Name of Thrones 👑

Over the past 30 years, owning your brand-matching .com domain went from a preference, to a status symbol, to being synonymous with brand ownership.

The combination of scarcity, network effects & global competition has made the .com the ultimate advantage for any business this century. This single asset gives brands superpowers — providing global positioning, increased traffic & higher conversions.

Savvy companies exploit this further, seeking brand ownership and category ownership. They match their brand, category & domain to the same word. They leverage the power of .com with the language of industry. They own the brand. They define the category. They take the Throne 👑

Brand Ownership

Even the greatest entrepreneurs are not immune to its power.

They know that owning the .com can make or break an empire.

They also know those with the same name covet the same prize.

There are 200+ million companies worldwide. Each competes with those in their industry and now every other brand with the same name.

The result is a game of high-stakes musical chairs on a global scale. But unlike the children’s game where any chair will suffice, companies need their specific .com domain name.

The winner gets the .com

The losers (everyone else) are left to promote a brand name they’ll never own.

Superpowers

The magic is real & unreal.

TeamHive.com → Hive.com

“I believe that a credible domain name is absolutely critical to success, especially for a B2B business. It was a top priority for us. We saw a 40% increase in traffic immediately after securing Hive.com”
John Furneaux, CEO of Hive

Close.io → Close.com

“We knew that owning the .com would further signal to our existing and future customers that we’re a serious player in this space and that we’re here to stay.”
— Steli Efti, CEO of Close

TeamworkPM.net → Teamwork.com

“You can clearly see the inflection point when we launched Teamwork.com. It was the best business move of my life. Teamwork.com being a one word domain gave us instant credibility and we started getting bigger customers, more referrals, and being written about more. Everything accelerated and our vision for Teamwork.com changed because we now had a brand identity that we could build several products under.”
— Peter Coppinger, CEO of Teamwork

37wan.com → 37.com

“We didn’t have to spend time or resources for players to understand or remember our domain name. Overall, the change has been crucial and helpful in making 37Games an international brand.”
— 37Games Team

CoverInsurance.com → Cover.com

“Owning Cover.com has lent an extra level of legitimacy to the brand and this, in turn, has translated into sales. We have seen firsthand how it helps get people over the hump when it comes to investing their money with us. Immediately after moving to Cover.com we saw our conversions rise.”
— Karn Saroya, CEO of Cover

The .com phenomenon

  • Brand perception
    The world views the .com brand as a leader. This association signals trust, legitimacy & authority. Higher conversions are the byproduct.
  • Brand simplicity
    The latest Simplicity Index (simplicityindex.com) confirms the world’s most successful brands are the simplest to use. The study found “55% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for simpler experiences” and “64% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand that provides simpler experiences & communications”. Using a brand-matching .com provides the simplest customer journey, from advertisement to checkout.
  • Search traffic
    Even Google prefers better domains. Using a brand-matching .com ranks higher than other domain types. It also increases the time visitors engage with a web page (which Google rewards with even higher search rankings). Higher rankings = More traffic = More customers.
  • Type-in traffic
    Most people assume companies own their .com domain. They type the domain into their URL bar without a second thought. With hundreds of millions of sites, the .com becomes the beneficiary of the world’s type-in traffic for that name. More type-ins = More traffic = More customers.

Category Ownership

Some brands go beyond superpowers. They become invincible.

These enterprises make their brand, category & domain the same word. They hijack the very language used to describe their industry. The same language customers think of for that product or service. The same language competitors use in their copy & marketing.

The result is profound. Customers perceive the .com as the authority. Competitors learn they are now subordinate to the .com brand (often resulting in them exiting the market entirely) unless they can think of a new way to describe what they do. Eventually, the .com becomes the category.

Examples

Once category ownership is achieved, an invisible moat is created — protecting it for life.

And thus, a natural monopoly is born.

If brand ownership is musical chairs, category ownership is Game of Thrones. And like the HBO series, in this game — call it Name of Thrones — it’s winner take all.

Most brands seek to differentiate themselves in the market.
Category-defining brands seek to be the market.

Most brands try to be #1 through hard-fought battles and paying their dues. Category-defining brands start on third base and go straight for the Throne 👑

Meta.com

Category-defining brands can conquer a market — or an entire Metaverse.

Facebook’s rebrand to Meta is a clear category ownership play. By naming themselves Meta, it’s virtually (no pun intended) impossible for competitors to enter the category without paying homage to Mark Zuckerberg’s company.

The CEO stated “To reflect who we are and what we hope to build, I am proud to announce that starting today, our company is now Meta”. This translates to “The Metaverse is the next frontier and we will now forever be associated with it”.

The king of social media is positioned to be the ruler of the Metaverse.

Workspace.com

A handful of names domains define multiple categories.

A great example is Workspace.com (which I am currently brokering).

Workspace as a brand name transcends several industries & categories. Each is iconic, trending & growing exponentially.

With several multi-billion dollar categories at stake, it makes sense that companies in those markets have started using Workspace in their branding:

Google Workspace
Citrix Workspace
Amazon Workspaces
VMware Workspace
Workspace Group
Workspace Property Trust
Workspace by Rockefeller
Workspace Interiors by Office Depot

These industry titans are not alone. They compete with the 50,000+ websites that already use Workspace in their domain name.

But use and ownership are different — and there will only be one winner.

Conclusion

If you have your brand-matching .com, you’re in the game

If you have your category-defining .com, you win the game.

If you can’t acquire either, you’re out of the game.

If and when you’re out, you have three options:

  1. Rebrand with a new name
  2. Reposition with a new offering
  3. Retreat with a white flag

Richard Coogan
Email | LinkedIn

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Domain Broker (Workspace.com)

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Richard Coogan

Richard Coogan

Domain Broker (Workspace.com)

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