Valuation: $250 million+
Original Domain: playfoursquare.com
Preferred Domain Name: foursquare.com
In 2005, Dennis Crowley sold his company, Dodgeball, to Google but left it in 2007 to create Foursquare, which was basically the next-generation location-based social network similar to Dodgeball, in 2009. He has stated that he always wanted to use “Foursquare” but the foursquare.com domain wasn’t available at the time so he settled for Dodgeball.
When he started afresh, he chose playfoursquare.com just to start his operations. Foursquare started out as a mobile gaming app associated with location-based services, thus, the “play” in its domain name made sense. The acquisition of foursquare.com for its domain name became a top priority after the company’s first round of funding. In 2014, Foursquare spun off its game operations into Swarm, a separate app with a for-sale domain now, so that it became more of a customized local search company and less of a gaming company.
The users of Foursquare don’t pay fees for its services so the company finds other ways to monetize its services, especially in leveraging its knowledge about visits and locations. In fact, the likes of Twitter (i.e., geo-tag tweets) use the Foursquare API in their platforms, products and services so its deep data isn’t just child’s play.
When “play” was removed from its original domain name, Foursquare began showing its target users that it meant serious business regardless of their initial start, no matter how briefly, as a gaming company. The company then let its original domain name expire in March 2010.
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