Although we hesitate to say it— because it implies a potential maze of bureaucratic to-dos—we believe that the stmarys-ca.edu domain name does a measure of ongoing harm to the institution and its brand. It is hard both to pronounce and to remember, and as often as we’ve been reminded to type “Saint” instead of “St.” when writing your school’s name, it must be persistently annoying to have the latter baked into your Web site address.
Of course, everyone who is part of Saint Mary’s public communications knows this: it’s a URL that can’t be spoken without spelling it out and using the word “hyphen.” That’s why URLs like saintmarysmba.com exist; the MBA program advertises on radio, and to use the official URL would eat up precious seconds of airtime. Domain names can be changed, and there’s a possible name that is currently unused: saintmaryscollege.edu.
Let’s be very clear about this: If the stmarys-ca.edu domain name can’t be changed without a very lengthy overlap between the old and new URLs, it’s not feasible. EDUCAUSE, the organization that manages .edu domains, states that a six-month overlap is allowed; that’s not enough. With as much print material as is out there with the current URL, you’ll need a long time to transition (if not a permanent overlap). We believe that it may be possible to maintain two domains, but it will likely require some relatively powerful people to make some phone calls.
We strongly recommend that the time be taken to thoroughly investigate this question. “That’s impossible” is the easy answer; we urge you to really find out if that’s true. We suspect that it’s not.