Purple is one of the new brands redefining the way that mattresses are purchased. As I pointed out in my article on DND.com entitled “How Brands Can Learn from Mattress Companies,” the 2010s brought about a whole host of companies that started to sell mattresses online.
This was largely thanks to the memory foam mattress technology that allowed a new wave of startups to offer bed-in-a-box products.
The style of brand names changed among these new startups, too. The likes of Mattress Firm gave way to new, “cool” brands such as Casper, Lull, and Purple. All three of which own their exact match dot-com domains, Casper.com, Lull.com, and Purple.com respectively.
Here, I’m going to concentrate on Purple, and why they paid $900,000 for Purple.com when they did.
The company was founded in 2015 and caught early success thanks to a popular Kickstarter campaign that raised $171,560, far more than its original $25,000 target. This early interest sparked momentum for the company, which they capitalized on in the form of viral videos.
The Raw Egg Test, for example, launched in April 2016 as a way for Purple to demonstrate the comfort of its mattresses. The video has been watched more than 188 million times to date, and it also initiated a swell of videos of customers performing their own raw egg test on their own Purple mattress.
The Raw Egg Test video, though, prompts watchers to navigate to OnPurple.com, Purple’s domain of choice at the time.
For Purple, the development of its product was far more important than plowing money into a domain name. The company was also getting attention for its viral videos, so marketing dollars went into the production of those. By 2019, Purple’s brand ads had received over 1.5 billion views. A successful marketing campaign, then.
OnPurple.com performed well for the company and did exactly what Purple needed, which was to provide an outlet online where customers could easily buy a Purple mattress or find out more about the brand.
In 2017, though, Purple acquired Purple.com for $900,000. What changed?
By the end of Q3 of 2017, Purple was certainly on the up, having achieved $56 million in revenue in that quarter alone, up from $30 million in Q1 of 2017. Purple’s website was the main point of contact for its consumers, and perhaps it was time for an upgrade.
Along with the success of $56 million in revenue, Purple announced that it was to become the first publicly traded mattress company after merging with a publicly traded shell company at a valuation of $1.1 billion.
We’ve seen that when companies hit the $1 billion valuation, or when a company gets listed on the NASDAQ. Grab upgraded from Grab.co to Grab.com, View upgraded from ViewGlass.com to View.com, Hippo upgraded from MyHippo.com to Hippo.com.
At a certain point, it can become damaging for brands not to control their exact match .COM domain. For the sake of $900,000, would a company with a $1.1 billion valuation risk allowing its exact match .COM domain to be sold to another company looking to brand around the name?Purple mattresses are now stocked in stores across the U.S., but Purple’s website remains the go-to for most Purple customers. As of writing, Purple.com’s Alexa ranking is around 15,000, and Purple.com’s SimilarWeb statistics show that around 36% of the 3.6 million monthly visitors to Purple.com are from direct, type-in traffic. When the website is such an important part of a company’s ability to operate, it’s crucial for that company to own its exact brand match .COM.