.Whatever and the BIGGEST Losers! What does this New Info Mean?

Morning Folks!!

Never confuse the customer. That's just one of the takeaways from the O.co disaster. Sure, you can put lipstick on this pig but 5 months after they announce they are going to become O.com, the change goes down in flames.

There are many losers in this. Some are short term losers and then there are long term losers. As for winners, there is only one winner. Dotcom!

Now this does not mean you can't make money with different extensions. You can. Including .co. It does mean you are crazy to try and build a business on any extension other than dotcom UNLESS you own the dotcom. They will ALWAYS have a gaping hole in their advertising and marketing strategy/budget and that is a costly mistake if they don't have the .com counterpart.

What happened with this news is akin to a $25 million domain sale. It's a marker in the sand. Marking a significant day with new FACTS.

This is what I would call a 'Paul Revere Moment' because the following line is going to be repeated and repeated and repeated for YEARS to come. Had O.co just decided to make a change would be one thing, but when they said THIS, the WORLD changed:

'Mr. Johnson said customers responded well to the O.co advertising, but after watching the spots, 'a good portion' of those who sought out the website went to O.com, instead of O.co.'

You can't put this back in the box. You can't unring this bell. This is not a low level employee, this is the President of the company. It is out there and I and others will hang our hat on it for years to come. Whether it be .co, .net, or HUNDREDS and soon to be THOUSANDS of other extensions.

'Mr. Johnson said customers responded well to the O.co advertising, but after watching the spots, 'a good portion' of those who sought out the website went to O.com, instead of O.co.'

Do not forget that line. THAT is what this is all about. 'It's the traffic, stupid!'

But there is also some clarity for the first time. Plus the conversation now turns to traffic. They are finally talking about traffic. When they start targeting that traffic we will all know we have arrived.

Itr has always been about the traffic but now they are reacting to it and understanding it.

When Overstock first announced they would be O.com I thought it was a stupid idea. Not because of the .co. That was not the first thing that popped in my mind. The first thing that popped in my mind was that the Overstock Brand itself was weak at best. Overstock is certainly not on the lips of most people and when I asked folks, most never heard of them. So their move was a branding mistake and premature.

It was stupid. I said so then and I did not mince words but I also was patient enough to wait for a REAL result. So the birdie in the mine was born.

Until NOW most folks did not know or maybe even did not believe that there is traffic leakage from ANY extension to the .com. That was inside baseball. We knew, few others did. Now the world knows. That's a good thing.

Read my posts for the last 15 years. I have stated over and over and over again that .NET is an'Orphan' extension. The weakest one because of the leakage to the .com. So this is nothing new. What is new is a mainstream company articulating that for the world to see. That is HUGE! That will have huge ramifications.

'Mr. Johnson said customers responded well to the O.co advertising, but after watching the spots, 'a good portion' of those who sought out the website went to O.com, instead of O.co.'

That is the key sentence to focus on. Nothing else in the release matters. But there is still a variable there. How MUCH leakage was there? We can guess at this. But let's look at the FACT that 5 months after they went to O.co they change course. 5 MONTHS!!! How much money did they spend in that re-branding effort? New commercials, new ads, new this and new that.

They did it 1 week before Thanksgiving. That is more evidence on how much leakage. Would you have liked to be a fly on the wall during those board meetings?

My estimate is as follows. 25% would be the very least leakage. But i think it is more. 50% would probably be getting close. My guess is they brought in a focus group, ran the commercial and then asked folks to simply go to their website.

So if that focus group had let's say had anywhere between 25% and 75% of folks going to O.com, then you can see why they would do something so drastic they know would be very embarrassing. The exact number we can speculate on. Just look how many times we have messed it up on blog posts or comments. CONFUSION!

But the FACT is it was so much leakage that they were forced to make this move after a huge investment.

Re-branding was a huge mistake when the original brand was not fully branded. But that is just a debating point. What can't be debated is the FACT of the traffic leakage. It's always about the traffic.

There is no excuse or justification. There are now facts. Facts to look at and plug in. But when we agree that this 'Experiment' is a big deal, we can't go back and say it doesn't mean much when it fails. And this was much more than a failure.

The single biggest loser, let me see, there are a few of them. But the biggest loser is down the road. I will have to re-read my August post on .Whatever and see if I need to change any of my thinking.

The gTLD's MOMENTUM is the the single biggest loser. How many companies will rethink their plans? How many will see this as the deciding factor? None of us know but I will guarantee you the answer is greater than 'None.' It may even rise to 'Many.'

Next up is .XXX. They have a different vision. Together we will see how that birdie does. I don't know, you don't know, but the birdie will know. The birdies cousin did not do well and this could be the next fatality. But sex sells and so I would say .XXX is the last best chance. A failure there is a nail in the coffin of .whatever as far as domain investment goes imho. We can count the carcases and come to a conclusion at that point. But I will still wait for the results and as always, time will tell.

I will also see what happens with the .XXX lawsuit. Mike Berkens wrote a piece yesterday and gives some good reasons why companies should get their .whatever. We will see if they take his advice. One thing is for sure, understanding of domain names and traffic on the Internet are still in the elementary stages. Folks that at this point should be fluent in domain names can hardly speak the language.

Those that don't understand how meaningful that one statement Mr. Johnson made is just missing the entire picture and wishing won't make your assets worth more. Taking in new information and adjusting is key. This was HUGE information. Nothing we did not know, but now confimed in a very public way.

I will be using that quote for YEARS to come. Forget the .co, (allthough the confusion factor here is off the chart) put in any extension. If you are going to mass market, you MUST own the dotcom version. SIMPLE. One sentence says it all! Thank you Mr. Johnson. You are my hero!

'Mr. Johnson said customers responded well to the O.co advertising, but after watching the spots, 'a good portion' of those who sought out the website went to O.com, instead of O.co.'

Have a GREAT Day!

Rick Schwartz

23 thoughts on “.Whatever and the BIGGEST Losers! What does this New Info Mean?

  1. Sem

    Just a blip on the radar, as someone said. I believe it’s called making a mountain out of a molehill. If you check out the stats on Google trends, O.co vs O.com vs Overstock.com, you’ll see that most, by far, are still going to Overstock.com. The overall traffic impact of both O.co and o.com is very small indeed. I think Overstock has more problems that go beyond the scope of this negligible O.co vs O.com thing. Obviously there was spillage, but Overstock broke a fundamental business law – too far too fast is not a good idea. It has more to do with that than anything else.

  2. Trico

    “…but 5 months after they announce they are going to become O.com”
    “When Overstock first announced they would be O.com…”
    You did it again, Rick.

  3. Dave Wrixon

    What you didn’t say Rick is that single letter dot Coms are now worth megabucks. How much is even difficult to imagine.
    To a lesser degree but without less validity that is also going to be true of single IDN dot Coms, that can be generated from widely available keyboards. Especially, as it is now abundundantly clear that those who reqistered IDN.com will be entitled to first level IDN equivalent and that at some point in time they will be aliased so they point to the same IP Number.

  4. Kevin M

    @Tony – Your point (dig) is pointless. There’s a difference in ‘investing in’, and ‘building on’! Rick doesn’t ‘build’ on .co’s, he invested in them. Losing (if he does) on an small (to him) investment is one thing, ‘building’ a business/brand on an extension that loses and confuses customers, is another.

  5. DontBuy.CO

    This was the VERY first and VERY last .co I’ve ever registered. Here’s what I blew $29 on: DontBuy.co (Don’t Buy .co). Almost a year ago!
    This was my small contribution to domainers to not make the big mistake. Read it.
    I would have rather used that for bad .com buys, which would have still been better then any .co.
    Never say I didn’t care! :)

  6. Tony

    KevinM, you are desperate enough though to be RS’s mouthpiece/suck-up though?
    I put one of my domains as my sig bc I don’t hide my ID. Not to advertise it, mouthpiece.

  7. Kevin M.

    Tony – Take a chill. I just made a point regarding ‘investing’ and ‘building’ on .co. ..good grief..
    (Lotta rage and anger stored up there. Maybe ‘up the nitrous’??)

  8. BullS

    I do care about you and you have made an impact in my life so is Rick’s…dot com is KING.
    What don’t you understand!!!!!
    My biggest contribution to the society is get off the internet and spend your quality time on the beach as all websites are”BullS’
    BUY WHAT YOU NEED!!! like food

  9. luizh

    I also disapprove the thousands of gTLDs. If in the first instance the idea was to get a dotcom update so now they could communicate the dotco recall,haha… Well, the leakage is probably more than 50% then the other almost 50% can be significant to maintain the dotco, not as real traffic but as brand protection. Honestly, we still have a tiny statistical sampling but the Rick is more than 50% right. Thanks.

  10. Domains, Oil, Gold, Land, and Food

    I’d lean towards thinking it is more than 50% leakage, but who really knows besides them?
    This whole world-finally-understands-domain-traffic-thingy sure is taking decades. I’m getting old and they still don’t get it…LOL. We need LOTS more examples. Hopefully, the dam busted with this one and some of the world’s key marketing player’s ears perked up when they got notice of this.

  11. Jonathan

    I think other tlds have their purpose.
    I never invested in .co. I was also doing that stupid thing where you add the m at the end. It drove me nuts.
    It seems pretty common sense that you would want to own the .com version of whatever tld domain you are running off.
    Some still don’t get that unfortunately.

  12. UseYourHead

    You are dreaming, Pal. You and your dumbass IDNs. Go to any domain board and you will see that most haven’t had posts in years about IDN’s.
    They suck. You know NOTHING about economics. You think that if one million people with NO MONEY can theoretically type in one of your dumb names, that you will then be rich.
    You just don’t understand. Other than these dogshit extensions, IDN’s are about the dumbest shit I have ever seen in any business. Dumb….dumb…dumb….quack quack.

  13. Dave Wrixon

    If you believe that clicks from Saudi or Japan are worth less than clicks from the US, then you UseYourHead to stop your arse leaking.

  14. useyourgrayhair

    @ useyourhead-
    Facts are what counts.Contrary to Dave’s comment about aliasing which is mostly wish rather than facts,(and don’t quote vrsgn statements b/c they mean s**), his other statement is not far off

  15. Sideliner

    ICANN and cctld registars, not to mention verisign together are spending hundreds of millions to bring local language domains to most major languages inthe world.
    It’s been in the pipeline for 12+ years, and coming into mainstream use in the next 2-3 years. Some countries like Japan have the potential to be very lucrative, and are already seeing some notable traffic. For others, the population numbers are staggering with 1 billion + populations in India and China with a lot of future potential as cellphones become the computer of the future in those regions.

  16. Dave Wrixon

    We will have to see on the aliasing.
    What we do know is that there is precious little information on ASCII traffic for single.coms because most of them don’t exist.
    What I can tell you is that on IDN, single character dot coms blow even top generics out the water. No competition. The traffic is massive and suprising easy to convert where there is an established market for Google Keywords.
    It is not difficult to understand why Overstock really wanted O.com. I am sure they want it a whole lot more now. The question is, do they have deep enough pockets?


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