A couple years ago I wrote about 99 out of 100 top brands have their .com domain names, and I was always fascinated how strong the .com address is. Naturally the source is becoming depleted, there are no more 4-letter .com domains for base price and people are starting to ask themselves, “are there any 5-letter .com domains left?”
I never had the opportunity of talking with a company that went from .net into a .com, although I did interview a company that is doing great and they are a reputable brand in their space and they are sticking to their guns with their .net (while the .com is for sale). I wonder if the ads on inchoo.com are performing well, and generating income to the domain owner, solely because inchoo.net is making waves? My gut feeling tells me that it is, but only “Tony from inchoo.com” can confirm or deny this. I tried reaching out to him, but no response.
Someone once asked me if they start a company with a certain name, and someone owns a .com, are they entitled for this domain? The answer is no. So then you go out and build your brand under a .net, and then (“for some reason”) this builds up the value of the name under the .com extension. Solution? Don’t build your brand under that name, there are other great names!
.com or not .com, that is the question.
One might argue that .net is “too close” to .com, and that .hotel, .club, .berlin, .ninja have a different faith. The jury is still out on that one. My personal opinion is that the new gTLDs do have a shot, but it’s in the hands of “death” and new generations. Who knows, maybe they will catch on after 10 years, or maybe, they have already started catching on, or maybe they will never really catch on.
Onto my subject, repsly.com. Repsly allows the company owner to see what her representatives (reps) see; Repsly provides simple tools for powerful field team management. That includes mobile apps.
I spoke with Marko Kovac, CEO & Co-Founder of Repsly, and it seems that the company first started under the name “Kovac business systems” in Croatia (KPS.COM.HR), that was when they first found their idea for this solution for a particular client. I found this out because I saw a historical version of their first website by using archive.org. Marko also revealed that they actually first started the company under the name salepod.net and not salespod.net.
We often see this, a startup spans out of an existing company, after finding a new solution/service/product, and they simply have to find a new name for this solution. If they are lucky, the solution/service/product grows and it becomes a company, maybe even a brand. The problem here is that right from the get-go you have to be serious, and pick a strong name, even if the solution/product/service isn’t in a serious stage. And, as it seems in this Croatian example, it has to be a global name.
Should I rebrand my website?
If you are still wondering if you should rebrand your website and rename your company, maybe this video from one of the very TOP SEO experts in the world will have more definite answers on the SEO impact of changing your domain name. This video isn’t just based on theory, if you are interested in more info on actual stats and data that seomoz.org had after rebranding into moz.com, you can find it here. (This link is not related to the video below).
Language is a strong barrier that European startups have to pass
I think it’s not just the European startups, it’s non English startups! If this is not your first time reading here, you probably know this is the same issue for WhoAPI. WhoAPI works with people and companies from around the globe, and to most of us, English is not our first language. I am writing about this because it reflects on how we pick names and domain names!
So after running into trouble with the word “sale,” Repsly (Salepod at the time) decided to basically connect the words “sales” and “pod.” Since the owner of salespod.com was asking for $22,000 they decided to go with salespod.net. But, as it turned out, after a few years of doing business under this name they found out that Apple doesn’t allow apps with the keyword “pod,” and some of their potential clients thought they were doing typical sales CRM, like Salesforce.
Repsly.com is born.
Together with Fiktiv (a company out of Zagreb/Croatia) they found a 6 letter .com domain, that had one of the keywords they were interested in “reps”. On 8th of February 2014, they registered repsly.com and they registered and could also have fun with reps.ly. In the background of all this, Repsly grew, clients loved the new name, there was no backfire with the rankings on Google, and they were able to publish their app on Apple App Store.
Fiktiv team told me when their company is doing renaming, they are not going after a domain extension like .com. They are going after a great name (like about.me), and if it happens to be available on .com, all the better.
“Every company has their own methodology in picking names, which obviously includes trademark checks, domain availability and researching competition. You want to differentiate yourself from the competition as much as possible.” —Fiktiv.co
On a separate note, as you may have noticed Fiktiv themselves are on a .co domain. When they started a company in Croatia, they wanted to appeal to the local market and they registered a .hr domain name. A few years later they wanted to go global, and since the .com was taken they went with the .co. They feel it’s a great TLD and are not obsessed with a .com, they also add that people find them with a search engine and they haven’t seen a negative effect of not being on a .com.
I think we might see this even more in the future when more companies go global, but their brands reside on a local TLD like .cn, .jp, .co.uk, .com.au, etc.
Let’s get back to the main story, salespod.net becoming repsly.com.
Obviously Repsly grew in numbers and managed to get VC funding with all the issues they encountered, but would their lives have been easier (less problems down the road) and would they perhaps have grown even quicker if they went with Repsly from the start? We’ll never know. And what if they did buy salespod.com for $22.000, and realized they couldn’t upload an app called SalesPod?
If you are not passionate about domain names, naming, domain extensions, and domain registrations, my suggestion is to contact an expert. Sometimes a single email can save you hours of work and thousands of dollars.
12 things to watch for when picking a new name.
- Is the domain name that’s available for registration, a registered trademark? Check with USPTO and WIPO
- If you are buying a domain from someone else, is that person the rightful owner? Check whois
- If you are buying a domain from someone else, do it with Escrow
- Was the domain name used for illegal purposes in the past, and do any “bad” websites link to it? Check Ahrefs and Archive.org
- Search the domain on Google with quotes -> “SomeDomainName.com”
- Search the keyword on Google
- Search the keyword on Google images
- Search the keyword on Youtube
- Search the keyword on Twitter
- Search the keyword on Apple App Store (especially if your company will have an App)
- Do a Google search for “site: name.X” too see other TLD’s with same keyword
- Check at least the main social media handles: twitter.com/keyword, facebook.com/keyword, Youtube.com/keyword