Exclusive content for subscribers has become something that several major platforms have started to offer to content providers as an extra revenue stream. Twitch, YouTube, and Patreon all give the ability to provide subscriber-exclusive content, but what if you can offer exclusive content on its own standalone platform?
Robin Weesie, an experienced Dutch entrepreneur, has used the idea of exclusive content to create a platform, aptly named Exclusive. Weesie was able to also acquire the Exclusive.com domain name prior to launch.
In this edition of On the Record, I chat with Robin Weesie about his Exclusive.com platform and how the right domain name has made the platform's launch much easier. This interview was conducted just before Exclusive's platform launch.
Can you tell me about Exclusive.com, and what the service offers?
I founded Recharge.com a couple of years ago (now $500 million annual revenue and active in over 140 countries). I wanted to use my expertise to build a worldwide platform to help creators to earn serious money with their content.
There are many large influencers, artists, and YouTube stars (we call them all creators) with millions of followers. They are all using large social media platforms, but none of them really focus on a sustainable online revenue model.
Exclusive.com gives creators the opportunity to generate recurring income with their content. Think about early access, exclusive content, and digital services.
Building a high-end platform costs millions and is not profitable for just a single artist. Having worldwide pay methods, data warehouse, marketing systems, customer care, fraud systems, optimized flows per country, etc. needs expertise, which is where Exclusive.com helps.
Why did you decide to create Exclusive.com
We created Exclusive.com to offer creators the possibility to generate recurring income with their content.
Their followers are interested in their content and we want to offer those followers the opportunity to pay a small amount and get access to higher quality content, early access, and exclusive content from their favorite creators.
With this platform, the creators are able to generate income and the users are able to see higher quality content from their favorite creators. For both parties a win-win situation.
How did you ultimately decide to name your new startup "Exclusive?" Were there any other considerations for a name?
We looked at the content market and how most people call content behind payment walls like Amazon or Netflix. A couple of terms like Prime, Exclusive, Premium etc. are used for this. Because we not only offer access to content that is only available after a payment wall but for example also early access for free content (first on our platform and later on free platforms) the word Exclusive was a perfect match. Exclusive content, access, services etc... This was my first choice and it was for sale so I bought it.
How important was acquiring the Exclusive.com domain for this business?
I believe premium domains are an easier way to build a brand. Of course, you can also get a cheaper name that's not an exact match but the problem is do people remember it afterwards?
I believe, especially at the beginning, an exact-match word telling what you are offering helps to build a regular customer base. With Exclusive, the word describes exactly what we are offering so this choice was easy for us.
It also gives more trust and confidence to customers because they see a premium domain and everybody knows those domains are not cheap. The company behind it must be serious.
How did you acquire Exclusive.com? Is it a name that was offered to you, or did you seek it out?
The domain was for sale so I just contacted the company that was offering the domain. It took a couple of weeks to come to a deal.
It's publicly listed that you paid $350,000 for Exclusive.com. How did you determine the value of Exclusive.com & your ultimate purchase price, to your company when you were considering acquiring the domain?
It's always hard to determine the value of a domain. Compared to many other deals, this price was really good. Exclusive.com is a triple-A domain and also matching with our "Exclusive" business name. I think the valuation of this domain is way higher than what I paid for it.
What are the benefits of launching a company on an ultra-premium domain such as Exclusive.com?
It gives more trust and confidence to customers because they see a premium domain and everybody knows those domains are not cheap. So, the company behind it must be serious. Besides this, Google still likes exact match domains and gives them a better rank. I think this is also because people are more likely to click on an ultra-premium domain.
So far, it looks like you've signed up an impressive array of content creators. Do you think Exclusive.com domain name makes it easier to secure partnerships with top content creators?
I think we show the creators that with an ultra-premium domain, we are serious. We invested a lot in the domain, it's a perfect match with what they can offer on the platform and this helps to show them we are not a small startup with a shabby name.
I already have a big company that is really successful on another premium domain, Recharge.com, which also helps them to show that we know what we are doing.
How will the Exclusive.com domain name fit into your business strategy once you launch? How important will the domain name be to the business model?
We will offer every creator their own Exclusive.com page, so the domain is really important. Besides this, we offer the users a customer-centric website. This means we are promoting creators on the platform, on the homepage, and in categories. You can see it like Amazon for digital content. This means the domain is really important for us and will be used very actively.
Your other company uses Recharge.com. Why is a premium .COM domain so attractive for an entrepreneur?
I think a good domain is the same as a good retail location. There is more traffic, easy to remember, and because domains are so expensive, the company behind them must be professional. A premium domain gives trust and confidence to customers but also to suppliers. With a triple-A location or domain, everybody can see you are a serious company.
What's your advice for any entrepreneur thinking of buying a premium .COM domain to build a brand on it?
I would advise you to invest in a premium domain when it really fits your business. If the domain already tells what you are selling it will definitely help you with your branding.
Thanks to Robin for taking part in On the Record! To find out more about Exclusive, visit Exclusive.com.
Responses have been edited for clarity.