Nearly decades after it was founded, Sonic.net acquired the matching .com domain name and rebranded.When Dane Jasper co-founded California ISP and telecom company Sonic.net in 1994, he settled on .net because the .com was already taken.
Another California company, Sonic Solutions, had registered Sonic.com the year before. Using a .net didn’t seem like a big problem for Jasper at the time, even if he wanted the .com.
“We were a network service provider and everyone back then that was a network service provider was pretty much on a .net, like earthlink.net,” he said. “It wasn’t a big deal to not have the .com at that time.”
Over the past couple decades, Jasper realized there were drawbacks to operating as Sonic.net. There was a bit of customer confusion and the occasional email accidentally sent to sonic.com rather than sonic.net.
Jasper wanted to acquire Sonic.com, partly because of this confusion. But he also wanted the added credibility of owning the .com, especially a short dictionary word on .com.
The opportunity to acquire Sonic.com presented itself after Sonic Solutions was acquired by Rovi. Sonic.com became a landing page on Rovi’s website, and then Rovi sold the Sonic Solutions products to yet another company. Jasper decided to see if he could make a move on the domain.
Jasper Fedexed a letter to the company’s CFO, explaining how Sonic.com could be useful to the ISP and asking if it would entertain an offer on the domain name. He got an affirmative response, and Sonic.net struck a deal to acquire the domain name.
Sonic.net was later able to acquire the @sonic twitter handle as well. With the .com domain name and twitter handle in its control, Sonic.net officially rebranded as simply Sonic late last year.
“This allowed us to solidify our brand as Sonic,” Jasper said. “Where we had always said Sonic dot net before, now we are able to simply be Sonic, the one and only.”
It took Jasper nearly two decades to get the .com domain name for his business, and he says it has added to his company’s credibility. Jasper sees a lot of companies in the Bay Area starting up with trendy two letter domain names. He understands it’s less expensive for these companies, but he believes owning Sonic.com is important for his business.
“For an infrastructure company like ours that’s providing a critical service, we can’t be a little startup on a .ly,” he said. “We need to be on a .com and to control that part of our identity.”