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Dotcom town stunt

Dotcom town stunt

Town re-named ‘Half.com’

The stunt:

Half.com, a US-based retail website known for having sharply discounted items, paid Halfway, Oregon, to adopt the name Half.com for their town for a year in 1999.

In exchange, Halfway received $100,000, 20 new computers for the local school and other financial subsidies.

What happened next:

The media picked up on it, Half.com became very well known, and in 2000, five months after the IPO, eBay bought the company for $300 million. Halfway, Oregon, was a little less fortunate.

According to Halfway, Oregon's official website, "Half.com made many promises. Some of which were honored and others not."

Lesson learnt:

Creativity works, and you can apparently talk anyone into anything, if you show them the money. It also helped that Halfway, Oregon, felt it was a winning situation for them, too, beyond the monetary reward: They were the first dotcom town in the nation--though not the first community to change their name to a brand name.

That distinction goes to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, which changed its name from Hot Springs in 1950, when US radio personality Ralph Edwards was hosting a popular radio show called "Truth or Consequences." He'd said he wished a town loved the show enough to rename itself after the program - and if one would, he'd air a live program from the community. Hot Springs, anxious to shed its name, anyway, since people confused it with the town in Arkansas, jumped at the chance.

AJR
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