Oscar Health Should Buy Oscar.com

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According to a news report on CNBC, a health insurance company called Oscar Health raised a $165 million round of funding from the likes of Alphabet, Founders Fund, and other firms. The company is now reportedly valued at $3.2 billion with over $725 million in total funding (per Crunchbase).

Unfortunately for Oscar, the company uses the less than ideal HiOscar.com domain name for its website. This isn’t great for a major health insurance company like this because of the potential for confusion. Yes, I think it is better than an alternative extension, but HiOscar.com could certainly be confusing to customers and prospects. Imagine being a customer and getting an email with a link to HiOscar.com. I think it could raise more red flags than the exact brand match Oscar.com domain name would raise.

So who owns the Oscar.com domain name? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences owns the domain name. The organization uses it for it’s Oscar Awards, more commonly known as the Oscars. Oscar.com forwards to the Oscars landing page, Oscar.go.com. As you can see, this is a subdomain of the ABC / Disney Go.com website. The Academy also owns the better version for its Awards, Oscars.com, which forwards to the same website. Fortunately, there likely wouldn’t be confusion for Oscar Health customers who accidentally type-in Oscar.com, but I think the exact match .com domain name appears more trustworthy.

If I were advising Oscar, I would urge them to enter a negotiation with The Academy to try to buy the Oscar.com domain name. I would leverage the fact that The Academy also owns Oscars.com so they have little to lose if they were to sell Oscar.com. I would suggest a strong offer to open the discussion. I might even suggest offering a bit of equity in the growing startup to give The Academy some upside. If Oscar succeeds and is acquired or goes public at a much higher valuation, The Academy will earn more money. I might also suggest a mechanism for The Academy to retrieve the Oscar.com domain name if the business fails or if an acquirer kills the Oscar branding.

From my vantage point, I think Oscar has much more to lose than The Academy by not owning Oscar.com. With their huge round of funding, I think they should buy the authoritative Oscar.com domain name. Of course, it is easy for me to spend someone else’s money, but I think it would be a shrewd move.

11 COMMENTS

  1. This is one of the stupidest articles, I have ever read, if you know anything about the history of THE OSCARS why on earth would they sell this domain?

    • Because they own Oscars.com already so not a huge loss, are only using the domain name for forwarding, they could make a big chunk of change, and they could have upside if they would get some equity.

  2. I was considering a similar article this morning and one interesting bit.. OscarHealth(.)com was acquired by a MarkMonitor client at the start of 2018 (looks like February). It could be an investor, but that isn’t likely as the domain would likely redirect to HiOscar or they would use OscarHealth(.)com instead of HiOscar(.)com. What is actually more likely (more fun really)? One of the big insurance companies bought it, just to mess with them 🙂

  3. If you were advising the Academy of Motion Pictures would you tell them to sell it? Give up the domain name of their most iconic award – The Oscar
    For what – $1mm , $10mm ? What does the money do for them ?

    Have to say this is a terrible idea and you usually are on point with advice , this one may have missed the mark

    • This was advice for Oscar, which I understand just raised a boatload of capital and is seemingly growing.

      I don’t know anything about the Academy, beyond the fact that it has two very good domain names it uses as forwarders.

  4. Won’t be pretty but I think they should rebrand.
    The academy will never sell any of their prime domains, even if I have to agree, that Oscars.com makes more sense to them than Oscar.com.. Anyway it won’t happen so they should consider a rebrand.

  5. Interesting story here. This was started by Josh and Jared Kushner who have a VC called Thrive. Peter Thiel is also involved. It was created before Trump was running to solve the Obamacare mess on the assumption Hillary would be President. I think they saw Healthcare.gov as a bloated mess that could be replaced with this platform and thus the name wouldn’t matter. They are doing some innovative programs with Cleveland Clinic and setting up group rates so average jose and freelancers like us could be part of group insurance like corporate employees get. I believe their end game is acquisition so the name won’t matter. Amazon for example is getting into this business and recently Walgreens merger with an insurance company shows a new model that could use this technology. Think Quidsi who exits to amazon and wal-mart. Truthfully buying Heathcare.com from our friends that own it just for the name would be smart before selling out. Quidsi edge was their brands.

  6. Why do these companies brand their company before acquiring the dot-Com domain in 2018? How can they be that naïve at this point?

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