I’m tardy in linking to this, but Rich Skrenta, CEO of Topix.net, has a great explanation of why Topix.net decided to buy Topix.com for $1 million. The news site recognized that its brand recognition has suffered because its name ended in “.net,” rather than “.com,” which some liken to the Rodeo Drive or Park Avenue of domain extensions.
Frank Schilling, a highly successful domain investor, has said that the “one constant since the dawn of the commercial Internet has been type-in traffic” to .com addresses. Many Web users search for information in the address bar. If a person heard about a site called “Topix” that aggregated news from around the world while, say, at a cocktail party, do you think they’d try typing in “Topix.net” in their browser the next day? Not likely.
Skrenta attests to the critical role .com plays in Web branding in his discussion of why his company wound up paying $1 million for Topix.com. Skrenta writes:
So I brought up the question with our board. This is going to be expensive, should we look into it? They were very supportive. Their take was, if we were going to invest in our brand, and in having a better connection with our users, as opposed to remaining a geek-tool or just getting SEO traffic, that we’d want to make sure the brand was top-tier.