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If the business is good, does domain matter?

Labeled as discuss in General Domain Discussion, started by abstractdomainer, Jun 26, 2020

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  1. abstractdomainer

    abstractdomainer Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    I just happened to visit the website of Andreessen Horowitz. They are one of the prominent venture capital funds in Silicon Valley and if you look at their portfolio of investments and EXITS, your mind will be blown, and I have no doubts about that.

    While I had heard about them, I never looked at their portfolio of investments, exits or fund size ever. Today, when checking their website, which by the way, uses the domain name a16z.com (and I'll explain you the logic in sometime), I saw that they have $12 Billion in fund under management with investments in startups like Zenefits, Slack, Facebook etc.

    Now coming to their domain name which is a16z.com, I'll tell you the logic behind it (and if you have to explain what the domain name is about, it is not quite good a name - doesn't pass the radio test too).
    The domain name starts with 'a' from Andreessen and ends with 'z' from Horowitz and has 16 other letters in between them.
    Hence the name, a16z.com

    Having said that, it makes me come to this question, which is the point of discussion here:

    If your business is good, does the domain name even matter?

    Also, what could be a good domain name option for them, given the reputation?
     
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  2. koolishman

    koolishman Upgraded Member Blue Account

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    If your business is good, does the domain name even matter?

    In this case no. They are well known. The domain a16z.com sounds OK.

    If they were to start new, something more relevant would have been nice, but not necessary.

    Meanwhile check out https://berkshirehathaway.com/.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
  3. Morgo

    Morgo Established Member

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    It's a "numeronym", and a play on i18n which was used in lieu of "internationalization," which was obviously very relevant given Marc and Ben's experience with Mosaic and Netscape. It's also catchy to their most important audience, technical founders.

    Most people actually refer to the firm as a16z nowadays, I think they did a brilliant job with branding.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
  4. lock

    lock DomainUsed.com VIP

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    I would certainly be spending money buying generic traffic feeder sites domains to my brand.
     
  5. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP Blue Account

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    Are they really that big?

    a16z.com is a terrible name.

    Samer
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
  6. lock

    lock DomainUsed.com VIP

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    Plenty of successful adult sites running on crap names people continue to use them as they keep updating them.
     
  7. shojib

    shojib Established Member

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    does the domain name even matter?
    No
     
  8. HotKey

    HotKey Made in Canada VIP

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    Good example of, what came first; the domain name or the online presence? Guess while they may be mutually exclusive, really it depends on a couple factors:

    - Did the brand have a recognized bricks-and-mortar presence or content-driven site beforehand
    - Is the brand a new venture which will require a trusted domain name to gain traction

    If business is good but the name is crappy, though not necessary, I think you can only go up by serving a good domain name. But to keep in mind brand-recognition is something people connect to from a historical sense, even with bad names.

    To us, of course a good domain name matters even if business is good. We're always looking for the perfect name at the end of the rainbow. It's in our blood, as investors.
     
  9. NameDeck

    NameDeck Top Contributor VIP

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    Yes they are. The founder started Netscape back in the day. He's a legend in the tech scene. The current portfolio is very impressive and obviously their investment companies use superb domains.

    The domain is a numeronym like @Morgo pointed out. Think of it like an insider's joke. It's well recognised among their clientele and the industry and they're actually more commonly referred to as a16z than their full company name.

    If anything they should abandon the full company name and stick to a16z.
     
  10. BrandCollectors.com

    BrandCollectors.com Established Member

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    a16z as domain looks spammy for me


    even 8--88.com much better 😅
     
  11. lock

    lock DomainUsed.com VIP

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    If you had a brand domain and bought names search related with the profits it would be of benefit as everyone wants more traffic than from content alone to grow their business.
     
  12. pb

    pb Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Also well known in the industry are l10n for localization and a11y for accessibility. The logic behind the name is easily recognizable in the relevant groups and it was a smart move to use a16z instead of putting people through the nightmare of spelling the name. Although, arguably, ah.com would be better. ;)
     
  13. abstractdomainer

    abstractdomainer Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    Ya. But I don't agree with a16z sounding good! In fact, I'd say terrible.
    The Berkshire site looks terrible, given the business of their status.

    If anything becomes popular, people remember it. But I don't think that certifies the name as good, given the possibilities. I still think their name is pretty terrible.

    Very big! $12B under management.
     
  14. abstractdomainer

    abstractdomainer Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    Yes. I think another example of business being the more important part.

    Why would you invest in a domain name then?

    That's a different view. Just because it is famous? I was thinking AZ instead of A16Z would be much better. No?
    Spammy, yes! 8--88 no! Definitely not
     
  15. abstractdomainer

    abstractdomainer Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    a11y, when I saw this, I couldn't make it out at all. Whether it ally or something else. FOr people who don't know, it kind of looks spammy. AH.com? How about AZ.com?
     
  16. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Thanks for starting the thread @abstractdomainer and thank you for the term numeronym @Morgo. I was not familiar with the name and this type of domain names before, so already learned something new at NamePros and it is not 8 am here yet! :xf.smile: Thanks also for the additional examples of numeronym's @pb.

    On the original question, I think a business can be totally successful with a name most domainers would regard as poor. That does not mean that a good domain name does not bring value to an established or new business.

    I think the examples given in the thread also demonstrate something else that has been in my mind for quite a while. One of the challenges of domain investing is that many business owners have their own, sometimes quirky, ideas on what type of name they want, and that may not match with what domainers consider a good name. Many businesses start out on hand registrations, partly because of this.

    Thanks again to all who have contributed.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
  17. NameDeck

    NameDeck Top Contributor VIP

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    Obviously az is a more versatile domain so from an investors point of view this would make the better domain. Not because it actually is the better domain for this specific enduser, but because its rare, and there's a huge pool of possible endusers. At the same time from an enduser's and clients point of view it's faceless and unpersonal. It definitely doesn't mean it is the better domain/brand for a startup. acronyms are always a weaker brand, especially when you start out. Exceptions are there, like when the acronym actually makes up another word. But then the acronym is not the brand, but the generated word.

    Now you could debate AZ stands for A-Z but is that really what would've represented this company in a fair way when they started out? Or even where they are today? Is that actually part of their identity? Companies like these have grown organically (unlike a lot of startups these days). The domain they use pays tribute to 'the old days' something techs can definitely appreciate. Lets not forget that a lot of well known numeronyms have been in use since the 80's and are still being used on a daily basis in Sillicon Valley. It's actually a very cool brand and a big part of their identity. For this specific company I think rebranding to AZ would actually be a downgrade as you would have to make huge concessions on the brand identity.

    Would I advise a startup to use a numeronym nowadays when they are just starting out? Not so much :)
     
  18. equity78

    equity78 Top Member TheDomains Staff TLDInvestors.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    If the company wants to reach consumers, yes the domain name absolutely matters.
     
  19. taheny

    taheny Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I liken domain names to street addresses. If a business already has a great reputation, they don't require a prime location. For example:
    • An IKEA store in an industrial suburb
    • That no-name restaurant in a back alley that makes dumplings so amazing, people line up for hours
    However, for businesses without great reputations that people aren't prepared to go out of their way to find, a prime address (or premium domain name) makes them far easier to locate, gives them credibility and is often the difference between failure and success.
     
  20. AEProgram

    AEProgram Top Contributor VIP Blue Account

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    If their domain was uqxyouyyqxyzdp.buzz it would not matter. When your business is giving people money in exchange for some paper that might or might not be worth anything one day, your business is in such demand that people look you up and if people needed to manually type a 80 character domain it still would not impact their business.

    Its the reason why the pawn shop can have a run down messy store with a sloppy 5 dollar sign and it will do great, but the local store trying to sell clothing etc. has to look amazing.
     
  21. garptrader

    garptrader Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Business success depends on many factors. A short, memorable domain name can help to promote a business' products and services. A poorly chosen domain name can hurt a business via lost sales, misdirected emails to customers, vendors, potential customers finding a competing business instead of yours, having to spend many thousands of dollars on advertising to compensate for a poor name choice, etc. But just like a restaurant can still fail with a good location, a six-figure domain is no guarantee of a business succeeding.

    The issue we face as an industry is that too many marketeers and business people do not think that the domain matters at all and do not realize its impact on their business.
     
  22. handpicked

    handpicked Established Member

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    I think the success lies in the name 'Andreessen Horowitz', that is an industry iconic name, and the brand that they have made out of it. Their brand also repesents the quantum of work they have done over the years to earn iconc status to that person's name. The domain name is just a stylish pointer to their establish and reputed brand that has seen billions in transaction.
     
  23. pb

    pb Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Those are two surnames.
     
  24. pteracuda

    pteracuda Established Member

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    @abstractdomainer I would have to say it wouldn't matter as long as the company plans to keep using the .com name to brand their website.

    I would suggest something more memorable. I just picked up a short .com 0cap.com which I think would fit good in financing or investing, but the company could hate my idea of a name too.... depends on what the company wants, but more realistically what will drive more customers.... usually short and memorable doesn't hurt.
     
  25. TheBuyerz

    TheBuyerz Established Member

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    Memorable domain name is important if your users need to have a constant access to your website ... especially if the people targetted are from different categories (illiterate, Student, Old, Young etc.), the best example for that: fb.com (facebook), if it was hard to be remembered I don't think he will have all this success.

    If it's not a .COM also it will be a big problem ... people have habit to write the name followed by CTRL + ENTER, or simply adding .COM unconsciously.

    There is niches that don't need to get a memorable domain name to have success ... especially mobile apps that don't require a website to work, also local business, and old institute/businesses that already made a name over time.

    Another exception: fiverr.com ... they got this domain name even before they acquire fiver.com, but even with that the domain name remain easy to remember and used by peoples that have already an experience on a different domains area on the web, and Google helped well for SEO and redirect users to this one since the other domain was not developed.

    But as final word, there is no better than a remomable domain name.
     

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