The Search For Being Unique
October 13, 2011
I listened to my voice messages today and one hit me in the core! It was from someone who lived in Wyoming who was calling to dispute a credit card charge. Caller stated he was charged $105 and it came from Softmedia. He wanted to know what the charge was for. Boy did that startle me on many fronts! First off, we do all our business by invoices and checks. We don't have the ability to charge someone's credit card. Plus, how could this have happened! Startled turned to curiosity as I put everything I was doing down and was now on a mission. (I may regret that action later due to my current to-do list but that is for another blog!)
When I decided to start a business and incorporate Softmedia in 1994, the Internet was not known by many. In fact, our core business was Client/Server applications in Powerbuilder. I know I am dating myself and I apologize to anyone who has no clue what client/server is or what is Powerbuilder. Think of it as the Internet and .NET applications of today! Anyway, we didn't even venture into the web world until the late 90's. And when we did, much to our dismay, Softmedia.com was already taken. What? Wasn't I the only person in the world to come up with a great name like Softmedia? There was a French company called Soft Media whose business model was software and video for TV, not even in our market. So we searched for Softmediainc.com and sure enough it was available. Nobody would confuse the two companies!
Over the years different websites called Softmedia started popping up. I really didn't think anything of it until we started to focus on SEO techniques. We searched for our company in search engines and we were constantly referred to Softpedia. Why was Google or Yahoo telling me that I must have misspelled the name and meant Softpedia? (By the way, Softpedia is a website for free software downloads) It was a tad annoying but at least we were listed first. As the months went by, I saw more sites called Softmedia but still it didn't register.
But that changed today...
I now did my search on "Softmedia" and scrolled thru 4 pages of Google. The results were astounding. Look at the list!!
All of these have NOTHING to do with my company. One even showed up on a complaint board. Lovely! I started to click on all the above links. Some had a similar set of services and even one logo looked similar. How did this happen? Do I have to change my business name? What do I do? Or maybe I do nothing?
Today small businesses have a lot on their plate! We all are trying to separate ourselves from our competition in all ways possible including products, services and price. We try to find that one thing to make us stand out! Something! Now I have to add to the plate that even my name isn't unique!
Just like there are several John's or Mary's or Dennis', there is a very good chance your name may not be unique on the Internet. But it's the total package that counts. Even if you have similar qualities, find that one that stands out! Maybe it's your customer service (this phrase may be foreign to you but trust me, it still exists out there!), maybe it's the extra mile you show your clients or your potential clients, or maybe it's the way you do something else! Whatever it is, find it and run with it. Make it stand out! That will get you noticed! And when you do, nobody will mistake you for some other company!
SEO is key to all of this as well. Do the necessary steps to move your website as high as possible. The good news is even if there are other companies with a similar name, if you did your homework you will be listed first. This is a good thing, even if you have to take some calls from people who think you did something that some other company did! Of course, if you need help with SEO, contact us and we can help you find your way through the maze!
Oh and a couple of final thoughts... the good news in all of this, they won't confuse Softmedia with the other sites once they click. I compared the quality of both the design and the content of each site. We probably may get more leads because of it!
And I couldn't find that French company that had the original Softmedia.com. It is now a parked site! We must be doing something right after all these years!
Finally, I left a message with that person who called me. Should be an interesting conversation when he calls back!
Posted: 10/13/2011 7:28:55 PM
Filed under: SEO