The internet has undoubtedly become one of the primary sources for brands to showcase their products and services. In this context, building a brand identity online is very important for your business. The internet makes for a convenient platform for setting up your brand and marketing it, usually at very low costs. However, because of this very factor, the internet has become a competitive space for marketing and selling your products or services online.
One of the most important aspects relevant to a brand’s identity is the brand name. And, in the age of the internet, not just the brand name but also the domain name needs to be unique. It should be one that people can associate with your brand and thereby increases the chances of generating leads. It is a source of credibility for your brand. A domain name that is associated with the industry you are specializing in will also be helpful in adding to the identity of your brand.
Many websites changed their domain names with the purpose of either increasing the traffic to their website or for branding purposes. Most of these brands have successfully made shifts to new domain names.
Here are some of the brands that changed domain names and were able to draw success from doing so:
Google:Google.com was initially termed as google.stanford.edu
The great internet giant has a long history of its inception and evolution. A major step in the evolution phase of Google involved a shift in its domain name. The simple ‘google.com’ as we know it, was once ‘google.stanford.edu’. Before September 1997, the brand operated out of a data center built from lego blocks, which was set up in co-founder Larry Page’s dorm room in Stanford University campus. It was only on the 15 of September 1997 that co-founders
Larry Page and Sergey Brin got the domain name- ‘google.com’ registered for their website. This was the time when they began looking for potential investors or partners willing to license and support the search engine. They launched a year after their registration and today, have a huge cloud support system and data centers around the world.
Founder Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet on this huge social media platform on March 21, 2006 w,as this: “Just setting up my twttr.” It was started with a vision as an SMS technology based platform for sharing status updates and short messages, which forms the basis for its 140-character limit for the messages. Co-founders Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone reflected on a few names for their brand and arrived at ‘Twitter’ for their micro-blogging website. However, the domain name- as it stands for the sound that birds make- was already taken by a bird lover, and so the co-founders agreed upon ‘Twttr’ in March 2006 for the platform’s name. It was 6 months after their launch that the co-founders felt confident about their platform and put in extra cash to add the vowels to the domain name, making it twitter.com.
OverstockOverstock.com changed to O.co and reverted to overstock.com
Back in June 2011, online retail giant, Overstock.com made an attempt at rebranding itself. With a new domain name, O.co, they aimed at creating a brief, easy-to-remember domain name for their website. This idea seemed to backfire for the company, as, within a few months, in November 2011, the brand went back to overstock.com. The new domain name may have been a confusing one for customers and because people were more familiar with ‘.com’, they often ended up on ‘o.com’ instead of ‘o.co’. In order to draw all the traffic back to their website, the brand reverted back to ‘Overstock.com’.
PayPalPayPal was originally X.com
Confinity Inc. was founded in 1998 by Ken Howery, Luke Nosek, Peter Thiel, and Max Levchin as one of the first device-based wallets. Later on, Elon Musk’s X.com was merged with Confinity to initially be called X.com. However, later on, the company chose the name ‘PayPal’ in June 2001. X was recognized as one of the symbols in programming and according to a few surveys, it was potentially pornographic, thereby diverting attention from the brand’s identity.
Ask.comAsk.com’s original website had the domain name- askjeeves.com
Ask.com is a question-answer based e-business platform. It was founded in 1996 by David Warthen and Garrett Gruener. Referring to the valet, Jeeves, who would provide answers to the questions being asked on the platform, Ask.com was initially termed as ‘Askjeeves.com’. But when the company decided to remove the character of Jeeves from the website, they decided to remove it from the domain name as well and retitled the domain name to ‘Ask.com’ in February 2006.
Originally, this famous social media platform that we know of was termed as ‘thefacebook’. The website created by Mark Zuckerberg was in 2004 presided over by angel investor and founder of Napster, Sean Parker. In 2005, the website name was made to change from ‘thefacebook.com’ to ‘facebook.com’ by making a purchase of the domain at $20,000.
Perez HiltonPerezhilton.com started off as pagesixsixsix.com
Perez Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, started his own blog under the name ‘Pagesixsixsix.com’. The Hollywood celebrity and gossip blogger had to change his domain name following a lawsuit filed by the New York Post’s Page Six due to infringement of their trademark. Today, he operates his blog as ‘Perezhilton.com’ and draws a lot of traffic.
NBC NewsMSNBC.com shifted its domain name to NBCnews.com
In response to confusions in branding, as well as breaking off of business relationship of Microsoft with NBC in July 2012, there was a shift in the domain name from ‘MSNBC.com’ to ‘NBCNews.com’. Whenever someone heads to ‘MSNBC.com’, they will directly be taken to ‘NBCNews.com’.
Buying A Domain Name On Shopify
On the platform of Shopify, you can register your own customized domain name for your eCommerce store and also get the option of managing subdomains. Given that a domain name is essential for brand identity, you can use Shopify for a streamlined process of buying and managing your custom domain for your online store.