8 Reasons Why Companies Like Google And Apple Buy More DomainsPosted: October 5, 2011
When the iCloud.com domain sold recently to Apple for $4.5 million, I saw a lot of shocked reactions. Many people were blown away at the price for such a domain, especially given their iCloud service was months away from starting (they launch it next week). There were similar reactions when Google made their recent purchase of G.co for $1 million. What possesses these companies to get more domains when they already have Apple.com and Google.com?
- Brand Reinforcement
- Trademark Protection
- New Product or Service Brands
- Special Promotions
- Smaller Offshoot Websites and Projects
- Search Engine Optimization
- Miscellaneous Uses
If there’s one thing most large businesses do, it’s constantly building and marketing their company brand. It’s rare to go a full day without seeing a large business commercial, print ad, sponsorship or other marketing effort. So it’s no surprise when massive money was spent by Salesforce on Force.com, by Bank of America on Loans.com, and by VistaPrint for Vista.com, all of which are merely redirected to those brands.
For every domain, there are dozens if not hundreds of typos, misspellings and other variations that may get some of the type-in traffic meant for it. Over time, companies have begun to understand how much traffic they potentially lose by not having these domains, so many larger companies buy them up either before launching or soon thereafter. In some cases, their typos get squatted on, causing them to go through a dispute or lawsuit to gain possession of them. Facebook recently filed a lawsuit targeting hundreds of such domains.
As unbelievable as it may sound, multi-billion dollar corporations do sometimes change their company name, even after millions of dollars spent on building their existing brand. The most famous recent example is O.co, formerly known as Overstock.com who shocked the world when they announced their new domain was in fact to be their new name. Another example was the security company Xe, formerly known as Blackwater who purchased XeCompany.com from us to rebrand. Xe was ultimately sold to another company, which their rebranding may have helped them accomplish.
Large companies always have new products and services in the works, and sometimes they like to give those new brands an added kick. Additionally, exact match domains for prominent products receive traffic those companies could miss out on without securing those domains first. Apple’s iCloud.com purchase, while massive, was a smart avoidance of a previous mistake they made when not securing iPhone.com before they released it. Salesforce in particular is a company that is constantly buying domains for future brands, with Data.com, Social.com and Do.com purchased just in the past few months.
Most people might miss these domains, but as a domainer, I notice promotional domains everywhere I look. In the last Super Bowl, Groupon ran a “Save the Money” promotion and used SaveTheMoney.org. Sobe has used Thrillicious for their “Thriller” themed commercials during past Super Bowls. Taco Bell uses FourthMeal.com in its commercials prompting viewers to go there late to have their “fourth meal”. These domains can stick in people’s minds even if they forget which company actually ran the ad, which is why they’re used.
Some companies large and small diversify to extremes, not only releasing new primary products and services but quietly releasing or backing smaller websites or projects. In these cases usually a smaller purchase happens. Two recent examples are Prizes.org (a crowdsourcing site) and WDYL.com (an experimental search engine project), both backed by Google.
Larger companies usually don’t need domains for this purpose as they typically get enough natural SEO from their huge web presence and natural incoming links. However, many smaller and midsize businesses buy domains for the purposes of ranking higher for some of their targeted terms. Usually these purchases are of exact keyword matching domains, like CarInsuranceRates.com to target the term Car Insurance Rates. Domains that are well-aged, have high Google page rank, have SEO-boosting directory listings like DMOZ or have many strong backlinks are other targets for companies looking for domains that can help their search rankings.
Twitter’s popularity has singlehandedly spawned the trend of companies having their own URL shortener domain, one of a number of different miscellaneous uses for a domain. Google’s G.co, Twitter’s T.co and WordPress’s WP.me are examples of this. Some other uses are nameservers (GoDaddy’s DomainControl.com for customer nameservers), email (Apple’s Me.com, Yahoo’s Ymail.com) and customer interface (Rackspace’s MyRackspace.com).
Case in point, many companies do not stop acquiring domains once they have their company name domain. Some larger companies have hundreds or even thousands of other domains that help them grow even more. At Domainate, we help companies get domains not only for their brand name but for these needs as well. Contact us and we can help you get the right domains for any of these reasons.