The owners of software.com are preparing for a major relaunch of the site in 2010, with an eye on turning the domain into a more efficient portal for buying and selling software.
Domain Partners, an Australian Domain Asset Management company, bought the domain in October last year and are behind the coming changes. Ex-Google employee and Domain Partners Managing Director, Chris Bayley, couldn’t disclose the purchase price but a quick scan of the Internet shows the previous time it sold was in 2005 for $3.2 Million so you’d have to think the price was higher than that.
I asked Bayley if the domain was going to be spun off and if so, if that was part of the usual Domain Partners business model. He explained:
“Software.com is now owned by a separate business imaginatively called Software.com Pty Ltd. The Domain Partners model is flexible with most of our companies being joint ventures. We outsource development or do it in-house. Sometimes we provide the domain and sometimes we get investors together to acquire one, depending on cost and what the investors can contribute. Our investors need to come from the specific industry in question, we need industry expertise more than professional VC’s or beancounters. We always partner with a view to eventually acquiring the domain and company. We always invest in our joint ventures with profits from our parent company Domain Partners Pty Ltd.”
I also asked Bayley what would be changing on the site:
“At the moment our product uploads are done manually. This will be automated as it is impossible to grow a catalogue if you are restricted by time. Also consumers lose out because prices aren’t updated at the exact time that prices are discounted. Consumers have come to expect that a big site will be showing the best possible price at that time. Other parts of the relaunch include a new CMS which is critical to our success. One example challenge is that prices change without notice. Making the content original also matters from an SEO perspective, but making content valuable is critical. Social features will be important too.”
Bayley mentioned some other projects their working on for the site but I can’t put them into print, just yet. That having been said, it sounds like they’re planning on doing some innovative things in the software selling space, which should be ready some time later in 2010 after the main relaunch.
Speaking to Bayley made me wonder though, is that the best that can be done with one of the Internet’s most valuable domains?
So tell me, if you owned Software.com what would you do with it? Would you use the weight of the name to run a typical software e-commerce business or would you do something else a little more imaginative.
I’m keen to hear your thoughts.