Widgets.com The domain that can be anything it wants to be. Perhaps the most generic of all domain names.
ChildPornography.com Reporting Center This site has been online for over 12 years. I originally got it so it would not fall into the hands of someone who would exploit the most innocent. It has been a resource for reporting child porn and make it easy to look up sex offenders by state.
How Madison Avenue let down Corporate America and how both failed
Do you remember a few days ago I said I would "Ruffle some
feathers." Well that is a promise I can keep with this post. Get ready for some
flapping and chirping on a grand order.
Hotels.com is one of my
favorite stories because it illustrates the stupidity and failure the majority
of Corporate America and Madison Ave have achieved. It is a clear indictment of
not only them missing the single biggest opportunity in any of their careers,
but 12 years into it and they have yet to figure it out. As I said in point #7
of my April 5th post, the guys that started these companies are rolling in their
graves. The people entrusted to run these companies have for the most part
Now this is not universal. In some cases they did figure it
out and I will list a few below. They make my case stronger not weaker. The
question is why did some figure it out last century and why are the majority
still not figuring it out so far in this century?
Let's start with this
undeniable premise. Before you ever plug in a GREAT domain name it is capable of
getting type in traffic, it starts gushing from the moment the domain name goes live.
Again, may be widely known to domain owners, but possibly not to the folks that
would be best served either owning your domain or at least buying the traffic on
an exclusive basis. The "End user."
How much traffic a domain gets
is on a domain by domain basis. A domain like sex.com will likely get somwhere
close to 200,000 new visitors every day of the year. A domain like widgets.com
gets 500 visitors each day but that is up from 60 last year. Candy.com gets
1000-1500 each day with spikes during holidays. There are many domains that get
1000-25,000 daily visitors and some much more. The reason this natural resource
is so important other than the obvious value of a targeted visitor, is the
growth factor. If you have zero traffic and you double it you still have zero.
Anything other than zero and you will have the wind at your back. Just remember
one important point. Word of mouth advertising is still the greatest advertisng
medium ever known and online it is even more evident and more valuable.
Here is the story. Earlier this year my partner Howard Neu and
I met with the GM at the Hyatt Grand Central Station in New York City to book
the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. domain show and live domain auction there for this June. He
wanted to understand domain names. So he began to ask some
I used hotels.com as my example. I asked isn't it interesting
that with all the hotel chains and all the execs and folks paid to beat the
competition that EVERY single person in the hotel business failed and they
failed BIG TIME? He was puzzled and looked at me like the old RCA dog on the old
lp's. But that was actually a good start cuz it meant he was paying
Imagine if Hyatt had gotten hotels.com. Instead of you being 1
of hundreds of hotels listed including all your competitors and paying for each
lead or each booking Hyatt would have received ALL the leads. Would that not
increase sales? Would that not increase market share?
Step in Madison Avenue. These folks are sooooo hooked on
"Branding" that they forgot the REASON they brand is to INCREASE SALES. So their
REAL job is to increase sales. THAT is ultimate branding. Having your product
everywhere. Funny how in time they have LOST SIGHT of that basic core contract.
So Madison Avenue failed the hotel industry as well. IMAGINE, of all these high
paid execs at all these companies and not a single one could figure it out.
Figure that if they own a domain like Hotels.com they would be a leader in their
sector. But they are all so hung up on BRANDING that they would rather IGNORE a
reservoir of new business. New business snatched directly from the
Even before it was attached to a business plan or went online hotels.com was going to be a million user a day site because it had
a substantial traffic base. My guess would be that a domain like that would have gotten somewhere between 25,000 and 50,000 new visitors every day since the moment the domain went live. I guess the corp guys and
Madison Avenue saw no value in having their call centers receive 9 to 18
MILLION added calls a YEAR. 9 to 18 MILLION calls that Hyatt would not lose to
Marriott or Westin or Hilton or Holiday Inn or Ritz-Carlton or the other way around. They EACH had a chance to lock out the other hotel chains and they ALL missed it. They spend millions on a
superbowl ad with results that can't compare and cannot even truly be
measured. They let InterActive Corp (operator of Hotels.com) and Barry Diller beat them by disrupting the entire travel industry and for that they will pay dearly for decades to come.
And of course if Hyatt or Hilton or any of the others marketed
hotels.com there is no way to even imagine how many tens of millions of leads
would have been discovered. Leads that they get FIRST CRACK at getting. First
crack at a new customer. First crack at a new reservation. This has no
Until folks face the greatest failure of their careers and learn from it they
first must see and understand that failure. I don't want to beat these guys up.
Really I don't. I am sad to report that 12 years into this and they STILL have
no clue just how bad they failed. With 20/20 hindsight you would be hard pressed
to find a hotel executive to say they screwed up by not getting hotels .com.
What the hell is wrong with you folks??
Johnson and Johnson figured it out. They own baby.com and a
LOT more. See how they OWN this sector. How they CONTROL this sector. How that
have positioned themselves to lead the next 100 years just like they have lead
the past 100 years. THEY GET IT!! Then think what would be the consequences if
their competitor got it!
Bank of America owns Loans.com. THEY GET IT!
Barnes and Noble own Books.com. THEY GET IT!
Kraft owns CreamCheese.com. THEY GET IT!
JC Penny owns Gift.com. THEY GET IT!
Calvin Klein owns Underwear.com. THEY GET IT!
So these corporations and their Madison Avenue ad execs
deserve recognition. I have a list of about 100 companies that GET IT. I give
these folks a tip of the hat. They are probably yelling "Shut up" at the screen
so not everyone figures it out. LOL
Now let's look at a disaster.....and a failure by the same
Campbells owns MySoup.com. The competition (Knorr) owns
Soup.com. Somebody SCREWED up there! They DON'T get it and by the time they
figured it out....TOO LATE! How much do you think it will cost Campbell over the
next 50 years not having that domain? I would invest in Knorr. They have SHARP
people there and they may unseat the leader just like 1-800-flowers gobbled up
FTD. That is one of my favorite stories of not keeping up. Here is a business
(FTD) that OWNED the sector for 100 years and here comes 1-800-flowers and the tiny
fish gobbled up the GIANT fish. The ONLY way Campbells will get soup.com is
buying the other company. But they better do it NOW before it goes the other
way! Knorr is owned by Unilever.
Imagine if 1-800-flowers did not own flowers.com?? Would not
that have been a MAJOR screw up? Well if you can see it there....it is time to
apply it to your own sector and see if you pass or fail. The key to all this was
that it WAS a "Unique opportunity in time" because a domain like hotels.com
could have been bought a few years back for LESS than the price of a SuperBowl
commercial. Today I bet some chains pay the price that could have run many
commercials. And what do you think the price of hotels.com is today?? Do we
count in hundreds of millions or billions? I think the latter if you could even
get to that point.
So the hotel industry and dozens of other industries and their
Madison Avenue agencies DON'T GET IT! They are soooo stuck on branding that they
just can't GRASP that in the virtual world you can have more than one door. You
can have more than one front door. You can market in generic ways. You can do
lots oif things you can't do in the real world.
Regardless of all this. Their #1 jobs is to INCREASE SALES.
Branding without increasing sales is not branding at all. Branding without using
every tool is not building brands it is destroying brands. Branding is a buzz word that means little. SALES is
what pays the bills and the salaries. Here they missed the #1 opportunity to
increase sales, take market share, grow their business at the expense of the
competition and they just sat there and talked about branding and to this very
MOMENT still don't get it.
That my friends is a sad indictment of where we are. They are
so busy slapping themselves on the back that they BLEW IT! They failed. They
continue to fail. To me, this is the single biggest and clearest illustration of
their total incompetence.
At least come to the point where you slap your forehead and
say...."Oh my goodness, how the hell did we miss that?" Until you get to THAT
POINT, there is really little else to say. Defend yourselves all you want.
Somebody go do a spreadsheet and show them what it would have looked like today
if they did not miss the biggest opportunity they will EVER have to increase
Barry Diller and IAC (InterActive Corp) figured it out when they bought hotels.com and you geniuses will be
paying THEM for the next 100 years because you guys FAILED! And you will
continue to fail until you can see how badly you messed up. Go take a look at
Luckily there are other related domain names. Vacations.com.
Ooops, owned by Travelocity. Too late! Do they charge commission too?
Motels.com, motel.com, hotel.com, travel.com......Are you guys on Madison Ave.
and Corp America getting the picture yet??? Instead of having an income
producing ASSET on your ledger you have an EXPENSE!!! DUH! A significant expense. You
can either "Get it" or call me names. Go ahead, give it your best shot. Nothing
you can call me can cover up failure of this magnitude. NOTHING!
I rest my case!
Now I know you hear the frustration in my words. 5 years ago
you would have had to peel me from the ceiling. But it is not as bad as it
seems. I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. I do see a dialogue
developing. I just really wanted to be on record and 100% clear of how I see it. I hope this filters up, down and sideways throughout the Corporate world and
Madison Avenue. Start with Donny Deutsch and let it circulate down to Main
To dismiss any of these first few posts would just be
perpetuating a 12 year failure to understand how a GREAT domain name can grow
your business, lead to greater market share, and if you fall asleep at the wheel
be prepared for someone to come and disrupt your entire industry no matter what
industry you are in.
Have a GREAT Day!
Hotels.com, Campbells and Hyatt are registered Trademarks