It’s a point I’ve made over and over to more founders than I can count on two hands. What I’m talking about is the importance of having the exact-match of your company name. Now I’m not talking about domain extensions here, I’m talking about what exists before the dot, that being said the same issue can come up when you’re branding around a non .COM so there’s a lesson here for everyone.
The crux of the issue is when you want to call your company something like Company.com, but you notice that’s taken so you brand around a domain like GetCompany.com or CompanyOnline.com, or maybe even CompanyInc.com.
Life is good until a competitor crops up on Company.com and now you’re actually losing clients to a competitor and yes, important emails are also likely going to @company.com as well. There’s nothing like a good example to prove a point and I recently found a painful but good example.
As both a founder and an angel investor I’ve become a big fan of eShares, a very cool startup that moves the cap table/equity management process from spreadsheets and physical paper to the cloud. After raising $17M in 2015 at a whopping $77M valuation you’d think they’d end-up owning eShares.com, but that didn’t happen and they stuck with eSharesInc.com.
A competitor has a confusingly similar site up on eShares.com:
Doesn’t this looks like a company that helps with equity management for startups? Sure it does, the freaking tagline at the top calls them the “leading Equity Management and Marketplace for Technology companies.”
Now here’s what the real eShares website looks like:
Yikes! Talk about a confusing situation. That being said, I love eShares (the eSharesInc.com version) and they are doing amazing stuff so I don’t mean to slam them in any way with this post. eShares (the eSharesInc.com version) is doing amazing things for startups and it has made my life as a founder a lot easier, and yes, I recommend them to every founder I know and invest in.
Of course every time I recommend eShares it comes with a disclaimer – don’t go to eShares.com, instead make sure to go to eSharesInc.com, that’s the eShares I’m talking about. Which makes it sounds a little sketchy so then I mention the $17M raise and the $77M valuation and that usually re-builds the confidence, but without their exact-match domain I need to give this additional information to make it sound like I’m truly recommending the market leader.
Will eShares continue to kick ass and take names without their exact-match domain? Sure, they clearly have been super successful without it, but it would be a lie to say that not having eShares.com isn’t hurting them because it certainly isn’t helping…