Dan.com

information Inside Interview: From Gogobot to Trip - Behind the Purchase of Trip.com

NameSilo
Described by Michael Arrington as "one of my favourite new startups for 2010", Gogobot became a popular destination for planning vacations and excursions. The company experienced triple-digit growth and received close to $40 million in funding, according to Crunchbase.

With this momentum behind the company, CEO Travis Katz and his team acquired the domain name Trip.com from Expedia and swiftly rebranded the company. In this interview, Travis gives us some fascinating details about Gogobot and the rebranding process that resulted in Trip.com.


Can you tell us about yourself and the company behind Trip.com?


Trip.com’s goal is to make having amazing adventures less work and more fun. To do that, our app leverages information like weather, time of day, and personalized information from our 19 Tribes to surface recommendations we think you’ll like - whether you are looking for breakfast and museums in New York, cheap hotels in Dallas, or dinner in your own. We’re the first travel company to use AI in this way.

Trip.com’s team is small but incredibly smart and effective, which is what has allowed us to accomplish so much over the last 6 years. Everyone in the company is passionate about finding and having great experiences at home - and around the world. Most of us have visited upwards of 20 countries - so we are walking our talk.

I love to travel as well (63 countries and counting) and one of the best decisions I ever made was to take a year to travel. My wife and I met on that trip, in India - today we have two awesome kids and take them with us on our adventures. A great balance between work and family is important to me, and I make sure I’m around at bedtime even if I open my laptop later. Professionally, I’ve been lucky to grow Trip.com into a company I’m really proud of over the last 6 years, building on past great opportunities like launching MySpace International.


Originally, your company was branded under the name Gogobot. Who came up with this name, and why did you choose it?

My co-founder, Ori Zaltzman and I, came up with the name - for us, it expressed the idea of using technology to travel and have adventures - and the (then) futuristic idea that this could happen quickly, with a high degree of personalization. (We were one of the first companies to use social media to assist in travel planning, and a few years ago launched Tribes, a unique set of 19 travel styles - think Trendster, Foodie, Budget, Backpackers)


When did you first consider moving away from Gogobot as a name?

Probably as far back as late 2014.


trip.jpg
How did you decide on the name Trip.com?


We loved the simplicity of it. The word Trip can also mean both an adventure across the globe or a new discovery in your hometown, both of which are big parts of our product.


Did you have other domains under consideration (i.e as a back up, in case trip.com wasn’t available), or was your target name always Trip.com?

We were eyeing a few other domains but as soon as we realized Trip.com was a possibility, we focused in on it.


Why did you ultimately settle on Trip.com as your new brand name?

It’s a short, catchy domain that points clearly to what we do as a company.


How did you determine how much the domain was worth to you? Did you use any appraisals, brokers or tools to help you figure out the value? (disclosing the name’s actual value isn’t necessary)

We did some internal analysis on what we expected the impact could be on the business over time, as well as what we felt the market price for a domain like this was.


Do you think buying Trip.com was a good investment in your company? Have you had any feedback on the name change?

Absolutely. Not only does it brand us very clearly, but it has a much better potential for search and places us in people’s minds as a bigger company from the outset. Feedback has been extremely positive from the industry. Our staff even reports that in casual conversation, people believe they know what Trip.com is, even if they don’t...the brand is so simple it gives people the feeling that they should know us, even if they don’t yet.


What would your advice be to other startups or companies looking at buying a premium domain name?

Be resourceful. We looked for more than a year before finding this brand, and we didn’t find it in an auction on one of the hosting sites. Seek out brands you really love, if they are not for sale, talk to the owners directly, and be persistent. We hit a lot of dead ends before ending up where we did.


Do you think that buying the right domain name should be a priority for startups?

Without a doubt. I think we underestimated this when we started. As a startup, you are bringing a new product or service into the world and a great domain name is critical not only for helping people to find you, but to remember you. It’s the first thing users will consider when deciding to click through on your listing in a Google search or a link on Facebook.


--

Thanks to Travis for taking the time to participate in our Inside Interview series. In addition to an incredible domain, Trip.com have managed to acquire the exact match social media usernames, so you can follow @Trip on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Inside Interviews is a blog series profiling the buyers of high-value domain names. Find out their motives, negotiation tactics, and their opinions on popular domaining topics only on the NamePros Blog.
 
15 0
•••
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
You may also be interested in seeing Trip.com's Super Bowl commercial:

 

anantj

Top Contributor
Impact
3,813
Unfortunately that couldn't be disclosed... Trust me, I did ask!!

Haha.. Of course, I'm sure you asked. I expect it'll be in mid to high 6 figures. Trip.com is a far superior domain to Vivo.com (IMO) which was sold for 1.8M but considering Gogobot is/was a startup, I doubt they'd pay such a high amount. But you never know.

I also surprised that Expedia let this domain go. The buy pitch must have been fantastic for Expedia, which, afaik, is not in need of funds and the domain is very topical to their business.
 
Haha.. Of course, I'm sure you asked. I expect it'll be in mid to high 6 figures. Trip.com is a far superior domain to Vivo.com (IMO) which was sold for 1.8M but considering Gogobot is/was a startup, I doubt they'd pay such a high amount. But you never know.

I also surprised that Expedia let this domain go. The buy pitch must have been fantastic for Expedia, which, afaik, is not in need of funds and the domain is very topical to their business.

From researching, it's a little more complicated, I think. It looks like Expedia might have had (or still have) a steak in Gogobot (now Trip.com). So there's a preexisting relationship - perhaps the domain was traded for cash + equity... Only speculating
 

anantj

Top Contributor
Impact
3,813
From researching, it's a little more complicated, I think. It looks like Expedia might have had (or still have) a steak in Gogobot (now Trip.com). So there's a preexisting relationship - perhaps the domain was traded for cash + equity... Only speculating

Ah. That makes a lot more sense. Thanks for the info...
 

DomainPluto

Dashawn R.Established Member
Impact
289
Great interview. Nice to get an insight from an end user who truly understand the importance a domain is for your brand and business.

Btw Expedia have a very healthy portfolio.
 

DomainBELL

DNOA Founding MemberTop Contributor
Impact
1,149
Super Move... Going for GoGoBot to Trip
I'm in my 50's might not be the target audenice - but alot of us travel and now have the time and money to travel... and I would not have bothered to check out a company called GoGoBot -- I would however go to TRIP.com and that would easily embed itself into my mind for all future travel needs...
~Patricia K. -- Ohio USA -- DomainBELL
.
.
.