Reader Question: Owning .org But Not .com
“Elliot, whats your take on MatchMaker.org (made up name) and how badly the lack of .com will affect it? I am already established idea of what i want to do with that, it will be similar to your model of lowell, giving them basic [listings] for free but frills and reviews of business will come with price tag.
Basic premise of concept: Break down matchmakers by state, and maybe cities as sub category of states? I am thinking of putting everyone in for free with basic contact info (email) and just a name of company, and then notifying them that their page is up and about extra features they can get. So everyone gets a free page but after that comes extra features. While they can pay for frills of being reviewed, to add link to site, add write up about them self and what they do, background check. (due to .org directory, in public eyes reviews will seem more credible, even more then if it was .com or another category)
Whats your thoughts on monetization of it? How lack of .com will affect it or other extension affecting it?”
Depending on the industry you are in, owning the .org can sometimes be better than the .com. In the dating industry, I think the .com is much better and holds more credence, as people know it to be a for-profit industry. However, if you would form an organization of “matchmakers,” the .org wouldn’t necessarily be bad, but I think you would have to offer more than just a directory. You might have to sponsor events or offer tools to the match makers who would want to join the organization.
In terms of branding, I discussed something similar when the USPS nationally branded a .org and didn’t own the .com. People have short memories, and many will automatically assume it’s the .com – or they won’t even realize the .com and .org are different, so they just went to the .com. The USPS eventually bought the .com, but they probably got lucky because the name wasn’t what I would consider a premium generic name. I am sure they paid much more when the bought it after the fact, but the premium was only because they needed it due to traffic loss, and not name value.
With your example, the .com would already be considered a premium generic dating name (I know the actual name but refrained by request). Because of this, the .com already has inherent value, so if you brand the .org and lose traffic to the .com, it will only serve to increase the value of the already valuable .com. If you plan to grow the business and significantly fund it, I would advise buying the .com. If you plan to run it like an organization of “match makers,” where you are providing a valuable service, you may be ok with the .org, but you will still end up losing traffic to the .com.
The more you brand the .org, the more traffic you are probably sending to the .com, thus increasing the price to acquire it. My best advice would be to speak with the owner of the .com (knowing that its a parked page), and see if you can buy that. It will help you brand your business now, and will save you lots of money down the road. If he is unwilling to sell, I would also recommend making a lease to own offer, so you can hedge your bets if you decide to exit the business or rebrand. You will pay more, but at least the price of the .com won’t increase due to your branding efforts.
In your industry, there will always be “burn down value” for the .com, and much less for the .org. It can only enhance the value of your business if you have the .com, and it will prove that you own the market.
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