Chinese Domain Market Newsletter

In my first job, I was sent to sell fragrances in Taiwan. One day, a cosmetic company complained the essential oil they received was contaminated. So, I had the five drums of oil shipped back to my office, opened them, poured in some chemicals, and then stirred with a long stick. Somehow I was not careful and some oil spilled onto a large area of my left arm. No matter how hard I tried, I could not remove the smell. In the following days, whenever I rode the bus to go to work, women on the bus would all stare at me and wonder why a young man in his early 20s was wearing a fragrance only suitable for a mature lady in her 40s or 50s. What fragrance? Channel No. 5. Here's the post.

July 7, 2016 (Thu)

Top Chinese startup dumps exact name for expensive 3C .com

Why is it that I can dial the 8-digit number to call my mom yet can't recall the 4-digit zip code of my home address? Because I call my mom frequently. Why is it that I can remember but struggle for other similar names? Because 1688 has meaning (making a fortune all the way). With these two facts in mind, let's look at a Chinese startup called Zoomla (逐浪).

Zoomla was founded in 2005 to provide tools to help website administrators manage contents of their websites in a simple and easy way. Within 10 years, it has become the best provider in that field. Their official website is heavily used as shown by its Alexa ranking of 4,107 in China, which is quite good in a country with 4.2 millions of websites.

Recently, the company purchased and immediately turned it into their main site. Visiting will take you to automatically. At a glance, it does not make sense. The company is named Zoomla, its tools are named Zoomla, its website is named, and the market is China. They are all aligned perfectly well. Why did they have to change?

I did some investigation and then realized that this is an interesting rebrand story.

With the success of Zoomla in China, the startup recently decided to go global but hit the wall right away. Outside China, there is a strong competitor called Joomla. Joomla was also founded in the same year as Zoomla but it is already very established globally. If Zoomla keeps its name in the global market, brand confusion will work against its favor -- not to mention potential trademark infringement issue. The company had to rebrand.

After much research and even advice from Domain King Wen Sheng CAI, they decided to purchase for about $150k (more than 1m yuan). They chose this name because Z represents Zoomla, helping their users transition to the new site. 01 indicates the state of a bit, which is the basic unit of digital information. As a whole, the name Z01 tells the users the company is still Zoomla and it deals with digital content.

Will the new name work? I think so. Remember the two factors I mentioned earlier? Website administrators will visit frequently as before, so in due time they'll remember the name. Also, the domain name has a meaning that is relevant. Finally, Z01 is very short at 3 characters and .com is for global market. I also speculate that Z01 will be used as their company name and product name.

What is the implication for domain investors? If you want to target end users, the key is finding short, easy-to-remember .com name with good meaning, which requires the willingness to do research.