Yesterday I couldn’t find Vodafone’s website because for some inexplicable reason I got the spelling wrong. Who knows, maybe it’s because in English the word is “phone” so I went to www.vodaphone.com.au. The stupid thing is, Vodafone had already gone half-way to solving the problem, but left me hanging.
Now I won’t get into the whole “Let’s convince customers we’re cool by using funky spelling” thing, except to say I think it’s a complete wank. As soon as you try to be cool, you’ve failed.
What’s daft is that Vodafone had in fact already licensed the Internet domain vodaphone.com.au…
posen:~ contour$ whois vodaphone.com.au
Domain Name: vodaphone.com.au
Last Modified: 16-Nov-2002 06:04:14 UTC
Registrar ID: R00010-AR
Registrar Name: Melbourne IT
Registrant: Vodafone Pacific Limited
Registrant ID: OTHER 056 161 043
Registrant ROID: C0754342-AR
Registrant Contact Name: THE MANAGER
Registrant Email: email@example.com
… but done nothing with it. So, for anyone who knows how to spell and goes to www.vodaphone.com.au, nothing happens. The resulting marketing message is “We’re offline. We’re unreliable”.
Yet with less than an hour’s work, the message could have been “Hey, our name is actually Vodafone. We’ll now take you to www.vodafone.com.au.”
And if they did that, they’d even know how many website visitors they’d been losing this way.
The lesson for businesses: Where are your customers looking for you? When they go there, will they find you?