What Smart Companies Know about Domain Names

Location: Brand Credibility & Market Share
Brand Recognition + Generic/Authoritative Credibility = More Brand Recognition

Companies often acquire category-defining domains to lever existing efforts, rebrand, or launch new consumer-facing campaigns—for instance, I sold Rate.com to Guaranteed Rate, eBike.com to Bosch and Advance.com to Advance Publications (Conde Nast); Oracle utilizes Sales.com, Retail.com and Think.com, and L’oreal owns Skincare.com and Makeup.com; Barnes & Noble owns Books.com; Honda owns Motorcycles.com; Intel owns PC.com; PetSmart owns Dogs.com; Frito-Lay launched Snacks.com, and the list goes on and on.

This is not only a smart move offensively, but defensively as well—for instance, many times a company will lock up a domain name to block competitors from acquiring and developing it. In 2013, Brian Sharples, former CEO of HomeAway spent $35M to acquire VacationRentals.com just to keep it out of Expedia’s hands! Which worked. Expedia later acquired HomeAway in 2015 for a whopping $3.9Billion.

The case studies on the inherent advantages of leveraging a premium .com are legion. Look at Russian Standard Vodka’s $3 million acquisition of premium domain Vodka.com. Furthermore, look at the timing: the Russian company was one year into their first foray into the lucrative US market. For three straight years after the acquisition of Vodka.com, with US growth rates at 56.5%, the brand received honors and awards for understanding and achieving consumer appeal. Acquiring the premium domain name was an integral part of this success.

And, as a startup, Mint.com credited their investment in a premium short, brandable, memorable domain as a primary factor that enabled their brand recognition up to the 20 million users they now report.

What these case studies show repeatedly is that when companies utilize a premium domain name, particularly with a name in direct alignment with their brand and positioning, they see a huge bump in traffic and conversions.

What do these smart companies know that you don’t?

Premium domains (authoritative, one-to-two word .coms) do very well in natural search, particularly if developed correctly—think: a content-led strategy in traffic. Moreover, their authoritative nature leads to trust and credibility—resulting in higher click-throughs and conversions, not to mention intuitive, type-in traffic (direct navigation).

Here are some of the other inherent benefits of owning a premium domain name:

  • Category-defining domain names are intuitive brands
  • Instant authority, perceived market credibility, perceived market leadership, respect
  • Establish company, product or service dominance
  • Highly identifiable and recognizable globally
  • Easy to spell / high memorability
  • Passes the “radio test” easily
  • Advantageous brand recall when advertised or marketed
  • Marketability: Exciting branding or rebranding opportunity
  • Desirability: Tens of thousands of businesses would love to own it, only one can have it
  • SEO/Search engine traffic opportunity
  • Search engine positioning: Historically exact match keywords are rated higher for relevancy, search engine placement
  • CPC opportunity: Increased click-through rates due to user’s recognition, familiarity, trust, and respect
  • Asset value: The domain is likely to hold and increase its value over time

Acquiring an ultra-premium domain names is a one-time investment that yields dividends for the life of your business—conveying instant trust, authority, and brand recognition, reducing your incremental cost of customer acquisition while increasing your bottom line and overall company valuation.

Most companies are in the digital equivalent of an arm’s race with their top competitors; an ultra-premium domain name provides the key differentiator they need to prevail. 

How can you begin developing your own domain strategy and building out your portfolio?

  • Don’t just buy your own exact-match .com domain name (although this should be your first step). Get serious about investing in domains for your key offerings. For example, Calvin Klein has deemed Underwear.com as valuable as CalvinKlein.com or CK.com.
  • Get creative and invest in category-related domains and leverage them to create unique, engaging experiences or channels. And to defensively protect your brand from every angle!

Interested in learning more about domain strategy, and what a premium domain can do for your company or startup? Contact us today for a complementary consultation.

Defining.com has a carefully curated list of premium domains for sale and you can find them at the simple, one word, English dictionary .com: Defining.com. Please keep in mind, this is a short list, and contact us with whatever kind of domain you need, as it’s a good bet we can get it for you. Defining.com works diligently with both buyers and sellers to ensure a smooth transaction. We pride ourselves on our matchmaking skills—developing deals that benefit both parties.

Here are just a few of the smart companies that have acquired and aligned themselves with premium, generic, short .COMs:

  • 1800flowers: Flowers.com
  • ABC Entertainment: ABC.com
  • Adobe: Flash.com
  • Advance PublicationsAdvance.com, Allure.com, Concierge.com, Details.com, Glamour.com, Gourmet.com, Portfolio.com, Wired.com
  • Aerial Group: Aerial.com
  • Amazon: AWS.com, Endless.com
  • American Airlines: AA.com, American.com
  • American Express: Open.com
  • Apple: Airport.com, Apple.com, Carbon.com, ME.com, Next.com
  • A&W Root Beer: RootBeer.com
  • BabyCenter: Baby.com
  • Bank of America: Loans.com
  • Barnes & Noble: Book.com, Books.com
  • Bayer: Aspirin.com
  • Bergdorf Goodman: BG.com
  • Berkshire Hathaway: Guard.com
  • BlackBerry.com: Good.com
  • Block.one: Voice.com
  • Bosch: eBike.com
  • Boston Globe: Globe.com
  • Breezy HR: Hire.com
  • British Airways: BA.com
  • British Petroleum: BP.com
  • Burger King: BK.com
  • Burlington: Coat.com
  • Calvin Klein: Shirt.com, Underwear.com
  • Campbell Soup Company: Soups.com
  • Capital One: Bundle.com
  • Captain Morgan (Diageo): Rum.com
  • CBS Interactive (CBS Corp.): TV.com
  • Cisco: Compatible.com
  • Citibank: Mortgage.com 
  • CNET (Red Ventures): Download.com, Guide.com, News.com
  • CNN/Time Inc.: Money.com
  • Contract Hire And Leasing: Leasing.com
  • Cold Steel: Knife.com
  • Corel: Designer.com
  • CoStar: Apartments.com, Homes.com, Land.com, STR.com
  • CPAP.com: Sleeping.com, Snoring.com
  • DC Comics: DC.com
  • Designer Brands: Shoes.com
  • Discount Tire Company: Tires.com
  • Disney: Family.com, Kid.com, Video.com
  • Dotdash (IAC): Brides.com
  • Ernst & Young: EY.com
  • Education First: EF.com
  • Facebook: Bulletin.com, FB.com
  • Fandango: Movies.com
  • Farfetch: Style.com
  • Fashion Nova: Fashion.com
  • Fidelity: 401K.com
  • Financial Times: FT.com
  • Fox Media: Fox.com
  • Freedom Mortgage: Freedom.com, HELOC.com
  • Frito-Lay (PepsiCo): Snacks.com
  • General Electric: GE.com
  • GE Healthcare: Coincidence.com
  • General Motors: GM.com
  • Goldman Sachs: GS.com
  • Google: Android.com
  • Guaranteed Rate: Rate.com
  • H&M Hennes Mauritz Fashion: HM.com, Seam.com
  • Hallmark: Easter.com, Mahogany.com
  • HarperCollins: HC.com
  • Health Magazine/Time Inc.: Health.com
  • History Channel: History.com
  • Honda: Motorcycles.com, Scooters.com
  • HubSpot: Connect.com
  • Intel: Chips.com, PC.com
  • Intercontinental Exchange: Ice.com
  • Internet Brands: Loan.com
  • Intuit: Payroll.com
  • Jansen Biotech (Johnson&Johnson): Cancer.com, JJ.com, JNJ.com
  • Johnnie Walker (Diageo): Scotch.com
  • Kraft Heinz: Mayonnaise.com, Puddings.com, Sauces.com
  • Knorr (Unilever): Sauce.com
  • LG (Lucky Goldstar) Electronics: LG.com
  • Lipton (Unilever): Soup.com
  • L’Oreal: Hair.com, Makeup.com
  • Lufthansa: LH.com
  • M1 Finance: M1.com
  • Major League Baseball: MLB.com
  • Microsoft: Docs.com, Live.com, Office.com, Start.com
  • Monster: Jobs.com
  • Morgan Stanley: MS.com
  • The Motley Fool: WallStreet.com
  • MTV: Film.com
  • NCR: Banking.com
  • National Basketball Association: NBA.com
  • Nestle: Meals.com
  • Netflix: Fast.com
  • New York Community Bank: Checking.com
  • Northern Pacific Airways: NP.com
  • Olga by Warner: Bras.com
  • Oracle: Retail .com, Sales.com, Think.com
  • Petsmart: Dogs.com
  • Porta John: Toilets.com
  • Procter & Gamble: Cheer.com, PG.com, Toothpaste.com
  • Prospect Home Finance: HomeFinance.com
  • Ralph Lauren: Polo.com
  • Reink Media Group: Investor.com
  • Rocket Mortgage: Rock.com
  • Russia Times Media: RT.com
  • Salesforce: Code.com, Data.com, Desk.com, Force.com, Site.com, Social.com and Work.com
  • Shutterfly: Treat.com
  • SK(Sunkyung Group) Group: SK.com
  • Société Générale: Warrants.com
  • Speech Processing Solutions: Speech.com
  • Standard Chartered Bank: SC.com
  • Test Masters: TM.com
  • TextNow .com: Touch.com
  • Travelocity: Vacations.com
  • UPS: UPS.com
  • Vanity Fair: VF.com
  • Vistaprint: Vista.com
  • VW Volkswagen: VW.com
  • Walmart: Lingerie.com and Jet.com
  • Warner Bros. Discovery: Discovery.com, WB.com, WBD.com
  • Weather Channel: Weather.com
  • Weight Watchers International: WW.com
  • Wells Fargo Bank: WF.com
  • WordPress: WP.com
  • Yellow Pages: YP.com
  • Zappos: Clothes.com

About the Author: Kate Buckley is CEO and founder of Defining.com, a premium domains, naming and branding agency. She is an expert at premium domain consulting and brokerage, specializing in discreet, professional acquisitions and divestments of ultra-premium domain names. Kate has personally brokered millions of dollars in both private and publicly-recorded top domains sales.