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Athlete Branding & Owning a Domain Name

collage-imgWhy an athlete should care about their domain name and personal brand.

As long as domain names have been around, professional athlete domain names have been valued property by domain speculators (domainers), cyber squatters, and sports fans.  If you do a whois search for most professional athletes, no matter what the sport, chances are that the domain is registered.  Even college athletes who have a shot at the professional level as well as high school recruits who haven’t committed to a school are having their domain names registered.

In a future post, I will dive deeper into the domain name speculator market, why names are registered, how to inquire about buying or recovering a domain, etc.  But in today’s post, I want to go over the reasons why you should own your own domain, and why an athlete should place a high value on owning their own domain.

mail.google.comBefore the internet, branding an athlete was only done via commercials, magazine ads, and radio spots.  But with the age of the web and social media, from sports fans to teammates, family and friends, and advertisers and sponsors, anyone can type in a player’s name, do a search, and pull up everything they want to know about an athlete.  So here’s my question to you: Would you rather send visitors to your Wikipedia profile or to your very own custom designed and personally branded website?

For the athletes who do have a website, depending on how recently the site was launched and how your site was designed/developed, the official site should rank #1 no matter what search engine is used (a newer site does take a little while to climb the ranks above player profile pages).  But for those who do not have a site, fans have to go elsewhere to the likes of Wikipedia, league profile pages, team profile pages, Yahoo.com, CBSSports.com, etc., ultimately diverting traffic to other virtual real estate.

In my experience helping athletes build their brand online, here are 5 reasons why an athlete should own their own domain:

  1. Creates a consistent place for visitors to learn more about you on and off the field.
  2. Allows potential visitors using type-in-traffic of a domain name find your official website immediately.
  3. Gives the ability to promote your favorite charity or your own charitable foundation year-round.
  4. Protects your brand from cyber squatters, irate fans or fans that have an agenda.
  5. Allows for marketing off the field for opportunities after a playing career is over.

There are more reasons that just these five for owning your own domain name to build your personal brand.  Feel free to discuss this in the comments section below and via Twitter.

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12 Responses to Athlete Branding & Owning a Domain Name

  1. Todd E. Jones December 8, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

    Nice little article. I am building a website business for semi pro athletes. They have some unique opportunities with sites too.

  2. Jason Grilli December 9, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    Totally agree. Grabbed my name as soon as I could from GoDaddy.com. Being a current athlete has its advantages. I am also building and planning on doing some off the field marketing for business now and in the future. I have learned a lot from a fellow athlete and pier, Lewis Howes. Great stuff! Always great to learn more and spread the word.
    Getting your personal domain back has a large price tag. Get to GODADDY NOW!

    http://www.JasonGrilli.com
    http://www.PerfectPitchMarketing.net

  3. Tim Evans December 9, 2009 at 8:50 pm #

    Glad to see you locked up your domain, Jason. You’re in the minority because most athletes, and agents for that matter, are not making it a priority. Most professional athletes have a 3-5 year window to make a name for themselves, and online branding can only help build their overall brand for future opportunities.

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  1. Sports PR Weekly Roundup, December 21 Edition | Sports PR Blog - December 21, 2009

    […] The Sports Networker explains why an athlete should own his or her domain name to protect the athlete’s brand. […]

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