Oscar raises $145M but they will never own Oscar.com and that’s okay

Oscar Health Insurance

We are living in a new world, a world where owning an exact-match .COM, while still incredibly relevant and valuable, is no longer a “must-have” for successful companies. From wildly successful startups like Vine (Vine.co) and About.me, to new ventures like Intercom.io (raised $30.8M so far) and Coffee.club, it is clear that innovation no has to end with a .COM.

Yesterday health insurance startup Oscar announced a monster round of funding, $145M at a valuation of $1.5B. When I first heard the news, out of habit (and a habit that many people still have) I went to Oscar.com, where I found the official website for the Oscars. Next I checked the .CO, the .ME, and the .IO…nothing. So I went to Google and searched for Oscar health insurance, and that’s where I found the home of the latest billion dollar startup at HiOscar.com.

Even with $145M in funding I don’t think The Oscars is going to give up Oscar.com, which means that Oscar is most-likely going to move from HiOscar.com to Oscar.CO, Oscar.ME, .Oscar.IO or even brand around an entirely new gTLD like Oscar.CLUB, Oscar.HEALTH or Oscar.XYZ.

They could have named the company just about anything and it wouldn’t have impacted the valuation or amount of funding raised because at the end of the day this has everything to do with the people behind the company not the name they pick. What I find interesting is that from a branding standpoint they most-likely knew they’d never get the exact-match .COM but picked Oscar anyways. Why? Because we’re living in a world where there are so many more choices than .COM and I think we’ll soon see Oscar debut on a new TLD, the question is, which one?

What do you think? Is Oscar going to stick with HiOscar.com or will they move to Oscar.something? Comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Tony April 21, 2015, 9:03 am

    Quote” “What I find interesting is that from a branding standpoint they most-likely knew they’d never get the exact-match .COM but picked Oscar anyways. Why? Because we’re living in a world where there are so many more choices than .COM and I think we’ll soon see Oscar debut on a new TLD, the question is, which one?”

    I strongly disagree. 🙂

    They had to pick a name and all one word generic domains are gone, not because there are so many other choices in domain extensions. It would be dumb and foolish of them to pick a new TLD in most cases. New TLDs are already grinding downards as most people let them go since they see no future in them. That’s why they are not getting renewed at a good percentage rate. I’m surprised that you expect them to choose a new TLD.

    If a company overlooks their branding and marketing because they made the wrong decision by not choosing a .com domain, then they are leaking traffic to .com domains. That is incredibly stupid to piss money away down the toilet like that. You should always shoot for the most bang for your dollar.

    I would expect them to more likely change their name to a .com they can actually purchase, not to Oscar.link or Oscar.xyz. Both are poor marketing choices.

    Companies having success on alternative domain extensions are the exception, not the rule. I never have visited any site on an .IO, .ME, or even .CO. Has anyone reading this visited one (caveat: this question does not apply to developers)? I bet that you have not.

    Brand recognition should be 1st and foremost but many of these new companies act stupidly and then have to upgrade to a .com in the future.

    I just sold a .com to a company using a .CO for $16,000. Why did they buy it? Because they made a stupid mistake choosing .CO and they knew it.

    Ignore .COM and it will be at your own peril .
    .

    Reply
    • Morgan April 21, 2015, 12:40 pm

      @Tony – thanks for sharing your opinion here, really appreciate it! Given that Oscar is an app do you think that changes things? Vine.co was one of the most-downloaded apps of all-time and they have yet to get the .COM. I agree that for consumer-facing brands having an exact match .COM makes a huge difference but do you think an app really needs this to succeed?

      Reply

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