March 31, 2016 (Thu)
Expensive Domain Name Upgrade
Wo Wo Tuan (窝窝团) started in 2010 as an O2O ecommerce site on 55tuan.com. 55 rhymes with Wo Wo (窝窝) and Tuan (团) is a Pinyin word. The name means a place where a group of people is sheltered.
Right from the start, the company had a big plan to go national and then list on a US stock exchange. But they had a problem. The domain name did not match up with their ambition to be a great company. So, in the following year, they managed to acquire 55.com. The purchase price was not disclosed but rumored to be 5m CNY.
Last year it succeeded in listing on Nasdaq with a simple Wowo brand on a short domain name 55.com
Recently, prominent domain investor Yi LIU (刘亦), the likely seller, revealed that the actual price paid was 3m US dollars or about 20m CNY. This expensive upgraded helped the company to truncate to a short and easy to remember name.
I think the trend toward shorter names will continue. So, if you have a short name, be it an English word or an acronym .com, you may want to hold it and wait for the right end user to come, and the end user may even be a Chinese company.
In terms of acronym, I also think 3L offers the biggest chance of Chinese companies to upgrade. This is because 3-pin Chinese domain names are commonly used by companies, but the names may be a bit long. Upgrading to a very short 3L from a long 3-pin name is very attractive for many Chinese companies, and 3L .com are much more affordable than 2L .com. So if you own a 3L .com, it pays to do your research to find potential end users in China.