Wine/Wines dot com – Whose Domain Name Will Reign Supreme?
on 07/06/11 at 11:00 amBoozeBlog
In the way that some folks wish they could time-travel back to 1899 and snap up a Picasso, I harbor dreams of pointing my DeLorean’s Flux-Capacitor squarely at the mid-1990s so I could buy the domain rights for “coke.com”
Recently, at South-by-Southwest I met Adi Pavlovic, Director of Sales for the websites www.personalwine.com, but most importantly: www.wines.com. The only thing I covet more is Show.biz. Well, okay –maybe Nude.com
Pavlovic was kind enough to be tortured with some questions about domain dominance.
BN: How awesome is it to own the domain rights to wines.com?
AP: Very expensive. Got the domain about two years ago. Wines.com is one of the oldest wines forums on the internet. Second oldest. In the early 90s, when forums were hot, this was the community to discuss wines, high-end culture of it. Our CEO [Alex Andrawes] started Personal Wine, straight out of college, he started soaking wine bottles in his bath club, designing his own labels – it’s now No. 1 in the industry. About two year ago, he bought the [wines.com] domain. Initial idea was to get it and open up a retail site.
BN: How annoyed are you at the similar-sounding wine.com.?
AP: Not at all. People call us by mistake. They are one merchant, anyway. Wines.com has turned into a portal. A merchant can upload on our site. We’re an aggregator. Mom and Pop shops. They put their inventory on our site.
BN: Whereas Wine.com controls inventory?
AP: They are just one store. We’re more like a mall, we have a bunch of stores. People can find any wine and then compare prices. Then read reviews. User-generated reviews. Everyone does it differently. Every 20 reviews we get from a user, we give a bottle of wine. We are working on getting food-to-wine-pairing technology on our site. We give power back to the consumer. We are your one stop, Wine Shop Stop.
BN: So, for the user-generated content — the Yelp model?
AP: Yelp, that’s exactly what it is.
BN: Since you are the plural of wine, do you believe in plural marriage?
AP: No. Guess not.
BN: Would you ever negotiate with wine.com to end this senseless war, or is this basically an India/Pakistan situation.
AP: No, we would love to end it. I’m not sure how many wines.com inquiries they get. I’m sure they get calls asking for wines they don’t have. We get a lot of calls saying where’s my shipment? Anything we could do to minimize the confusion, we would love to.
AP: That is an issue. We do own a lot of different domains. 12 bucks when you get a good idea for a domain. We are really just trying to nail the wines.com brand. It’s young. We’re really worried about our brand, we want it to be an everyday term.
BN: Is www.personalwines.com the cash cow?
AP: It is the same CEO, different investor group. Sure, it does pay the rent, pays the electricity. It grows every year in revenue. Then come Christmas time, it’s ridiculous.
BN: How do you guys get featured on the Today show?
AP: Been on a couple different big media outlets.
BN: Did you pitch them (Today)?
AP: Someone was talking to a VP at the time, they connected us. We’ve been in Maxim and Playboy. We’ll almost always get a story in a big media outlet around Christmas time.
BN: Once more, how do you view yourself as different from wine.com???
AP: Wine.com is the one store. They can only offer the inventory they have. That’s all they offer, i.e. this wine at this price. We have more wines. Up to a quarter million wines. We are educating, we are a portal, we help aggregate and direct. We don’t touch any part of the purchase. Gotta move a lotta wine, lotta shipping [for retail to make $ense].
AP: Yeah, that would be a great Romeo and Juliet.