Once upon a time I ran into a group of entrepreneurs who had a business plan based on the simple power of a domain name. I won’t say what that name really was, but let’s pretend it was books.com. In their business plan they touted their ownership of this domain name repeatedly. But they had no real marketing plan, just a domain name.
It was as if it were like Field of Dreams, only slightly modified: “if you have the domain name, they will come.”
No dice. It didn’t work. That was back a few years in the heyday, when everybody who had a decent domain name was sure they’d be rich in short order. And that business, not surprisingly, fizzled.
Although it wasn’t books.com, that name illustrates a point very well. If you’re curious, type books.com into your browser. It redirects to www.barnesandnoble.com. I don’t know the history of the domain books.com, but I think that fact alone makes my point pretty well: Obviously Barnes and Noble, the bookseller, owns books.com today. They don’t redirect Barnes and Noble to books.com; quite the contrary — books.com goes to Barnes and Noble. Do you see what I mean?
Which is a better name for online book selling — amazon.com or books.com? Which one is the giant success?