The Real Lesson

Branding a new domain name — and especially a new top level domain — takes a long time.

[Update: The .co registry has posted an interview with Overstock regarding what it is doing.] News that, err,, is slowing down its efforts to rebrand to, didn’t come as a big surprise to me.

Too drastic. Too fast.

That’s how I’d describe the company’s move from to

And there’s a lesson for .brand new top level domain applicants.

Last week I sat with a group of people discussing new TLDs. The question came up: how should a brand move from its .com domain to its .brand?

My answer: very carefully.

Or not at all.

Switching from to something.brand will be very difficult. Imagine changing its name to, but take that challenge times ten.

There are two reasons:

1. The SEO switchover of a new domain name is very, very hard.

2. Right now people don’t understand the right of the dot. The average U.S. internet user knows nothing other than .com; in other countries it’s ccTLD plus perhaps .com.

People won’t understand the right of the dot until hundreds of companies start to promote it. And that will be a long time from now.

Does this mean it will never happen? Of course not. But I think underestimated the challenge it was taking on all by itself.

It probably didn’t help that .co is very close in name to .com, either. But even if they changed their name to, most people would have no clue how to visit that web site.


  1. says

    Right of the . is not going to work because IT IS BAD MARKETING.

    Marketing is supposed to be about “persuading” your customer to convert to your product or service.

    “Forcing” a brand upon a customer via an address system that is not the standard is simply not good marketing.

  2. says

    The best advice is patience and commitment. Not saying the right of the dot TLDs will be successful but those getting into it need to be aware that this is a massive shift in the public’s behavior. If they want it to work, especially so early in it’s introduction, they will need to accept the initial shortfalls before they reap the benefits. At the least, moving the marketing message to the new TLD format may generate PR buzz that has some value.

  3. em says

    If it were only a .com world, what a boring world it would be, indeed. I am happy for the variety that the right of the dot era brings.

    They have more guts then the rest of y’all do. That’s for sure. If you want to hang on the coat-tails of .com your whole life, by all means. But that really sucks. IMO.

  4. says

    I’m still not sure it’s a wise idea to rebrand as anytime down the line. If anything, they should shift back to Overstock until hopefully some day ICANN releases single-letter domains and then fight Oprah for :)

  5. Snoopy says

    “They have more guts then the rest of y’all do. That’s for sure. If you want to hang on the coat-tails of .com your whole life, by all means. But that really sucks. IMO.”


    em, that decision was obviously flawed, because it has effected sales and they are now back tracking, what “sucks” is the decision to adopt a new tld, not that other way around.

    Making a decision like that doesn’t take guts, it is possibly more of a rash, poorly thought out decision.

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