Back in December, Google announced something new called Knol. It’s a sort of competitor to Wikipedia. They opened it to everyone this week, so now you and I can log on and write about things we know about. Or, I suppose, about things we don’t know about.
Anyway, either someone at Google didn’t do their domain research before naming the service, or did it and decided to ignore what they found. As a result, a Dutch company’s website has benefited from a large amount of unexpected traffic.
That’s right, this Knol sells steamcleaners, and just happens to trade under the domain knol.com. They’ve seen such a spike in visitors that they’ve taken to putting a message on their homepage. Most of it is in Dutch but one sentence stands out:
NOTE: We sell steamcleaning equipment and don’t sell our domain!!
Perhaps Google did put in an offer for the address after all.
There’s more on this story over at The Next Web, including a rundown of what the Dutch text of the company’s message says.
Because Google is such a huge brand, it probably doesn’t need to worry about this too much. Its announcements garner so much attention and its other domains have such high prominence that the service is unlikely to fail because they haven’t secured knol.com.
However, if you’re starting a new business or website, you don’t generally have the luxury of big-brand backing. That means it’s important to do your research and choose a domain carefully, so your website stands out and is easy to find online.