C o r e i l e

a domain blog for ceos
Saturday



June 17, 2017 (Sat)

The domain journey of a startup


Image courtesy of Pixabay.com


Startup founders often have ideas but not much money, so they tend to spend little time on selecting a good domain name. A few days ago I read a story about a US startup with an interesting domain journey which I want to share with you.

Scriptdash is a digital pharmacy founded in June 2015. It provides fast delivery of medication when users submit a doctor's prescription on its website. Recently, the company has further refined its service by linking with doctors to receive prescriptions directly. The fast delivery service has proven to be popular among consumers as well as investors. Since 2015, the company has received funding every year.

Scriptdash's corporate website is Scriptdash.com with the following features.

  • The name part fully matches the Scriptdash brand.
  • Domain extension uses the mainstream .com.
  • The name is a combination of the words "Script" (taken from "preScription") and "dash" (implying "fast"). The whole name describes the service very well.

Scriptdash.com was registered about one month before the startup was established (May 22). Also, Archive.org shows that Scriptdash.com was first recorded on January 29, 2011, and the second record was created on June 11, 2015. This means the domain name was registered but abandoned within that four years and then picked up by the startup. These two facts suggest very little money (about $10) was spent to register Scripdash.com, yet this domain name is very appropriate for the nature of the startup's business.

Earlier this month, Scriptdash received $23 million B-series funding and plans to extend the service across America. The company has also rebranded to Alto and its domain name upgraded to the matching Alto.com. Alto comes from the Latin word altus (meaning "high"), indicating the startup's desire to raise its service to a higher level.

The new domain name is shorter and also easier to remember. It's easy to type, so should bring in more direct traffic to the website and help promote the brand. As a short and solid domain name registered on September 4, 1995, Alto.com must have cost the company a considerable amount of money to acquire.

Reading the Scriptdash story gives me an idea: As a Chinese startup, if you cannot get an appropriate Pinyin .com domain name, you can follow the examples of Vivo (handset maker) and OFO (bicycle sharing) by creating and then using an English brand within China. Once your business idea is proven popular with consumers and you have received funding, you can rebrand and acquire a better .com domain name. This method allows you to use the mainstream .com extension Chinese consumers are most familiar with. The .com domain name also makes your business ready for global expansion right from the start. To learn more about this method, read my May 6 post "How to create a global brand .com with only $10".

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Note: This post is a translation of my Chinese post written on the same date with a China-centric perspective.