Does a perfect .com domain matter? Ask Tesla.
It probably goes without saying that at Novanym we believe in the power of a .com domain. To us, owning the .com shows that a company means business. And owning a perfect .com—just the brand name, with no awkward compromises or bolt-ons—gives a business real brand authority.
Why a dot com matters
For a start, using a .com establishes primacy. It’s at the top of the domain hierarchy, and is used by household names. So having a .com address tells people that you ’own’ the name. It's your brand name. You’re the ‘Farthingdale’ not ‘just another Farthingdale’. Of course, it works the other way around, too. You’re not the Amazon unless you have the .com after your name.
And perhaps more importantly, a 'perfect' .com doesn’t confuse your brand. Your brand name should be the name your customers use when they think or talk about you - and adding a .com to your name doesn’t alter that. But if your business is called Clever and your domain is CleverSolutions.com or WeAreClever.com - is this what you want people to know you as?
The trouble is, even imperfect dot com domains are in short supply - so the chances are that the perfect .com domain for your preferred business name isn't available.
The TeslaMotors.com alternative
Some people tell us that a perfect .com domain really doesn't matter - because it's more than acceptable to come up with a workable compromise. “For every Amazon”, they say, “there's a Tesla Motors ...they may not own Tesla.com, but it really doesn't matter, because they make cars, so TeslaMotors.com is absolutely fine”.
This has always seemed to us to be a fairly good argument ...but with a couple of significant flaws.
Our counter argument has always been that Tesla were not actually happy with the compromise. They would love to own Tesla.com, because they know that their brand name is Tesla, not Tesla Motors. Tesla is what they want to be known as.
What’s more, the addition of ’motors’ to the domain is not just a slightly awkward compromise, it's a branding mistake. Brands are about who you are, not the product you make. Tesla are well aware that some day the might make more than just motor cars, so the domain name won't make sense for long.
So now it's Tesla.com
News that Tesla have eventually purchased Tesla.com leaves us feeling - let’s be honest - slightly smug.
We can't be sure of their motivations, but we imagine that they would always have preferred to own the domain ...and that using TeslaMotors.com was always an uncomfortable compromise. And we’re pretty sure that the expansion of their business beyond cars into domestic battery technology played a part.
Whatever the motivations, it's clear that the "what about Tesla?" counter argument is now defunct.
If a major business, with significant financial backing and unparalleled media exposure, recognises that their brand authority is enhanced by owning a .com domain, perhaps smaller businesses with major aspirations should take note.
Image courtesy of Tesla.