How much is a good website domain name worth these days? An insider from Qihoo 360 confirmed that the company has invested USD17 million, which is about CNY110 million, to acquire the top-level domain 360.com.
This top-level domain was previously owned by telecom carrier Vodafone.
At present, the domain has directed to Qihoo 360's search engine site Haosou.com. At the same time, the owner information of domain record has been updated to Beijing Qihoo Technology Company Limited.
Qihoo 360's domain acquisition price reportedly sets a new record for domain transactions, making 360.com the most expensive publicly-priced domain in the world. Prior to this, Sex.com held the first position. This domain was acquired by Clover Holdings Ltd from an adult entertainment company named Escom LLC for USD13 million in 2008.
The insider from Qihoo 360 said that the lack of an international top-level domain was a major brand risk for the company. The domain acquisition will help Qihoo 360 improve its international brand image and eliminate the brand risk. In 2015, Qihoo 360 will enhance expansion in overseas markets and this new top-level domain will become a big advantage.
The security software and mobile services company previously relied on the domain 360.cn, but now it will focus on solely using the new 360.com domain name.
Dropping the .cn domain name is important for international expansion because many email providers will block email coming from .cn domains; search engines pigeonhole .cn domains as only focusing on Chinese users; and many international users are unaware of the .cn extension and will attempt instead to always visit the .com address.