A strong domain name is crucial for a business looking to make a big impact on the internet. The one you choose for your website needs to be relevant and memorable. Think about the most successful companies, such as Google, Amazon, eBay and Expedia. They are all recognisable and have a strong presence because of their catchy, memorable domains. In some cases it can be tricky for businesses to secure the domain they want, especially if there is high competition for the name or if it has already been registered.
One of the longest running battles for a domain name ended earlier this month when Tesla Motors finally managed to take control of tesla.com. When the automotive manufacturer originally took to the internet they found that the domain they wanted was taken. It had been registered in 1992 by Stu Grossman, a fan of inventor Nikola Tesla. They ultimately had to opt for teslamotors.com.
The domain Tesla Motors chose worked at first, but over time the company outgrew it, particularly when they expanded to create electric batteries for other settings rather than just vehicles. When asked, the chief executive Elon Musk expressed his willingness to change the name of the company to highlight their broader product range, but cited domain name issues as a major stumbling block. However, the news that the domain he wanted has finally been secured after 24 years brings this issue to an end. Tesla now has a broader range on the internet and the ability to change their name if they wish.
The battle for tesla.com highlights the problems that many businesses can have when it comes to trying to secure the most relevant domain for their name. Some companies have an easier time of it and can dispute ownership. If they have a stronger claim to a name than the current registrant, in many cases they are able to take legal action which sees them awarded the domain.
Last year there was an interesting story involving google.com. Researcher Sanmay Ved, an ex-Google employee, managed to complete the purchase while looking at Google’s own domain buying service. He completed the purchase at a cost of just $12 and briefly became the owner of the site. Google reacted swiftly to the sale, cancelling the transaction, returning the money and taking control back in just a single minute. They then offered him $6006.13 (Google spelt numerically) as a reward for his purchase, which he donated to charity.
Google was lucky in this instance because the sale was made using their service, so it could be quickly rectified. There have been a few examples of high profile websites being allowed to expire and being purchased by private individuals over the years, including Microsoft’s passport.com and hotmail.co.uk. The situations of Tesla and Google show just how important it is that businesses are able to not only obtain the right domain, but also to keep control of it.