Case Study: Why Did View Upgrade to View.com for $737,000 When It Did?

Founded in 2007, View set out with a mission to reimagine the simple window. They did just that by creating the smart window that automatically adjusts to the sun to increase access to natural light. 

The company found that the product was popular, and especially so among investors who have backed View to the tune of $1.8 billion at the time of publishing. That makes View a Unicorn; a company that has a valuation north of $1 billion.

From a branding perspective, View is an incredible name for a smart glass company. It immediately conveys an idea of the solution they’re aiming to provide.

View, though, is a generic word and so the exact brand match domain name was obviously taken. Up until October 2018, View did not own View.com. The name was owned and operated by a small DVD company.

View, on the other hand, existed for over a decade on ViewGlass.com. What changed to make the acquisition of View.com necessary?

On the surface, nothing looks to have changed with the seller. Their DVD business doesn’t look to have changed significantly during their time owning View.com, meaning that the changes in circumstance likely came from the smart glass company, View.

By the time October 2018 came around and View finally made the decision to acquire View.com for a reported $737,000, the company had already received $715 million in funding and at the end of View’s 2018 financial year, the company had unaudited revenues of $20,175,000. 

The cost of revenue was a reported $142,645,000, but thanks to View’s hefty funding, the costs incurred had been accounted for. 

Yet, with $715 million in funding and over $20 million in revenue per year, View wasn’t prepared to pay around 1% of their total funding, or around 3% of their annual revenue in order to secure View.com.

View operated ViewGlass.com as a portal for potential corporate clients to discover the View brand and to connect with its sales team. The website, then, is an important touchpoint for the brand. 

 

What Changed?

In mid to late 2018, something changed that meant that acquiring View.com was necessary for View. With View paying $737,000 for View.com, that meant that the acquisition had to have some kind of significant reasoning behind it.

What changed? Firstly, View was just about to disclose news of more funding. In an announcement in November 2018, a month after View’s purchase of View.com, the company announced a $1.1 billion funding round lead by SoftBank Vision Fund. 

Suddenly, rather than paying 1% of the company’s funding for View.com, this meant that View could allocate just 0.067% of the new funding round to the acquisition of View.com. 

Securing the domain name before news of the funding round was important, too. If a company had announced a $1.1 billion funding round, do you think it’s possible that the domain seller may just be inclined to add an extra zero to their asking price?

The timing of the domain acquisition before a $1.1 billion funding round is no coincidence. The excessive funding motivated the company to secure the best domain possible for their brand, but was it the only reason?

In November 2018, again just a month after the acquisition, View released their SmartProtect product, which is a security system linked to the company’s existing window products. 

For the first time then, View was expanding beyond just creating glass windows, and into security systems. The company also started to bring out other products linked to security including “View Net,” a cloud-connected network infrastructure.

In short, ViewGlass.com had become outdated. The company was beginning to evolve beyond just offering windows, and into other connected industries. The ViewGlass.com domain no  longer represented the company fully. 

If anything, it could create confusion. Want to know more about our cloud-connected security system? Visit ViewGlass.com. New consumers may have wondered — why the “glass” keyword?

Acquiring View.com when View did was essential to the company’s growth and I think a $1.1 billion funding round made the decision into a “no brainer.”

About James Iles

James Iles is a domain name industry writer and publisher of JamesNames.com. You can contact me here, or follow me on Twitter @jamesiles.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
2 Comments
Newest
Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Michael Anthony Castello
Michael Anthony Castello
2 months ago

Good analysis. View could also be a great brand for a virtual reality vertical which would have put its valuation future potential in the millions. If the seller was stubborn, it would have played out well very quickly.

rathead
rathead
2 months ago

this is a great name. there was this guy i played word mastermind with and he was ridiculously good at words. he often got the answer in two or three tries. so i thought about things for a while and came up with the word view. took him 26 tries. it broke him. he was never the same after that. for a company with over a billion in funding 750,000 is kinda way cheap but that’s just my opinion. other opinions may differ.