Why is it that I can dial the 8-digit number to call my mom yet can’t recall the 4-digit zip code of my home address? Because I call my mom frequently. Why is it that I can remember 1688.com but struggle for other similar names? Because 1688 has meaning (making a fortune all the way). With these two facts in mind, let’s look at a Chinese startup called Zoomla (逐浪).
Zoomla was founded in 2005 to provide tools to help website administrators manage contents of their websites in a simple and easy way. Within 10 years, it has become the best provider in that field. Their official website Zoomla.cn is heavily used as shown by its Alexa ranking of 4,107 in China, which is quite good in a country with 4.2 millions of websites.
Recently, the company purchased Z01.com and immediately turned it into their main site. Visiting Zoomla.cn will take you to Z01.com automatically. At a glance, it does not make sense. The company is named Zoomla, its tools are named Zoomla, its website is named Zoomla.cn, and the market is China. They are all aligned perfectly well. Why did they have to change?
I did some investigation and then realized that this is an interesting rebrand story.
With the success of Zoomla in China, the startup recently decided to go global but hit the wall right away. Outside China, there is a strong competitor called Joomla. Joomla was also founded in the same year as Zoomla but it is already very established globally. If Zoomla keeps its name in the global market, brand confusion will work against its favor — not to mention potential trademark infringement issue. The company had to rebrand.
After much research and even advice from Domain King Wen Sheng CAI, they decided to purchase Z01.com for about $150k (more than 1m yuan). They chose this name because Z represents Zoomla, helping their users transition to the new site. 01 indicates the state of a bit, which is the basic unit of digital information. As a whole, the name Z01 tells the users the company is still Zoomla and it deals with digital content.
Will the new name work? I think so. Remember the two factors I mentioned earlier? Website administrators will visit Z01.com frequently as before, so in due time they’ll remember the name. Also, the domain name has a meaning that is relevant. Finally, Z01 is very short at 3 characters and .com is for global market. I also speculate that Z01 will be used as their company name and product name.
What is the implication for domain investors? If you want to target end users, the key is finding short, easy-to-remember .com name with good meaning, which requires the willingness to do research.