For large multinational corporations, launching a new brand is typically a well-planned process. One in which brand and marketing teams work with legal to clear brands, register trademarks and acquire domains.
For many of these large corporations owning an exact-match domain is a requirement. In fact, it can drive branding strategy when a desired domain name is already in-use and cannot be acquired. In these cases, corporations are forced to consider a second or third choice when selecting a new brand, so that they are able to leverage an exact-match domain.
So when Elon Musk’s Twitter announced their rebrand to X with X.com now forwarding to Twitter.com (likely an interim step) – it really should not have been a surprise to anyone. Elon Musk acquired the domain name X.com in 2017 from PayPal, and the name had previously been used by the online bank he had co-founded in 1999.
Arguably X.com is one of the world’s most valuable domain names, as it’s one of just three single character .com domains – the other two being Q.com and Z.com.
Unsurprisingly, a quick search of the USPTO reveals that there are hundreds of other X trademarks in existence.
But unlike trademarks, where the same mark can co-exist across different classes – there can only be one exact-match .com domain name.
And although there are some who might suggest otherwise, .com domains are king. They are still the gold standard and convey a sense of legitimacy and stability – especially in the US where country-code top level domain names are not widely used.
It will be interesting to watch the transition of Twitter.com to X.com, as currently X.com is only redirecting to Twitter.com. I assume that in the coming days or weeks, that X.com will resolve to live content and that Twitter.com will redirect to X.com.