Hackathon Runner-Up Builds Brand on .IO

There has been a lot of action and excitement over at TechCrunch’s Disrupt show in NYC. While I didn’t get a chance to attend I have been following it through their great coverage. One of the highlights of the show was Hackathon and one things I found exciting about this event was the domain name that the runner-up’s branded around, a .IO name – Dispatch.io.


.IO which is the Indian Ocean’s ccTLD is branding themselves as “the domain powering the next generation of social websites.” Honestly this is the first I’ve heard of .IO so it was interesting for me to see that not only were they being used by real brands, but they themselves, like .CO, .TV, and .ME were marketing themselves to entrepreneurs.

This is a trend we’ve seen growing that is definitely not going-away. In the TechCrunch interview with Dispatch.io they actually pronounced the name “Dispatchio” rather than “Dispatch dot IO” which I thought was interesting, but absolutely makes sense. When I talk about Bit.ly the wildly popular URL-shortner I don’t call it “bit dot ly” I call it “bitly” which is nice and brandable. I took at look to see who owned Dispatchio.com and see that it currently goes to a Go Daddy parked page. I wonder if the Dispatch.io team will acquire the corresponding .COM or stick with their highly-brandable, already famous thanks to TechCrunch, .IO domain.

No matter how you slice it, these alternative TLDs are becoming popular for branding and at the end of the day if you put a great product on the domain the brand can take flight, .COM or not.

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • tvonthefuzz May 22, 2011, 10:56 pm

    .io .fm .am .it .in .ly are all “startup” extensions. Startups generally have very little resources to go out and start with a .com, so any extension or creative domain hack will do. Once, they have a MVP(minimal viable product) they can get angel and eventually VC money, and then buy the .com(if necessary) on their dollar. I am involved in a stealth music startup that uses .fm. It doesnt really matter, unless you get big and then obviously you will be losing a lot of traffic if you don’t acquire the .com . Path.io is an excellent example of this. I love domaining, but getting your money in startups is where its at right now. The valuations are obscene. Look at groupme…they got $10mil after last years hackathon. LAMP development is so inexpensive…get an idea, a “beast” coder, and get that money!

    • Morgan May 23, 2011, 6:44 am

      Great comment @tvonthefuzz – you are absolutely right!

      @Joe, there are lots of great companies running on .in, RedBus.in just got another 6 million in funding last week!

  • Joe May 23, 2011, 12:09 am

    Nice post indeed and yes, it definitely looks like the tendency for new startups is to choose a great brandable domain regardless of the extension. BTW, have you seen any .INs?

  • Shiva September 25, 2011, 6:51 pm

    What? In “DeadPool” (as arrington would say) already?

    http://dispatch.io says

    “Heroku | No such app
    There is no app configured at that hostname.
    Perhaps the app owner has renamed it, or you mistyped the URL.”

    • Morgan September 25, 2011, 9:46 pm

      @Shiva – looks like they renamed it but this was the domain they were using when they won!


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