How Woven acquired Woven.com—and why CEO Tim Campos thought it was so important.
When it came time to name his new company, former Facebook CIO Tim Campos knew he had to pick the right name. He knew the company needed a name that would help it scale through word-of-mouth, so his preference for the company name was an English word.
He settled on Woven but, of course, Woven.com was taken. The company decided to launch as Woven.app still wanted to acquire the .com. It set up an alert that would let it know if Woven.com was ever listed for sale. As luck would have it, that alert was triggered.
After receiving the alert, Campos considered negotiating directly to acquire the domain name. After all, this wasn’t his first rodeo. He was the CIO of Facebook when the company acquired FB.com for millions of dollars.
Campos knew that hiring a broker could help acquire the domain at a fair price.
“For us to go in and say ‘Hey, the former CIO of Facebook, backed by Battery Ventures, is interested in buying your domain,’ you’re going to get a much different outcome,” he said.
He also knew that a good broker walk the company through the process of securely paying for and getting control of the domain.
Campos talked to Woven’s law firm, Wilson Sonsini, which recommended Woven hire domain broker Marksmen.
When Campos met with Marksmen for the first time, he was impressed with the homework Marksmen did before the meeting. He hired them to go after the domain and they successfully procured the domain for a lot less than the asking price.
Campos justified the domain purchase in a couple of ways. One is that he knew that the domain had value merely as an asset.
“I really had to start thinking about this as an asset,” Campos said. “It’s like I’m buying a house or I’m buying real estate. I’m buying something that will have residual value. In my business, I may create additional value for it. There may be brand recognition and other things that I’m going to put into it. But that’s just like putting improvements on your home.”
A soon as he got in this mindset, it allowed Campos to think differently about the domain’s cost and how to finance it. He ended up paying cash, but he realized he could even take out a loan for the domain because it has value on its own. It would also be easy to justified the cost to his investors.
Woven was able to go to market with Woven.com as its domain rather than Woven.app or an alternative. Campos said this is critical to the company’s success as it grows its userbase organically.
“We grow through word-of-mouth, through people tweeting about us and talking about us, so the address matters,” he explained.
When people hear about the product from someone else, they ask for the product name and go check it out.
“As soon as you start to introduce a trick for the user, like, ‘Oh, it’s getwoven not just woven,’ or its woven.app, or its woven.io, you’re going to lose a percentage of those [prospective users]”, Campos said.
“.Com is where people default,” he added.
Campos believes that if the company were to have used Woven. app, its conversion rates would have be affected.
“But more importantly, traffic would be affected,” he said. “People are much less likely to find us.”
Listen to the complete story on DNW Podcast #252.