When it comes to domain names, the cream of the crop are known as “category-defining domain names”, a domain name that exactly describes the type of business or subject the site is about. To be sure, having such a domain name is not in itself sufficient for success, but the odds are greatly improved, particularly in a world where direct navigation is becoming more popular.
Epik owns, or is in partnership with, quite a number of such names, some of which have been built out, and some of which are awaiting the right partner to turn the domain name into a category killer.
Epik’s newest entry into our portfolio of category-defining domain names is ETF.com.
Those of you versed in finance are now nodding your heads, while the rest of you are rubbing your eyes. ETF.com? What is that?
Investopedia describes an Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) as “a security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets like an index fund, but trades like a stock on an exchange. ETFs experience price changes throughout the day as they are bought and sold. By owning an ETF, you get the diversification of an index fund as well as the ability to sell short, buy on margin and purchase as little as one share. Another advantage is that the expense ratios for most ETFs are lower than those of the average mutual fund.”
In short, ETFs combine the best aspects of stocks and mutual funds. They’re a dessert topping and a floor wax.
ETFs have become a hugely attractive investment instrument because of their low costs, tax efficiency, and stock-like features, and now make up over 50% of the trading volume on the New York Stock Exchange, truly amazing for something so new and so little understood by most investors.
And that’s where ETF.com comes in. As a comprehensive repository of information about ETFs, it is well positioned to become the go-to site for anyone looking to learn about ETFs in general, as well as the daily results of that day’s trading.
But recall my earlier comment that a great, category defining domain name like ETF.com is not in itself sufficient for success. You need only look at mutualfunds.com and stocks.com, two parked sites that are wasting the value of those domain names. The owners of ETF.com had built the foundation of a strong site, but it wasn’t resolving properly, some of its features were incomplete, and it needed a refreshed design.
And so, enter Epik. We’ve entered into a development partnership in which we will lead the ongoing development of new features as well as an improved design. We’ve only been at it a week, but the results so far are strong.
Over the coming weeks we will be further improving the site’s looks and feel while adding even more compelling new features. Of particular note will be the creation of the ETF.com Advisor Network, a directory of financial institutions and experts who can provide advice on how ETFs might fit into one’s investment portfolio. And for those who prefer to do it themselves, we have implemented the first iteration of the ETF Screener, which allows you to search for ETFs based on a wide variety of characteristics and investment goals.
Our development work on ETF.com is a excellent example of the breadth of Epik’s development capabilities. While the bulk of our efforts revolve around the creation of the technology platforms that power our online stores and directories, we also do custom development when the right name comes along.
We are very excited about the prospects for ETF.com. It is an excellent example of the value (and valuation!) that can be generated when a category-defining domain name is matched up with a custom developed web site, and how development projects such as this can help turn a category-defining domain name into a “category killer” business.
It should also be noted that ETF.com will be available as part of the domain auction being held on September 16th during the Epik Developers Conference. It would make an ideal acquisition for any brokerage or private equity firm.