vs. – a real life example of why not having your exact-match domain name could hurt you


It’s a point I’ve made over and over to more founders than I can count on two hands. What I’m talking about is the importance of having the exact-match of your company name. Now I’m not talking about domain extensions here, I’m talking about what exists before the dot, that being said the same issue can come up when you’re branding around a non .COM so there’s a lesson here for everyone.

The crux of the issue is when you want to call your company something like, but you notice that’s taken so you brand around a domain like or, or maybe even

Life is good until a competitor crops up on and now you’re actually losing clients to a competitor and yes, important emails are also likely going to as well. There’s nothing like a good example to prove a point and I recently found a painful but good example.

As both a founder and an angel investor I’ve become a big fan of eShares, a very cool startup that moves the cap table/equity management process from spreadsheets and physical paper to the cloud. After raising $17M in 2015 at a whopping $77M valuation you’d think they’d end-up owning, but that didn’t happen and they stuck with

A competitor has a confusingly similar site up on


Doesn’t this looks like a company that helps with equity management for startups? Sure it does, the freaking tagline at the top calls them the “leading Equity Management and Marketplace for Technology companies.”

Now here’s what the real eShares website looks like:


Yikes! Talk about a confusing situation. That being said, I love eShares (the version) and they are doing amazing stuff so I don’t mean to slam them in any way with this post. eShares (the version) is doing amazing things for startups and it has made my life as a founder a lot easier, and yes, I recommend them to every founder I know and invest in.

Of course every time I recommend eShares it comes with a disclaimer – don’t go to, instead make sure to go to, that’s the eShares I’m talking about. Which makes it sounds a little sketchy so then I mention the $17M raise and the $77M valuation and that usually re-builds the confidence, but without their exact-match domain I need to give this additional information to make it sound like I’m truly recommending the market leader.

Will eShares continue to kick ass and take names without their exact-match domain? Sure, they clearly have been super successful without it, but it would be a lie to say that not having isn’t hurting them because it certainly isn’t helping…

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Patricia Kaehler January 4, 2017, 6:24 pm

    Be nice to see (SEE) the owners behind each:

    and what else they own…

    ~Patricia Kaehler — Ohioo USA — DomainBELL

  • Juan Colome January 4, 2017, 6:43 pm

    Interesting :-

  • John January 4, 2017, 7:13 pm

    Morgan great post. We own ( “gegu” is “shares in a public company” in chinese). In other words we own “eShares”.com in chinese. We have a small hedge fund and were going to develop it and have decided not to but even this name is less confusing than adding “inc”. We’re confident a fund will buy it one day. This post shows two things 1) names can be confusing 2) you DON”T need the matching name to do great things but it does ease the path. Best of luck with this investment and Happy New Year!

  • Joseph Peterson January 4, 2017, 9:38 pm

    Some companies succeed while cutting corners, and they draw the false conclusion that shortcuts make no difference. Of course, they’ll waste energy and money in the process. But such friction is neither anticipated nor measured. And what we don’t measure probably doesn’t exist, right?

    An inferior domain name is like a shopping cart with a broken wheel. Yes, you can push it. Yes, you can get from A to B. You’ll work harder than necessary to achieve results and maintain success. But there’s nothing that can’t be done with a crappy domain. As long as you throw more money at marketing and work longer hours, just about any self-imposed handicap is can be overcome.

  • Michael January 4, 2017, 11:47 pm

    It looks like something they do want mayby the is just asking for too much money or something?

    • Logan January 5, 2017, 10:08 am

      “It looks like something they do want mayby the is just asking for too much money or something?”

      No, the owner of is not ‘asking too much money’ for it — the owner simply values his or her domain name more highly than the owners of do at this time. Cash talks. At some point, the owner of will value a compelling cash offer more than he or she values the domain name. It just takes a buyer who values owning the domain name more than holding onto the cash inherent to the offer.

      • John January 5, 2017, 10:38 am won’t be selling anytime soon other than in a takeover.

  • Tauseef January 4, 2017, 11:54 pm

    Good post. We’ve seen such domain name scenarios lot of times and owners are less concerned. And, nicely commented by @Joseph Peterson “An inferior domain name is like a shopping cart with a broken wheel”

  • John January 5, 2017, 8:20 am

    I know the “true domainers” don’t want to hear this but what this post really proves, as i’ve stated above, is that you simply don’t need a matching domain name to be exceptionally profitable proves that theory just as was a billion dollar company well before upgrading to a shorter name they paid $3 million for and here’s why – it saves them $20 million a year via the bypassing of Google payments. That’s why China likes “short” domains.

  • Michael January 5, 2017, 4:58 pm

    is for sale or not

    plus look at the old screen shots of it, its been a few different business.

  • Joe February 21, 2018, 12:26 pm

    esharesinc rebranded to Carta, Inc. The owner of was unwilling to settle at a fair amount.


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