The OFO domain acquisition reminds us of the importance of brand-matching .com
May 13, 2017 (Sat). I have always thought that brand-matching .com domain names are very important, and a recent news story confirms my belief once again.
Chinese bicycle sharing startup OFO recently acquired its brand-matching OFO.com for a reported price of more than US$ 1 million. Bicycle sharing services have exploded since last year, led by companies such as OFO which resides on OFO.so. The domain name is short and matching the brand as well. Then, why did OFO spend so much money to acquire OFO.com?
One of the reasons lies in the domain extension. It's risky to use another country's extension to run your business. If the policy of that country changes, your website may be shut down. For example, few years ago Artsy, an American startup in arts, used Art.sy as its corporate website. Did you know .sy is the country extension of Syria? The domain name may arguably be said to be cool! However, when the Syrian government turned off the internet in 2013, it was a serious blow to the startup.
Now, .so is the country extension of Somalia. If anything happens to .so, then OFO.so will stop functioning and the impact will be huge to the startup. So, I think it is unwise to use another country's extension to run your whole business.
Another reason is .com. This extension is the Number 1, mainstream extension in both China and USA, and global brands prefer .com. Top-notch Chinese companies build their business on .com, for example, Alibaba on Alibaba.com, Baidu on Baidu.com, and Tencent on Tencent.com. If OFO is to become one of the best companies in China, then it must own the brand-matching OFO.com.
In addition to .com, Chinese country extension .cn is also a mainstream extension and therefore should be secured. Unfortunately, OFO has not protected OFO.cn yet, which is owned by another Chinese company and has already been built into a tech product website. If OFO decides to acquire this domain name in the future, it will not be easy.
Regarding the purchase price, current prices of 3L (letter-letter-letter) .com domain names range from 6 to 7 figures yuan. For example, last year children's bike startup Xi Jia Deng (喜家登) spent 7 figures to acquire XJD.com as its corporate website. Short .com names demand premium prices, and their prices continue to rise over the long term. Therefore, when affordable, you should acquire yours as soon as possible.
Finally, let me look at my own website. I practice what I preach as well. My site grandseeds.com completely matches my brand grandseeds. If you remember my brand, you already know my website address. How convenient!