
- Enhance Your Internet Exposure
Register for memorable product and services-based .coop names that will produce more hits when people search for your cooperative on the web. Under .com, there are no English words still available for registration. Under .coop, the sky is still the limit. So be creative and register names that reflect your cooperative's image.
- Increase Traffic to Your Site
Register multiple .coop domain names and use them all to point to your web site. Using many names under different domains to point to the same site is a time-tested way to help consumers get to your site, even if they can't remember your exact address. .Coop gives cooperatives an exclusive domain name that will help consumers find them on the web.
- Serve Your Members
Use .coop for your members-only web site and remind your members about the value of cooperation. Members can look here for co-op news, governance services, discussion groups and other important information and member services.
coop - the domain of trust
A new national survey of 2,000 American adults found that a majority of Americans say they are more likely to buy products and services from a business if they know it's a cooperative.
It also found that three of four consumers believe co-ops have the best interests of consumers in mind, run their businesses in a trustworthy manner, and are committed to the highest quality service. Co-ops outscored investor-owned corporations on eight of ten positive business attributes. "This survey demonstrates the tremendous advantage cooperatives have in the marketplace if they identify themselves as co-ops," said Paul Hazen, president and CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association. "The .coop web address is a key tool in identifying your business as a co-op. Every time a consumer goes to a .coop web site, and every time they see a .coop web address in marketing materials, they'll know that business is a co-op. And that translates into more business and more satisfied members."
The national survey, released recently in October 2003 at a press conference in Washington, D.C. kicking off Co-op Month in the United States, found that more than two in three consumers say knowing a business is a co-op makes them more likely to patronize a food co-op, a credit union, and utility cooperatives, and buy food products from a farmer-owned cooperative. Other market research demonstrates that the .coop address, in particular, is a net plus among Internet users regarding the likelihood that they'll visit, return to, and refer others to a .coop web site, trust information on that site, and buy products or services online. Internet users also demonstrate greater trust in web sites that are known to be restricted for use only by credible and respected entities. For example, .edu and .gov, both restricted web addresses, scored highest on user trust. Meanwhile, less than half of users said they’re likely to trust information on web sites using domains associated primarily with for-profit businesses, such as .com, .net and .biz.
"Our own market research on web addresses, in tandem with the recent national consumer survey results on public attitudes toward cooperatives demonstrate that if consumers can identify co-ops through their web address, the advantages are significant," said Hazen.