Archaeology Is Not A Strong Brand

My Linnaeus University colleague and trätobroder (debate adversary) of many years, Cornelius Holtorf, published a book in 2007 under the title Archaeology is a Brand. That is certainly a possible way of looking at it. But preparing a talk on internet archaeology, I made a little discovery. Look at what this brand appears to be worth! There is hardly any demand for the words ”archaeology” or ”archeology” as internet domain names.

archaeology.com undeveloped
archeology.com undeveloped
archaeology.org US paper mag
archeology.org undeveloped
archaeology.net small NYC web design firm
archeology.net undeveloped
archaeology.edu undeveloped
archeology.edu undeveloped
archaeology.co.uk UK paper mag
archaeology.org.uk Dartford UK IT consultancy
archaeology.ac.uk undeveloped
archeology.ac.uk undeveloped

My guess as to why this word packs so little punch is that people don’t think about archaeology as a whole. They think of little regional bits of the past and archaeological practice. Thus domain names like vikings.com, roman.com, aztec.com, medieval.com, treasure.com and metaldetectors.com are much more attractive than the word for that nebulous global entity, archaeology.

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5 thoughts on “Archaeology Is Not A Strong Brand

  1. Hej Martin. This is indeed astonishing! I reckon that your findings first and foremost tell us something about internet domain names, whatever that may be… But there is something else. Already on my own second check I found a site you did not list: http://www.archeology.com/. In one way it confirms your claims, since it seems to be some kind of web-shop not related to anything particularly archaeological. On the other hand the existence of this site under this name proves precisely what you are disputing in this posting: there is a value in using archaeology as a brand.

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  2. Hello Martin,
    I’m not convinced the situation is quite as bad as you think, at least as far as academic domain names are concerned. It would seem very odd to me to use an american-style spelling for a British academic website – I would imagine very few people would think to look for that. Also, the ac.uk addresses are almost all institutions, e.g. winchester.ac.uk, so unless someone first sets up an academic body or a university called Archaeology, I can’t think that address would be likely to be used. After all, even the Society of Antiquaries and the Prehistoric Society don’t use ac.uk
    Thanks,
    Nick

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  3. What we see at archeology.com is known as domain name squatting. They haven’t actually developed the site, just slapped on a generic web shop on all the domains they’ve bought. They hope to sell the domain, not sell the stuff in the web shop. So far nobody’s wanted to buy it.

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  4. What Nick says about .ac.uk addresses also applies to .edu addresses. Archaeology department web pages in the US would be something like http://www.${UNIVERSITY}.edu/archaeology, or perhaps archaeology.${UNIVERSITY}.edu. A society of archaeologists, or physicists for that matter, would be a .org, not a .edu.

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  5. Also, the ac.uk addresses are almost all institutions, e.g. winchester.ac.uk, so unless someone first sets up an academic body or a university called Archaeology, I can’t think that address would be likely to be used. After all, even the Society of Antiquaries and the Prehistoric Society don’t use ac.uk

    And yet history.ac.uk exists, the Institute of Historical Research, part of the School of Advanced Studies of the University of London. London is a very decentralised university, and almost all its bits have their own .ac.uk domains, but history got there quickly. It does seem to be about the only subject that’s achieved this, though; physics, philosophy, science, chemistry, mathematics, all 404s on that TLD. Odd!

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