Jamie Stephens owns Bookd.com, a branded name and online booking service. Jamie talks about his name, his business, and his marketing.
Mike: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.
Jamie: I am a software developer and have developed a strong passion for usable products and good design. I got started developing educational software in 2000 and headed up the design and development of Foliotek, which is now the leading electronic portfolio assessment systems used by colleges and universities. My love for education (and my background in the humanities) brought me to the University of Missouri in 2005 where I helped start the Center for eResearch which promoted collaboration on Internet-based research across the four-campus University of Missouri system. Since 2007, I formed Blueroot Studios to continue work with the university as well as do some consulting in the professional imaging and medical database industries. I launched Book’d in June of 2009 to fill a need I saw not only among professional photographers, but also many other service-based industries.
Mike: The meaning of Bookd.com seems pretty clear to me, but I don’t want to make any assumptions. Can you clarify how you came up with the name?
Jamie: Like everyone, I wanted to come up with a name that is both simple and memorable. I had a long list of two word combinations that were respectable and even catchy in some cases, but none struck me as much as bookd.com. I also had another motivation in keeping the domain short. Since Book’d is a SaaS app, people will build their own booking site as a subdomain of the Book’d domain (i.e., mybusinessname.bookd.com). This makes it increasingly important to keep it short so that it is both easy to remember and easy to share.
Finally, I think that the name overall communicates a sense of satisfaction. The goal is for me to help keep my customers booked. It is a very specific goal and I think that the name reinforces this more than any other name that I tried.
Mike: Have you received any feedback on the name?
Jamie: People seem to really like the name. I’ve even had investors contact me in large part because of the name. I haven’t had any negative feedback with the name and haven’t even had many problems with the missing vowel (as I thought I might at some point).
Mike: Why did you decide to chose a brandable domain name over a generic or keyword domain?
Jamie: I wanted to build a site that people connect with and that has a solid place in the Web ecosystem. In my opinion, people connect with brands more than they do keywords (the rare cases are when the keywords domains are also very brandable). My perception has been that keyword domains are extremely powerful for getting search traffic, but I just didn’t feel like customers would perceive the brand to be as powerful.
Mike: Is this your only domain name or do you owns others? If so which domains do you own?
Jamie: I have a few others. I don’t consider myself much of a domainer, but I do pick some up from time to time if I think I have an idea that would fit well with it. Here’s a few others that I picked up when working on Book’d:
A couple more interesting ones that I picked up along the way are:
ParBetter.com (this one is actually an actual project that is currently being developed)
Mike: Are you willing to share your visitation statistics so far?
Jamie: Our monthly uniques are in the thousands, not the hundreds of thousands right now.
Mike: What type of marketing are you doing to promote the site? Any online such as seo or ppc? Any offline advertising?
Jamie: This last year has been a building phase to get a better sense of who our customers are and how people are wanting to use our product. We are just starting to enter a heavier marketing phase for Book’d. The majority of our marketing is in the form of partnerships with services that our customers are already using, partnerships with industry professional groups, and social media campaigns. We have some really cool programs with some fairly well-known companies that are underway and will be launching soon. As early as we are in our efforts, one of our most important goals is to develop channel marketing partnerships with established brands to develop more awareness of our own brand.
We are stepping up our SEO efforts through enhanced content creation on our own site and through a number of JV partnerships with others. No PPC yet – the plans are in place an we’re going to pull the trigger on those in the next week or two. We have done some direct mail campaigns and sponsorships offline, but those were for very specific purposes and are not a major focus for us right now.