Your domain name defines your business, and choosing the wrong domain can lead to some big headaches.
Below we’ll look at a couple of recent cases where companies felt the sting of a bad domain choice, leading them to eventually invest in the premium domain that best matched their brand.
Potential Problems with Domains
Christopher Gimmer founded Snappa, a site that helps people without design skills to quickly create graphics for social media, blogs, and websites. Because the domain Snappa.com was taken, he decided to register Snappa.io. The business took off and was generating $25,000 a month in revenue.
But Gimmer started experiencing issues with his domain name. He explained three problems the company ran into:
- Branding and trust. He felt that in his case, owning the .com was key to showing users that the business was serious.
- Avoiding confusion. Customers were sometimes confused when they visited Snappa.com instead of Snappa.io. One even emailed the company thinking the Snappa service was down. It turns out they were just on the wrong domain!
- Growth potential. Gimmer took inspiration from the story of Teamwork.com, a business that took a big risk by purchasing Teamwork.com for $675,000 and ended up thriving.
It’s worth noting that these issues aren’t common for all businesses, and some brands are quite successful with (and even seek out) non .com domains.
As we noted in a previous article, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) does quite well with CES.tech, and Freedom of the Press Foundation created a great brand identity with Freedom.press.
Inspired by a HUGE Domain Purchase
After a long negotiation, Gimmer was able to purchase Snappa.com for $40,000. He negotiated a creative deal that only required $20,000 up front with the rest paid off over three years.
Why did he decide to purchase that domain? Gimmer was inspired by Sumo, another company committed to investing in its domain.
In early 2017, SumoMe paid $1.5 million to upgrade its domain name from SumoMe.com to Sumo.com.
Noah Kagan, co-founder of the company, cited some of the same reasons for this move as Gimmer: building trust and avoiding confusion.
One issue for SumoMe was that people often mispronounced and misspelled the name. Kagan was also concerned about the various competing services also using names with “sumo” in them.
What this Means for You
If you’re just starting out, you probably won’t want to consider a premium domain. Keep in mind that that Snappa and Sumo started with what the founders considered to be a less-than-ideal domain. It was only once the company gained some commercial success that the founders decided to pay for the perfect domain name.
Domain changes are rather common. For example, Facebook.com started as TheFacebook.com, and Mint.com was once MyMint.com. But it helps to have a popular brand that is recognized across the globe, and company growth and success that warrant such a change.
So don’t be afraid to start out with a domain that matches your branding, even if it’s not the exact name of your company or you can’t get the .com extension. Until you get your company off the ground you don’t need to make a major investment in your domain.
But when you hit it big, you might start looking around at the premium domain(s) that best match your business branding and messaging.
Be sure to search for your next domain at Namecheap.com
Andrew Allemann is editor of Domain Name Wire, the longest-running blog covering the business of domain names. Domain Name Wire has covered the business of domain name investing for over ten years.