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Coupons com Incorporated

Would Coupons.com still be Coupons.com if it wasn’t located at coupons.com?

Well, if the company had its way, it could have become just plain Coupons. That’s because typing “.com” at the end of most web addresses you visit will soon be sooo last century. On the internet of the future, you may be able to go straight to tide.coupons for discounts on your favorite laundry detergent, or perhaps coke.coupons, walmart.coupons or print.coupons. But none of them will be run by the company that’s best known for its internet printable coupons.

Coupons.com has dropped out of the bidding for the new domain suffix “.coupons”, three weeks before it was set to go to auction. The winner is a company called Donuts, which already owns well over a hundred top-level domains including .money, .deals, .bargains, .pizza and even .wtf.

wtf? omg!

If it all sounds confusing, it kind of is. We’re accustomed to web addresses ending in .com, .org, .net and so on, which are known as generic top-level domains, or gTLDs. But the group that oversees internet domain names blew things wide open a few years ago, allowing just about any word to be used in place of those familiar extensions.

Companies and organizations worldwide are currently bidding for the rights to own and operate their very own gTLDs. Coupons.com applied for .coupons back in 2012, proposing to “offer consumers a safe and intuitive means of accessing authorized content from Coupons.com and its qualified subsidiaries and affiliates.” Users “will know that domains and content on .coupons are owned and controlled by Coupons.com and are thus more likely to be protected from infringing, pirated, or harmful content.”

RevTrax_incentive_report_V2

Ultimately, Coupons.com envisioned “the permanent migration of internet traffic away from the TLDs in which Coupons.com’s domain names are currently registered, and toward the .coupons gTLD” – which meant that Coupons.com eventually wouldn’t actually be at coupons.com anymore.

And the company already had to pay millions for that privilege.

What is now Coupons.com was founded back in 1998, operating under the less-than-memorable names ValuePass.com and StoreCoupon.com. That’s because someone else already owned the web address coupons.com. Recognizing the value of the easy-to-remember name, the company persuaded coupons.com’s owners to sell it in 2000 for a reported $2.2 million, making it one of the most expensive domain name purchases up to that time. The company then promptly renamed itself Coupons.com.

“The coupons.com domain name is one of the most valuable assets in the e-commerce industry,” CEO Steven Boal said at the time. “Our new Coupons.com name makes it easy for shoppers to find us.”

15 years later, the company presumably hoped owning the .coupons domain would have the same effect. Instead, Donuts scooped it up and plans to sell rights to a .coupons extension to anyone who wants to register a website.

And just in case Coupons.com was considering it as a backup, Amazon has already bought .coupon.

In the end, will losing .coupons really matter to Coupons.com? It’s hard to say. Today, we’re trained to think of websites in terms of .com, .org and the like. So if you’re looking for coupons online, going to coupons.com just makes sense. But future internet users might not think that way. So if Donuts’ .coupons catches on, Coupons.com may fall from its perch as the go-to site for internet printable coupons.

But here’s a thought: .donuts is still available. So if Donuts wants to get in on the coupon game, maybe Coupons.com can get into donuts. Not a bad fallback plan if that printable coupon thing doesn’t work out.

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