Yi Fang Wang (易房网) is a real estate service started in 2009 by an internet startup to help customers buy or rent apartments in the Qingdao area. House hunting in China is a crowded space with many companies fighting for a bigger share. This competition extends to domain names as well, making it difficult to find a good name to build a house hunting website.
For a while, the brand resided on efang.tv. This domain name presented 3 challenges for customers of Yi Fang Wang. The customers must: (1) Translate “yi” to “e” (some companies like this choice because “e” sounds like “yi” and the letter looks cool as being internet-related), (2) Drop the “wang” from the brand name, and (3) Add the .tv extension instead of .com or .cn (even though the site had nothing to do with video).
Maybe the company realized how difficult it was for their customers to remember the domain name. Early this year they upgraded the domain name to YiFang5.com. In this name name, they have restored “yi” and upgraded to .com, but they also introduced a new problem. Instead of using “wang”, they went for the number 5 (which rhymes with the word). YiFangWang.com would have been an excellent choice.
In this internet age, a good domain name is paramount. A short, exact matching domain name on .com is the best choice because it requires the least effort for customers to remember both your brand name and where to find you on the internet.
Successful venture capitalist Paul Graham once said, “If you have a US startup called X and you don’t have x.com, you should probably change your name. The problem with not having the .com of your name is that it signals weakness. Whereas having x.com signals strength even if it has no relation to what you do.”
I think his words apply equally well to companies in China.