New York-based startup Artsy has garnered attention from the media and investors for its Pandora-esque artwork discovery engine, but now issues with its Syrian domain name are causing the company problems. In the midst of the violent conflict in Syria, the company's principle domain name has suffered outages, and on Friday, Artsy announced plans to move operations to Artsy.net.
Founder Carter Cleveland had to endure a lengthy legal and governmental struggle to use the .SY extension, the country code assigned to Syria, to begin with. As detailed by TechCrunch, Cleveland was represented by a Syrian law firm in the country to help him deal with changing regulations and red tape from abroad.
In a press release issued Friday, Artsy explains that the company initially chose Art.sy, "because it is the shortest spellable English language domain that begins with the word 'art.'" The catchy name and simple domain name attracted media attention and helped grow the Artsy brand.
Now, however, Artsy might suffer from having chosen a domain name that was better for branding than operations. The Syrian extension brought Artsy significant attention, but it ultimately proved unreliable. With hundreds of new gTLDs on the horizon this year, reliability will be paramount. New gTLDs will present unprecedented domain name branding opportunities, but that is ultimately moot if they aren't stable.
Interestingly, Artsy.com is currently listed for sale by Domain Brokers, and it seems that it would be a wise investment for a company by the same name that exists solely online, especially after having to shutter Art.sy. Compete data shows that Art.sy hit a high of approximately 21,000 unique visitors in October, while Artsy.net is not even listed on the site. Artsy.com it should be noted, pulled just over 1,500 unique visitors in November, significant for a parked page.
For now, it appears that Artsy will exist solely on Artsy.net, but it will be interesting to see if the company ever purchases Artsy.com. How this situation will affect Artsy's traffic and business, if at all, remains to be seen, but it should at least drive some new traffic to Artsy.net.