I’ve been covering Zillow from its inception, stretching back to 2005 when it was just a seed of an idea. During that time, I almost always referred to the Seattle online real estate company as Zillow.com. (I recall being admonished by company PR reps on occasion for dropping the dot com in some of my earlier reports).
So, you can imagine my surprise in recent press releases and the company’s initial public offering filing when the company referred to itself as Zillow Inc. or just Zillow. Curious, I asked what happened to the dot-com portion of the name.
A spokesperson tells me that they formally dropped the dot com earlier this year. Why?
Well, Zillow now sees itself as a “multiplatform company” with significant traffic coming from mobile applications. (As much as 30 percent on some weekends).
In a mobile world, does the dot-com moniker even matter?
Interestingly, Expedia — once led by Zillow executives — also has largely dropped the dot-com from its name. (Remember those ads, Expedia DOT COM?)
Amazon.com remains a hold out, and we often struggle here on whether to include the dot-com portion of the name in headlines. But I wonder if the online retailer eventually will follow suit as mobile becomes a more important part of its offerings. (See: “Jeff Bezos explains why Amazon.com is so big on tablets”)
I was curious about the trend — so I asked Seattle linguistics expert Christopher Johnson (aka The Name Inspector) what he thought about it. In his view, the dot com is simply “getting dated.”
“Any important company has a Web presence now, so it’s not really a point of differentiation, and the mobile presence is becoming just as important,” Johnson said. “Some companies include the dot com in order to try to trademark a generic term that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to, but that’s clearly not an issue for Zillow. So to me this seems like a good move on Zillow’s part.”
And, just for the record, we did consider branding GeekWire with the dot com appendage. But, at the end of the day, stuck with straight up GeekWire.
Interestingly, here’s Zillow (wow, had to stop myself from the adding the dot com there) CEO Spencer Rascoff talking about the shift to mobile and why they dumped the dot com. He said the decision may sound trivial, but with so much brand equity built in it over the years it has been a transition.