Recently, I came across a weird question. I posted one of my domains at LinkedIn for sale, and a guy commented “Your domain does not pass the radio test”. I was like “What is this domain radio test?” and what the hack it has to do with my domain name. I’m sure if you’re a domainer or business owner, you might have faced such a situation at some point too.

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I googled and found some very interesting facts that are applied in the domain radio test. Most of these tests are very important for your online presence. To my surprise, majority of the website owners didn’t consider the radio test while buying a domain for their business. It turned out that many business owners bought the domain name based on either emotionally attracted to that name or availability for registration.

There are many ways to find the perfect domain name for the business, and radio test is one of the rarely used but important method.

Let’s explore a bit more about domain name radio test.

What’s domain radio test?

It is very simple. When you say your domain name on the radio can listeners find it your website without any confusion? Can they spell it without any error? It’s not just useful for the radio audience. If someone is talking about your website, the others should easily figure out your site address.

You may argue that domain name radio test is dominated by linguistics and phonetics than just radio listeners. But keep in mind, this domain test is given the name “radio test” based on the fact that a person must be able to spell your domain name without any prior knowledge how it is spelled, and encountering numbers and word collisions, or sound a likes.

These ambiguities can potentially leads to website traffic leakage, and lost of sales.

Does your domain pass the radio test?

Following are top 8 tests to check whether your domain name passes radio test or not.

  1. Numbers
  2. Similar Words
  3. Dashes
  4. Underscores
  5. Acronyms
  6. Slang
  7.  Weird or Misspelled Words
  8. Domain Hacks

Lets discuss these tests one-by-one and see how they are applied.

1. Numbers

If your domain name contains numbers, it is going to fail the radio test. If you say a number over the radio, it is difficult to get it. For example, Right5.com sounds like RightFive.com and it can easily confuse a listener.

  • Right5.com (fail)
  • RightFive.com (fail)


  • Love1.com (fail)
  • LoveOne.com (fail)
  • LoveWon.com (fail)

Solution? Buy all possible domain name variants and then setup a 301 redirect for other domains to the one you want to use as primary domain.

2. Similar Words

Let’s take an example of domain name SeaWorld.com. It might be a great domain but it fails the radio test. Is it SeaWorld.com, SeeWorld.com or even CWorld.com? The worst part, “Sea” sounds like many other words & letters.

  • SeaWorld.com (fail)
  • SeeWorld.com (fail)
  • CWorld.com (fail)

Solution? Before you buy a domain name, tell your domain name to your colleague or friend and ask them to spell it back to you.

3. Dashes

Dashes are another pitfall that potentially confused the radio listeners. To make pronounceability even worst, it is difficult to recognize the dashes if explicitly not mentioned. So, whenever possible, avoid dashes completely in your business domain name.

  • domainandhosting.com (pass)
  • domain-and-hosting.com (fail)

Solution? Avoid dashes altogether because many listeners don’t know what the dash is and how to type it. Moreover, listeners may confuse dashes with hyphens which are another pitfall in domain name.

4. Underscores

I highly recommend to avoid underscores at all costs. It doesn’t reflect a positive feeling about the domain name and the website looks spam. Further, search engines don’t like underscores. Underscores take long time to pronounce at the radio too.

  • LeadGeneration.com  (pass)
  • Lead_Generation.com (fail)

Solution? Avoid underscores along with dashes.

5. Acronyms

Acronyms and abbreviations are difficult to remember and may confuse the radio listeners. There are few letters like “b”, “c”, “d”, “g” etc. that may sound similar over a radio connection. Always buy domains with dictionary keywords whenever possible. Moreover, it is much time consuming and costly to rank such a domain name in Google Search.

  • management.com (pass)
  • mgmt.com (epic fail)


  • ideas.com (pass)
  • ideaz.com (fail)

Solution? Never go for weird acronyms and abbreviation whenever possible. If it is must & you’ve the required marketing budget, try to secure all alternative domain names that can potentially confuse your brand.

6. Slang

Who doesn’t love slang while chatting? But slang or chat shorthand are good only for messaging, don’t expect to work them for your domain name as well. “Bzy” means “Busy”, “U” means “You” in chat and are understandable. But they are not going to work for the radio audience.

  • BusyMoments.com (pass)
  • BzyMoments.com (fail)
  • BxyMoments.com (epic fail)

Solution? Never ever make slang part of your domain name. These are even worst than acronyms and abbreviations. If you want to use slang, make sure to buy all potential alternative versions as well.

7. Weird & Misspelled Words

There are some dictionary words that are difficult to spell such as prospicience (looking forward / seeing ahead) etc. The problem with these words is that no one can easily spell them and will fail the radio test. It is not worth buying a domain name that even a graduate can’t spell it, although these words are in modern dictionary.

  •  Prospicience.com (fail)
  • Euonym.com (fail)

Similarly, misspelled words are another pitfall. Let’s take an example of “Publisherr.com” domain name. If I heard this domain name on radio or simply close my eyes and say it loud, I’m thinking of the exact word “Publisher” and not the terrible variant “Publisherr”. I’d type “Publisher.com” in browser without a second thought.

  • Publisherr.com (fail)
  • TopStreetz.com (fail)
  • YourF8te.com (fail)

Solution? Buy all common misspelled words. Otherwise, you are going to lose a lot of type-in traffic. Even, if you own exact keyword domain name, still it is a good idea to buy all potential misspelled words. Think of Google that is a huge technology giant. Imagine, if they don’t own “Gogle.com” (along with other misspelled words), how much traffic they will lose per day.

8. Domain Hacks

A domain hack is a domain name that suggests a word, phrase, or name when concatenating two or more adjacent levels of that domain like “Bit.ly” and “BlackFri.dayDeals.com” etc. These hacks will fail the radio test unless you explicitly mention the domain extension. Domain hacks are available in many forms and most common extensions used for such hacks are .in, .ly, .co, .io, .me, .us and .sh etc.

  • Bit.ly (fail)
  • Linked.in (fail)
  • BlackFri.dayDeals.com (epic fail)

Solution? Domain hacks are good and worth tens of millions of dollars for large companies like “Bit.ly” or “Linked.in” etc. Buy all possible domain hacks of your domain name to protect the brand. These are very useful especially for social media marketing & URL shortening.


Remember, the domain name is the face of your business. The domain radio test may not be the ultimate guide to buy the domain name but indeed, it is helpful to avoid silly mistakes.

I hope that this article will help you to understand what domain radio test is and how you can apply on your domain names. I would love to know your feedback. Have you ever been confused with any domain URL? How about your own domains? And last question, does your domain pass the radio test?

If you’ve any question or suggest regarding the domain radio test, please post it in comments section or reach to us via contact us form.

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A passionate programmer, domainer, writer and photographer! Love writing about web development, latest trends in technology and domain name industry. Working hard to make the world a better place! Follow me at Twitter @attacomsian or visit my website www.attacomsian.com


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