Will China's IPO darling SMZDM make 5L acronym domains popular?
July 20, 2019 (Sat). You could pick up a 3L (letter) domain years ago for $100 but now it costs 5 figures or more. Similarly, 4L domains had little interest but now every one of them can sell. So the question is obvious: Will the IPO of SMZDM bring 5L domains to the forefront?
It all began years ago when techie Guodong SUI (隋国栋) started a blog to review products. The blog soon attracted a large following of shoppers chasing value for their money. In 2010, Sui turned this passion into a business, calling it Shen Me Zhi De Mai (什么值得买=what’s worth buying) or simply SMZDM. Nine years later, now the business brings in 500 million yuan a year in revenue and few days ago SMZDM went public on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange under the stock symbol Zhi De Mai (值得买).
In terms of domain strategy, Sui registered SMZDM.com in 2010 as the corporate domain for his newly founded company, likely costing him only about $10. Interestingly, he did not register SMZDM.cn and SMZDM.com.cn until a year later, both of which now forward visitors to the corporate domain. Apparently, he has not secured ShenMeZhiDeMai.com (registered 2011) and ShenMeZhiDeMai.cn (registered 2014).
The story of SMZDM indicates that .com is king in China where .com is preferred over .cn for use as corporate domains. Nevertheless, related .cn domains should also be secured if only for brand protection. As a brand, Shen Me Zhi De Mai is too long as having 5 Pinyin words. Look at the 4-pin brand Alibaba (A Li Ba Ba). Even it is often referred to as simply Ali (2-pin), which is used in many sub-brands such as AliExpress.com, AliSports.com, and AliYun.com.
For the same reason, SMZDM and SMZDM.com are difficult to remember. However, a shorter brand may be coming as hinted by the company's legal name and the stock symbol being 3-pin Zhi De Mai (值得买=worth buying). Should rebranding happen, the brand-matching ZhiDeMai.com would be nice but the ZDM.com would be the ultimate domain turning the company into truly a global player. As an example, just look at the world-class drone maker DJI when it acquired DJI.com for $300,000 in 2013 to rebrand from Da Jiang Innovations.
So, when it comes to acronym domains, short brand-matching .com domains are preferred and use of 5L domains in corporate China will likely remain limited.
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