Generic vs. Brandable, Personal October 12th, 2007
What? Does Fiestas.com have a real-world storefront where you can buy party supplies?
Actually, no. This is a small store in a strip mall on a busy street in Panama City, Panama. They do not own the Fiestas.com domain name, they just use it as the name of their store.
Here are a few more photos:
The little mall is on the Tumba Muerta (“tomb of the dead”), a busy, traffic and smog-choked thoroughfare in Panama City. When I lived in the city I used to wait at this bus stop three times a week to catch a bus going to my martial arts class one hour away. The buses, called “diablos rojos” (red devils) cost 25 cents. They are converted American school buses painted red and with creative artwork all over them, and often flashing neon signs, flags and tassels as well. They are not air conditioned and are usually packed from wall to wall. Many people cover their mouths with rags to filter the billowing smog from other buses and trucks. Other people, tired after a long day at work, lay their heads against the window or on the seat bar and sleep, incredibly.
Anyway, I’ve seen this Fiestas.com sign a thousand times but only after I got into domaining did it occur to me that this sign is anecdotal evidence of the power of the dot com extension as its own brand. Any business with “dot com” at the end of its name is perceived as highly professional, cutting edge, “with it.” So what if you don’t really have a website? By adding dot com to the end of your name you soak up a little of the cachet of big sites that everyone knows, like Google.com, Amazon.com, or Yahoo.com.
In other words, “dot com” has become its own brand; an indicator of quality, reliability and professionalism.