Josh Bourne ⬥ 31 October
Every hurricane season, it’s difficult to predict which storms will cause colossal damage and which will barely register. There is one thing that is easy to figure out in advance, though: the names of the hurricanes that will emerge each year.
Since 1953, the National Hurricane Center has named each hurricane of the season. There are six complete lists of names that run on a cycle, so the names this year are the same as the names from 2006. Because of this pattern, it is easy to figure out which names will be used in a given year.
What does any of this have to do with domain names? Well, whenever there is a big storm or natural disaster, there is often a rush to register related domain names to take advantage of the increased interest and corresponding traffic. I noticed that a company called Weather Risk Solutions had already registered HurricaneSandy.com, which relates to this past week’s East Coast storm. After doing some more digging, I found that the company has nabbed virtually every HurricaneName.Com domain name from the six-list cycle.
Each domain name redirects to the same homepage for HuRLO, a product offered by Weather Risk Solutions that allows participants to supplement their hurricane insurance coverage based on where they think hurricanes might make landfall. This sort of niche offering might normally have trouble garnering publicity or public awareness, but through the use of such intuitive hurricane-related domain names, the parent company can boost consumer awareness of its brand and service offerings.
WHOIS data shows that HurricaneSandy.com, like most of the other hurricane related domain names, was registered by Weather Risk Solutions in 2002. The company clearly had the foresight to purchase these domain names in order to utilize them to promote its product. This shows how a forward-thinking domain name strategy can pay off in the long run. It may have been difficult to predict Sandy’s physical impact until a few days ago, but Weather Risk Solutions was banking on its potential impact for traffic and revenue on its website a full decade ago.