At TechCrunch we’ve been big fans of Dropbox for a long time now — the company launched at 2008′s TechCrunch50, we use the service to share images and documents on a daily basis, and we’re even impressed by the demo video they put together to help explain what the service does to newcomers. But there’s one thing we haven’t liked: Dropbox has been using the domain GetDropbox.com for years. Granted, it’s not a difficult URL to remember, but we’ve sometimes accidentally visited (and even occasionally linked) back to Dropbox.com. Now it looks like that is no longer an issue, as Dropbox has apparently acquired Dropbox.com. Right now the URL redirects to GetDropbox.com, but I’ll be surprised if the site isn’t ported over shortly.
It’s hard to gauge just how important a good domain name is to a startup’s success — after all, we’ve seen plenty of companies with meaningless names do very well for themselves. But there’s a difference between a name that’s gibberish and one that’s very easy to confuse with something else, which is a test that Dropbox failed with its GetDropbox domain. As the service has grown, so too has the amount of traffic heading to Dropbox.com, which has just featured a placeholder page full of ads. According to Compete, Dropbox.com had nearly 60,000 unique visitors last month. It’s impossible to know how many of them eventually made it to the correct domain, but there’s no doubt Dropbox has been losing out on plenty of traffic and customers. This is a big win for the startup.
Dropbox declined to comment on this story, but Justia has very recent records of a trademark dispute between Evenflow (Dropbox’s parent company) and Domains by Proxy, Inc., which was apparently operating the old domain. And it’s highly unlikely that the redirect is an accident. Update: You can see a copy of Dropbox’s complaint below. Domains By Proxy handed control over the domain back to the individual who was squatting it after Dropbox began to take legal action. The defendant had apparently begun to serve not just ads, but ads for Dropbox competitors on the page.