Back in May, I shared the news that Orchard had acquired the exact-match Orchard.com domain earlier in the year, upgrading from OrchardHomes.com. On the surface, that looks like a straight forward domain upgrade that we’ve seen many times before.
However, as we scratch away the surface, there’s a more complex story that unfolds. Orchard originally started life as Perch, operating on the PerchHomes.co domain name until June 2018 when the company looks to have started using Perch.com. The company thrived, raising $250 million in funding between 2018 and the end of 2019.
Unsatisfied by the thought of continuing as Perch, the company’s founders decided to pivot to the brand name “Orchard”, and rebranded without owning Orchard.com, a name that they secured a couple of months later.
With Perch now Orchard, and the company using Orchard.com, you may be asking – what is the fate of Perch.com? The name has been redirecting to Orchard.com, but we may be about to find out its long term fate.
According to WHOIS history, the Perch.com domain may have been acquired on a payment plan. Just before Orchard (then Perch) started to use Perch.com, the name transferred to an Escrow.com holding account:
The use of an Escrow.com holding account is often (but not exclusively) associated with domains that have been sold on a payment plan, whereby Escrow.com maintains ownership of the domain whilst payments are being made for the domain. The domain quickly went into WHOIS privacy protection, where it has been up until this week.
Yesterday (July 8th), WHOIS history shows that Perch.com was again listed as being in Escrow.com’s holding account, but it was also pending a transfer:
This movement was spotted by Jamie Zoch on Twitter. Given the evidence, Perch.com was likely acquired under a payment plan using Escrow.com, and when Perch rebranded to Orchard, the company likely decided that owning Perch.com was no longer of interest in the long term, especially considering the fact that they acquired another premium name, Orchard.com.
This is speculation, but I’d expect to see Perch.com now transferred back to its original owner, and it may well be on the market again soon.
If that is the case, there may be plenty of potential buyers for the domain. Crunchbase lists at least sixteen different companies using Perch as a brand name.
Update, 14th July 2020: Perch.com is no longer associated with Orchard, and it looks like control has reverted to the original owner. The domain now holds a parked page.