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Me and a group of people are in the process of choosing a domain name for a future website and we aren't sure whether the noun in the domain name should be plural or singular.

Currently we have 2 options :

  • echangehec.ca (English: exchangehec.ca) OR echangeshec.ca (English: exchangeshec.ca)
  • livrehec.ca (English: bookhec.ca) OR livreshec.ca (English: bookshec.ca)

What are the advantages or disadvantages of choosing one or an other ?

Note: The funding for the project is minimal and purchasing both is an option that should be avoided if it's not necessary.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The only real benefit of plural over singular is if people search for the plural term more than the singular one which you can tell by doing some search in Google Keywords.

Honestly, I suggest you buy both and do a 301 Redirect from one to the other. The only cost is going to be buying and renewing the extra name each year. Ask yourself this, what if you buy the singular noun domain name and some competitor buys the plural then what do you do? What if a cyber squatter buys it and puts up spam adds on it? How would that negatively effect your site?

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I'd get both too, or someone else will :) –  Tim Post Aug 26 '10 at 22:53
    
congrats on the diamond. I must have missed the party, when did it happen? –  Mark Henderson Aug 27 '10 at 0:41
    
@Farseeker - Thanks! Sometime between last night and today. –  RandomBen Aug 27 '10 at 3:34
    
@Farseeker Yeah, and he's blue on meta. No fair :) –  JasonBirch Aug 27 '10 at 5:36

Search engines evaluate word stems when assessing keywords - even if the spelling of the word changes dramatically, you won't find an appreciable difference in domain-level keyword value between singular and plural forms.

Use whatever will be easiest for your users to recall, though it is good advice (and best practice) to buy both singular and plural forms of the domain name.

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@denlefree +1 Good answer. I didn't know Google went that far with domain names. I thought they did with regular search results but I have found that searching singular and plural forms of the same words always return different results. –  RandomBen Aug 27 '10 at 3:36
    
@RandomBen - Domain name keywords have historically mattered far more at search engines other than the big G (compare a search for the words "internet book seller" at Google and at Yahoo, for example) –  danlefree Aug 27 '10 at 8:33
1  
RE: word stems. That is certainly true for English (and may be true for French) but some languages make it very difficult to automatically stem words. –  Kris Aug 27 '10 at 11:02
    
@Kris - I was just checking up on your assertion at Google Language Tools and I was pleased to find that Google offers a noun definition for both singular and plural forms of nouns when you translate a variety of words from English -> Arabic, Afrikaans, Chinese, ... care to elaborate on which languages are incompatible with stemming? –  danlefree Aug 27 '10 at 14:48
    
All languages are 'compatible with stemming' however automatic stemming is difficult for some (although a brute force dictionary can be employed). Example: Icelandic, wherein it is alot more than just singular and plural that needs to be defined! –  Kris Aug 27 '10 at 15:17

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