Since I started my interest in domain names in 2006, it has literally taken nearly 13 years for me to have this feeling: Businesses around the world are finally “getting it” and realizing the importance of their main brand domain names.
What is “getting it”? If you brand as one thing, your main brand domain name should be that, with .com. It just makes sense. The internet is global and .com is the plane to take around the world. Consistency in branding is important, securing your brand is important, communication with your customers is important and your online presence is vital in today’s world. That’s why it’s important to own the matching .com domain name to what you brand as. (huge list of examples below)
Some companies noticed this importance in the mid-’80s, like International Business Machines or as they brand as, IBM. IBM.com was registered on March 18, 1986. Some in the ’90s figured it out, like Amazon Technologies when Amazon.com was registered on November 1, 1994, but many more did in the 2000s. A lot more companies are noticing it now in 2019. So many so, that domain names that were once free to register, have reached 8 figures just for the domain name in some cases. If that doesn’t get your attention and display the importance of your domain name today in our digital world, I don’t know what will!
Many would argue that the two domains I’m going to mention are not even close to the best domains in the world, so it makes you wonder where the ceiling is on aftermarket (domains that are owned by somebody already) domain names. Yes, 8 figure domain name only sales are rare but they do occur. Potentially even more than the majority know.
Public company MicroStrategy, Inc. sold Voice.com for $30 million in an all-cash deal to Block One in May 2019 for a new social networking offering called Voice. Branded simply as Voice, the BEST domain name for this global brand is Voice.com. Block One felt so strongly about acquiring the best domain name for this, it resulted in the $30M sale to get it done. For MicroStrategy, its only one domain of many that they own.
Another 8 figure domain name only sale was, Tesla.com. Tesla CEO Elon Musk himself noted in a tweet in December 2018 that was unannounced publicly prior: “Buying Tesla.com took over a decade, $11M & amazing amount of effort. Didn’t like teslamotors.com even when we were only making (cars).”
10 YEARS and $11 million dollars, just for the domain name! Tesla was branding as just that, Tesla. Yet the company couldn’t be Tesla.com because somebody else owned the domain name and really wasn’t interested in selling it. Tesla was trying to improve the company’s online presence and be better brand-aligned but it took a long time and $11 million to get it done. Tesla is selling things that cost $30K, $60K, even $100K plus on Tesla.com. Cars and power products. Your brand matters; so does your brand's domain name.
I will also make note of the $13M sale of Sex.com (brokered by Jeff Gabriel) in 2010 as the one other 8 figure domain name only sale that I'm comfortable reporting as domain only. There are many lists on many sites reporting more but these 3 above are the ones I'm most willing to talk about in the 8 figure domain only range. Sex.com sold for $11.5M in 2006 as well.
7 figure domain name only sales happen and six-figure domain name sales happen almost daily now, you just likely don’t think of it occurring or simply do not hear it publicly announced, but it’s happening. Uniregistry Brokerage sold over $50 million in domain names in 2018 alone. Escrow.com handled $30 million in domain transactions from many private parties.
It’s fun to brand as something short and catchy but not owning that brand name as the exact matching .com domain name is a problem. Not only confusing to consumers, likely inconsistent with your general branding and unprofessional in appearance, it leaves the door open to have your very own brand name overshadowed by another brand/company with the .com domain. Yikes!
It’s a big world. Yes, you can trademark a term but it’s challenging, expensive and time-consuming to mark it worldwide, in all the classes you would have to. Owning the best .com domain name to your brand name is one of the best ways to truly protect your brand name! If another company can’t acquire it, they likely look for a different one they can.
What are other companies doing for their brands?
Most are going big because they don’t want to fail. They are showing they mean business and care about their brand. We are here to stay. You want a premium product, we are going to offer you just that. If your business is only online, think about that for a minute. Your domain name is the face of your company. The first thing somebody thinks about to conduct business with you. Linking, emails, word of mouth and much more, all communicating your brand's domain name, so they can visit you, easily, even on a phone now. It’s important and you should value it that way.
Let’s talk about some recent (most are from 2017-2019) brand launches by some companies and focus on the domain name they use at launch.
Goldman Sachs launches a new financial offering called Marcus, paying homage to founder Marcus Goldman. Marcus.com is the online home of this offering for Goldman Sachs, with the company purchasing the best domain name, Marcus.com from its past owners in July 2016. Perfect!
Former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney launched a new blockchain financial startup and choose a catchy English dictionary term to brand around, Figure. Mike purchased the best domain name for the brand in doing so and acquired Figure.com in November 2018 from its past owners. Great brand name.
Teamwork Assistant service Navigator, founded by Gentry Underwood and launched June 2019 acquired its main brand name domain name, Navigator.com in August 2018 prior to launch from its past domain owners.
Pro Tip: How do you even acquire a domain name from its current owner? Hire a professional that is experienced in the process that will do the work for you. It’s tricky business sometimes, business connections matter and missteps could cost you dearly. Leave it up to the pros at Uniregistry Buyer Brokerage.
Reynolds American Inc. launched a new brand called Velo, which are nicotine pouches and simply branded as Velo. The best domain name for this new brand? Velo.com, which they acquired from the past domain owners in June 2019 prior to launching the product. To note, Velo.com was being used by a company offering high end used bicycles on a fully developed website and business. If you put yourself in the shoes of the past Velo.com domain owners, what would it take for you to sell the domain of your business? The investment was worth it to Reynolds American Inc. to purchase the domain to provide an easy avenue for consumers to find the brand and to protect it by owning Velo.com. Six figures, seven figures, eight figures? The bike company may have discovered how valuable an asset the domain name was after they sold it and cashed the check!
Marriott launches a new rewards offering to include 30 brands called Bonvoy and does the wise investment and acquired Bonvoy.com to convey the message and protect the brand now and into the future.
SpaceX literally launched a new brand and internet satellites into space to provide worldwide broadband solutions. The new brand is called Starlink and the best domain name was acquired well before launch, Starlink.com from its past domain owners.
Carta which was formally eShares did a rebrand and launched the new brand name in November 2017. Prior to the rebrand announcement, in July 2017 they acquired the exact match brand domain name Carta.com from the past domain name owners.
CRM service ProsperWorks was looking to do a rebrand after being founded in 2014 and since grown to over 12,000 customers in over 110 countries. As explained in a blog article about the name change: “We wanted a name that was relatable, memorable, fun, and instantly recognizable the world over. We chose Copper.”
If you want to be Copper, how do you do that? You purchase the best domain name, Copper.com. Then market as Copper, because it’s you! ProsperWorks acquired Copper.com from its past owners IgLou Internet Services, Inc. in June 2018 and announced the rebrand in July 2018.
Deserve is a rebrand from SelfScore by Kalpesh Kapadia. The company offers credit-building services by offering credit cards. In order to brand as Deserve, be trusted and show you mean business, the best domain name for the brand was acquired, Deserve.com. The domain was acquired from its past owners in May 2017, setting up the rebrand that took place in October 2017. At the rebrand launch, they also announced $12M in additional funding (adding to $14M from before). In August 2018, another $22M round was secured by Deserve.
Currency.com launched in January 2019 acquiring this powerhouse domain name from its past owners to brand behind the all in one cryptocurrency offering. The domain name was acquired in June 2018. The same company behind Currency.com brought about another show stopper and launched Capital.com as another brand. TechCrunch highlighted the company in May 2019.
The Chamberlain Group, Inc. launches myQ smart garage hub brand and does it on the best domain name for their brand, myQ.com! It just makes sense, it’s who they are. Did it cost some $ for the piece to the puzzle? You bet, but it’s just part of it. Go big or go home. Work hard, play hard. Love it or leave it. myQ.com resonates to consumers when they see it, hear it and open the app to open the garage door from miles away because it’s raining and the dog was still outside when they left.
Okay, I don’t want to bore you, so I’m going to cut down on the added talk and just start posting the meat and potatoes from here:
How to video maker Jumprope, jumps into action with Jumprope.com from the start.
Google launches Stadia, acquires Stadia.com from past owner prior to announcement.
Johnson & Johnson acquires Heartline.com prior to launching a study collaborated with Apple. The company calls it The Heartline Study.
HERE Global B.V launches Social Mobility group ride-sharing service, branded as SoMo and acquires SoMo.com from past owners to house it in early 2019.
Homeward.com launches with its best domain name in the busy real estate market. They had to, competing with Opendoor.com, Knock.com and more.
Companies that did not have the best domain name, matching what they brand as are upgrading in troves! TROVES!
InvisionApp Inc. which was using a restrictive brand name domain name, removed that restriction and exactly matched what they brand as, Invision and acquired the domain name Invision.com from its past owners.
Enemy Eyewear launched using the domain name EnemyShades.com but wanted to present a premium brand and premium product to its customers. “It was expensive, really expensive,” said Aaron Mario, founder of Enemy in regards to buying the Enemy.com domain name from its past owner. “This is a luxury brand, everything has to go with it. The domain is premium. The quality is premium. The packaging is premium.” He stated during a brand launch video posted on YouTube.
Keep Fitness of Beijing, China upgraded domain names from GoToKeep.com to simply what they brand as, Keep. To better brand align, they acquired the best domain name for this, Keep.com in September 2018 from its past owners.
Bank Of America rebrands Merrill Lynch as simply Merrill. In order to do this, Merrill.com was required and it was purchased from past owners Merrill Research and Associates. 7 figures? 8 figures? I don't know but I'm certain it wasn't cheap.
Destination XL Group, Inc. acquires DXL.com for $1.2 million, the big and tall clothing company brands as DXL. DestinationXL.com was a prior used domain.
Harsco Corporation upgraded domain names from HarscoIKG.com to simply IKG.com for a division of its business. This isn’t a main brand domain name upgrade, it’s a division, so it’s important to focus on main products, services, and divisions of our company that are important to you.
Blend Labs, removed its restrictive and less attractive domain name BlendLabs.com and acquired the best domain name and matching brand term, Blend by acquiring Blend.com from its past owners. Blend offers better lending.
Duffel, a travel startup acquired its best domain name, Duffel.com in August 2018.
Pro Football Focus invested $270,000 to upgrade their main brand domain name. Branded and known as simply PFF, PFF.com makes perfect sense for the company.
Yellowbrick Data was founded in 2014 and launched the company’s online offerings on the domain name YellowbrickData.com. Fast forward to August 2018 and the company makes a solid brand investment and acquires their branded-as-term, Yellowbrick as its main domain name Yellowbrick.com from its past domain name owners. Yellowbrick has raised over $80 million dollars in investments.
European based online payment service Tink, which was founded in 2013 and used the domain name TinkApp.com, invested into the best domain in July 2018 acquiring the Tink.com domain name from its past owners. The company quickly switched from the less attractive domain name TinkApp.com to simply Tink.com as they brand as. In June 2019, the company received $56 million Euro in new funding.
Blick Art Materials, founded in 1911 by Dick Blick and branded simply as Blick, removed confusion for its brand and acquired the best domain name for their brand, Blick.com. The company has been using DickBlick.com for its online presence but branded simply as Blick. Yes, Dick Blick was an important part of building the company but they brand simply as Blick, so Blick.com is the best domain name for the brand. Blick acquired Blick.com from a huge company, Stanley Black and Decker who had owned it. When you're competing against Art.com, Blick.com helps you join the fight.
Google LLC launched Project Loon on the domain name Loon.co but after the project graduated and was going to become of a fully-fledged company, Google acquired the best domain name to brand Loon behind, Loon.com. Google acquired the Loon.com domain name in Jan 2019 from long time past owners Loon Systems. To further protect the loon brand, in May 2019 Google also acquired the Loon.net domain name.
Storage solution company Clutter, launched on and into the digital world on what is considered a “starter domain” by using Clutter.io (.io is a ccTLD (country code top-level domain name) for British Indian Ocean Territory) in 2011. Clutter upgraded to Clutter.com in September 2015 and has raised over $300 million dollars in funding.
Slack Technologies Inc. now a publicly-traded company was once using the domain name SlackHQ.com but acquired the best domain name for their brand, Slack.com in 2013 with a $60,000 investment for the brand matching domain name. I think that paid off nicely for them.
Pro Tip: Not all domain name sales are all-cash deals. Many high dollar domain name transactions consist of structured payment deals over time. Some cash upfront, then monthly payments that can range from 12 months up to a couple of years. At times, equity is offered in trade for ownership of domain names. If you think a domain name is too expensive to purchase, consider offering to pay for it over time in a structured deal.
Modern-day bookkeeping service Pilot acquired its best brand matching domain name Pilot.com in July 2017 from its past domain name owners. Founded just one year prior, in 2016, Pilot secured $3.3 million seed round in February 2017. In March 2018 a $15M series A round and in April 2019 a $40m series B round. Although it is unknown what Pilot.com sold for in 2017, Hearst Media had paid $300,000 to acquire the domain name in April 2010.
More data, less talk:
FLIR Systems upgrades from LorexTechnology.com and acquires its best domain Lorex.com
AppBoy.com rebrands as Braze.com. Domain acquired from past owners in September 2017, November 2017 rebrand.
Tile Inc. the GPS tracker company acquired Tile.com in September 2017. The company still uses its original domain TheTileApp.com as its main domain name (mistake) but nobody can buy and use Tile.com against them and Tile.com takes you directly to TheTileApp.com. Plus they use it for email.
GuaranteedRate.com makes it much easier for customers to find them, remember them and juices brand power by spending $725,000 to purchase Rate.com in 2016.
SAAS insurance service Alan, based in Paris and uses Alan.eu acquired the global reaching Alan.com in March 2019.
Fetch Delivery, Inc. which brands simply as Fetch (along with hundreds of others) acquired its best brand domain name Fetch.com from its past owners in early 2019. Snooze you lose all you other “fetch” companies. Thankfully the company ditched Fetch.delivery, which the majority do not even know it’s a domain name.
iHeartRadio acquires Heart.com
Quirk books dumps the restrictive book's term and acquires Quirk.com in September 2017.
Paddy Power Betfair rebrands as Flutter Entertainment with a domain they owned since 2003, Flutter.com.
OatsOvernight.com acquires the best domain and what they simply brand as, Oats.com. Nice!
Cable One rebrands as Sparklight, acquires Sparklight.com prior to the rebrand.
Zoom.us acquires Zoom.com just prior to its IPO.
Proxy.co upgrades to Proxy.com
OnCarrot.com acquires Carrot.com for $600,000
Mevo Inc. upgrades from GetMevo.com to Mevo.com
Home buying and selling platform Perch which launched in 2017 upgraded to Perch.com in June 2018. The company has $250 million in funding as of July 2019.
EasyKnock becomes just Knock after acquiring Knock.com from its past owner James Knock in October 2017. They compete with Perch.com, Opendoor.com
Valley National Bank acquires Valley.com in October 2018
Laird Technologies moves from LairdTech.com to its best domain, Laird.com after acquiring it from its past owner.
Lidar startup Ouster ousted its .io domain name and upgraded to Ouster.com in late 2017. The company raised about $60M after that point.
Synchrony Financial, branded simply as Synchrony acquired Synchrony.com upgraded in May 2018 to what they brand as. They used SynchronyFinancial.com prior.
Plantronics rebrands as Poly and acquires Poly.com prior to announcing.
Noble Supply & Logistics get real and acquired Noble.com, dumping Noblesl.com in the dust.
SketchApp.com gets real and acquires Sketch.com from its past owners, announcing the new domain on March 13, 2019. The company was founded in 2010.
ZenSourcer rebrands (thankfully) to Gem.com. Also announced March 13, 2019.
H&M acquired COS.com for its sister brand Collection Of Style, which was using CosStores.com prior. Hello goodness!
Blues Wireless goes from singing the blues on Blues.io to being the king on Blues.com in March 2019
Close.io opens the door and acquires Close.com in March 2019.
GrabTaxi.com rebrands simply as Grab.com in March 2016. The company is worth billions.
Digital only, Chime Bank acquired Chime.com in October 2017 upgrading to the best and most trusting domain name for its brand.
Health and wellness company Blume.com removes the guesswork and acquires what they branded as, Blume.com leaving MeetBlume.com in the trash can.
7-year-old company Lytics got real in 2018 and acquired Lytics.com, moving from the less attractive and off branding GetLytics.com.
Game studio Peak took a domain name journey to reach the peak! The company started with PeakGames.net, then played with a “new gTLD” Peak.games and then climbed the highest peak and acquired Peak.com in early 2019.
ModeAnalytics.com shaved off the extra weight and acquired the best domain name for their brand, Mode.com in early 2019.
BookCameo.com dumped the book and acquired Cameo.com in May 2018.
Lasko Products puts much more focus on its brand name and dumps “products” from its domain name and acquires Lasko.com from its past owners in early 2019.
Health brand Ritual purchased its best domain name only a month after launching in June 2015, acquiring Ritual.com in July 2015
Stella & Dot upgrade skincare brand Ever in early 2019 to what it is, Ever.com, away from EverSkin.com what the brand wasn’t. They invested in their brand, securing it and purchased Ever.com from its past owners.
Auto repair service Wrench got real and acquired Wrench.com improving from GetWrench.com in early 2019.
Cannabis company Caliva started on GoCaliva.com and upgraded to Caliva.com, acquiring the best domain name for their brand in late 2018.
Collinstar Capital Pty. Ltd. And it crowdfunding service Leek, purchased their best domain name, Leek.com improving from Leekico.com
Epic Games super popular game Fortnite didn’t start out as that, it was FortniteGame.com prior to Epic acquiring Fortnite.com from its past owners.
Boston Scientific paid $399,000 for Pain.com, which directs people to ControlYourPain.com
I could continue with literally thousands of similar examples mentioned above. Actually, I have and continue to document these very same movements almost daily on my Twitter feed via @DotWeekly. Please, take the time to visit and scroll through the thousands of tweets in regards to companies acquiring specific domain names for main brand launches, domain name upgrades, rebrands, new advertising terms matched with the exact domain and much more.
I know the list above was long and my Twitter feed makes it even longer. My point is, if you do not own the best domain name for your brand, you should! If you don’t, you will be left behind, out branded and potentially overshadowed of your own brand name. Some 550,000 new companies are formed every single month. If you do not secure your best brand matching .com domain name, you may never have the chance again.
Although I do not write on DotWeekly.com any longer, it is still stacked with just what you see above. A treasure trove of proof. What companies are actually doing, in regards to domain names and the brands and marketing associated with companies around the world. A lot of long hours of researching, years watching what companies are doing with domain names.
It is very clear to me that companies are “getting it” now and are either launching new products or services with the best domain name from the start or upgrading to the best domain name the earliest they can. If they can’t upgrade to the best domain, they rebrand with the best domain. It is happening more often now, than ever before.
Domain names matter and matching the best one to your brand is the best decision for your company. The list above doesn’t lie. It’s not a few companies doing it. Domain names are not cheap but important. It’s a race, actually a sprint because the best of the best .com domain names are selling and off the market, maybe for good.
If you need to upgrade, let the pros at Uniregistry Brokerage provide a superior service to you and acquire that domain name you need. Have a few to sell? We can help with that as well. firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Please share this article to help spread the word, visit and respect these and all mentioned brands who own the best domain names for their brands, they should be rewarded.