SeekingAlpha.com just covered Qihoo 360’s (NYSE:QIHU) purchase of 360.com saying it “looks smart strategically, but it needs to improve its search and cellphone businesses to win back investor interest”.
“Qihoo has paid a record $17 million for the 360.com web domain. This news was almost certainly leaked by Qihoo, since companies pay large sums for domains all the time and the news never makes big headlines since it’s kept private.”
“That hints Qihoo may have big plans for 360.com, most likely as a platform to unify its current stable of domains and brands.”
“Qihoo certainly could use a more unified approach to its increasingly fragmented product portfolio. Its original security software products were offered under its qihoo.com domain, and in 2013 it launched a search engine under so.com, which it rebranded late last year as haosou.com.””
“According to the latest reports, Qihoo purchased the 360.com name from European mobile giant Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) after hoping to secure the domain for a while.
A trip to Qihoo’s original search engine so.com also redirects to haosou.com, and so does a trip to qihoo.com. That appears to show that haosou.com has become Qihoo’s unified web address, at least for now. But I do suspect that 360.com could soon become the new unified site, since $17 million seems like a high price tag for a site that simply redirects users to another site. The 360 name also is easier to remember and has the added benefit of an association with a “complete view” of the world, from the expression “360 degrees.”