CSN Stores (now known as Wayfair) is a company that knows quite a bit about descriptive domain names. The company runs a number of businesses on domain names like Bedrooms.com, BedroomFurniture.com, Luggage.com, Upholstery.com, Strollers.com, and many others. One issue the company has as a result of using so many domain names is that there is no main brand recognition. Consumers may have done business with more than one related website, but they probably wouldn’t know.
According to a recent article in Inc. Magazine and posted on Yahoo Small Business Advisor, the company is pivoting away from operating on many different descriptive domain names and uniting under one brand called Wayfair.
There are some very interesting tidbits in the article, which I think anyone investing in domain names should read. Some bits I found particularly interesting include:
- “The company pulled in sales of more than $500 million in 2011. Its head count is approaching 1,000.“
- “Part of the reason you don’t know about Wayfair is that the company doesn’t quite know itself yet. For the first nine years of its existence, it was known—if it was known at all—as CSN Stores. Rather than one brand, CSN Stores was a collection of more than 200 almost absurdly narrow niche sites, with names such as HotPlates.com and EveryGrandfatherClock.com.”
- “The 200 sites are gone; in their place is Wayfair.com, which Shah and Conine hope to make synonymous with all things home-related. The idea is that Wayfair will be a destination, not a site you stumble upon while searching for a new chaise longue.”
- “This was a big move, perhaps the biggest the company could make. For years, CSN Stores had been intentionally mysterious. Anonymity, after all, has its benefits: There’s no risk of damaging the brand if there isn’t a brand to damage. Even the biggest customer service screwup on one site was unlikely to affect customer loyalty on any of the other sites.“
In June of 2011, I wrote about the company’s $165 million funding round, which had been identified as being for “acquisitions.” At the time, I surmised that the company might look to acquire great descriptive domain names, but I am not sure if that’s really what happened considering the re-branding effort.
The Inc Magazine article is a great read with quite a bit of detailed information about the founding of CSN Stores and how it’s grown, thrived, and adapted, and I think it’s an article well worth reading when you have an opportunity.
Thanks to Steven Kennedy of SK Creations, Inc. for telling me about the article.