People out there still conditioned to think ‘dotcom’
Domain name registrars are minting it
WHEN FashionValet.net launched in November 2010, we proudly said we were going to do things differently.
From offering online shoppers labels they have only seen in stores to promising immediate replies to customer enquiries, the .net would be the storefront that exhibited our differentiation. We made flyers, packaging materials, buntings, etc., enough to last us more than a year, with the brand that is FashionValet.net.
However, we occasionally ran into issues with the .net URL with magazine and newspaper write-ups quoting the site as FashionValet.com. It got tiring to keep emphasizing our .net domain name to customers, media and basically everyone we spoke to.
“Our website is called FashionValet dot net”
“Ok. FashionValet dot com ….”
“No, FashionValet dot net, not dot com, dot net.”
“Ohhh, I see. Why dot net?”
Not surprisingly, the decision to someday purchase the “.com” domain was one the whole team unanimously agreed on. The question was when do we purchase it? When all our packaging materials are almost finished? When we had finalized plans to rebrand the website? Or when FV generates enough cash flow so that we would be comfortable paying for it?
No, the answer was simple, it had to be NOW.
A year is like a decade in the online world and if we were to wait any longer a thousand different things could have happened. Worst case scenario: FashionValet.com could have been bought by another company [or worse, a competitor] to reroute traffic to its website.
We also knew if we had waited for FV to grow bigger, the value of the “.com” would increase multiple times. We would have to stretch our resources to get it. There was no perfect time. Waiting was definitely not an option.
This was our first domain name purchase from a registered owner [as opposed to buying an available name from the registry] and just as technology companies get ridiculously high valuations for very little reason, domain names are the same.
The owner simply places a generic value on the domain name in the hopes of someone coming along would agree to it. The initial value of FashionValet.com was in the six-figure-ringgit region.
Considering namecheap.com offers available TLD-domain names for under RM30 (US$9.43) , hearing a figure like this would make even Usain Bolt vulnerable to a heart attack. Only by assuring myself that this was an investment, not an expense, was I able to deal with the shock myself.
After weeks of negotiation with the American seller, we were able to negotiate the price to below RM50,000 (US$15,716). Still, the actual figure is one that would make a start-up owner lose sleep for the next few weeks, but if someone were to ask me tomorrow what my website’s name was, I would just say it’s FashionValet.
The 24-year-old Fadzarudin Shah Anuar joined Deloitte Consulting after graduating from Imperial College London with a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering. He founded FashionValet – an online fashion and beauty retailer which emphasizes homegrown designers – with his fiancée Vivy Yusof.
Dotcom (.com) still rules