In 2017, Joseph Woodbury co-founded Neighbor to introduce a unique concept into the world, peer to peer storage. By connecting hosts with unused storage space and renters in need of an affordable storage solution, Neighbor began gaining traction.
By March 2018, the company had raised $4.1 million in seed funding and opted to move from the wordy StoreWithNeighbor.com to the succinct Neighbor.com domain name. Here, we talk with Joseph about his acquisition of Neighbor.com, and how the acquisition has eliminated traffic and identity problems that existed before the purchase.
What is Neighbor, and how did you come up with the concept?
Neighbor.com is disrupting the $400 billion self-storage industry by empowering communities to share their space with each other. Preston Alder (Neighbor's CMO) came up with the idea for Neighbor after he needed a storage unit. He was so disappointed with his experience with traditional self-storage that he stored his items in a friend's garage instead. The rest is history.
Why Neighbor? Where did the brand name come from, and were there any other contenders?
The name comes from the fact that users on Neighbor.com store their items with their neighbors. We've always wanted to place the focus on the people that make up our community rather than the services.
People naturally trust their neighbors; they strive to be good neighbors to each other. We want to encourage our users to create that kind of community.
How did you first go about finding out that Neighbor.com was available to buy? Was it a case of contacting the owner, or was the domain offered to you?
We believe in the strength of our brand, so we proactively reached out to the owner in order to solidify our brand with the domain.
Were there any problems, issues or pitfalls that arose from using your original name, StoreWithNeighbor.com?
Even though we originally had a different URL, our company has always been called "Neighbor". This meant that people would naturally type in Neighbor.com assuming we owned the domain. All of that direct traffic was lost. Making the switch eliminated that problem.
How long did it take (from initial inquiry to receiving the domain) to acquire Neighbor.com? Was it a simple process?
The process required discipline, including walking away from a deal and waiting until the next year in order to indicate that we wouldn't pay a premium for the domain. But the prior owner was reasonable, and we enjoyed working with them.
Your purchase price for Neighbor.com cannot be revealed, but how did you justify paying a premium for the name? Did you use any data to help your valuation?
Yes, we spent over a year analyzing the value and the appropriate acquisition cost for the domain. I don't believe we paid a premium.
You've owned Neighbor.com around a year now. How has owning the domain impacted your brand within that year?
We've built a brand of trust and a reputation for an excellent product and service. All of this is encompassed in our core value to "be neighborly". This brand helps new visitors instantly fall in love and feel comfortable using our product.
We now capture 100% of direct traffic. The domain has also allowed us to more confidently put resources behind SEO. And there is certainly a higher degree of user trust. Each of these and more factors compound to increase traffic and decrease acquisition costs.
What would your advice be to other startups that may be looking to acquire a premium domain name?
I'd recommend reading this article: Your Company Name Matters... a Lot