Valuation: $250 billion (mid-2015)
Original Domain: thefacebook.com
Preferred Domain Name: Facebook.com
Mark Zuckerberg reportedly named his now-popular social media platform after the booklet containing basic information about the students and faculty at Harvard University, known as the “face book”, which were distributed to freshmen. He was then a Harvard student when he launched “The Facebook”, as he initially called it. Such was its success that his platform rapidly expanded to other universities and colleges, first in Boston and then in the rest of the United States. In August 2005, he bought facebook.com for $200,000 followed by dropping “the” from his company’s name and its URL. The $200,000 wasn’t exactly small change for a year-old company but it was a necessary expense, as was the case when Facebook bought FB.com for $8.5 million a decade later.
Facebook wasn’t a novel and unique concept on its launch, too. Friendster and MySpace were already in existence but Zuckerberg possessed the capabilities to make it grow into the world’s most successful social platform today. Of course, he could have named it anything he wanted with the same success but in branding history, one-word brands are usually the most successful. When your company name becomes synonymous with your product or service, you have caused a shift in society, as was the case with Google and Amazon. Zuckerberg being the visionary that he is, he has also streamlined both his company’s name as well as its brand and domain name thereby pushing Facebook on its meteoric rise. Plus, his aggressive branding strategy contributed to cost savings in acquiring his coveted domain name.
When a company drops “the” from its domain name, it becomes a market authority. You, after all, don’t want to be known as just another company in a sea of companies.
Just imagine the difference in our contemporary society had the world-famous brands used “the” in their names, such as thecocacola.com, thetwitter.com, or thefedex.com.
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