The story of the Tucows “two cows”
The Washington Post ran a story Wednesday by Paul Farhi titled, “How Do You Tell a Web Name From a Typo,” in which Tucows is mentioned amongst some other Internet companies with odd names. Certainly the Tucows name is unique, but it’s more than just a misspelling (Joost), or an English word with select vowels stripped out (Flickr), or a non-english word that translates into what the company is all about (Mahalo).
The Tucows name can be traced back all the way to the early days of the commercial Internet. Back in 1993, Scott Swedorski started Tucows in Flint, Michigan, as a website where users could download Windows 3.1 software that allowed the operating system to access the Internet. Tucows was an acronym for The Ultimate Collection Of Winsock Software – T.U.C.O.W.S. It seemed only natural to incorporate cows into the logo back then and we continue that tradition to this day.
Over the 14 years since Tucows was founded, the business has expanded to provide service providers (like ISPs and hosting companies), everything from wholesale Internet services like domain names and hosted email, to SSL digital certificates and a software billing solution for ISP’s and Hosting companies called Platypus (a unique name in itself). The Tucows download site lives on to this day providing a place where Internet users can find and download the latest and greatest in freeware and shareware software.
In his article, Farhi calls out Yahoo! and Google (among others) as separate from the goofy name trend:
“Google and Yahoo are creative names — short (hence, easy to type into a browser), quirky and suggestive. Google: something very large, almost infinite, like a googolplex. Yahoo: a simple person, or an expression of joy. Ditto the sounds of Facebook and YouTube, which conjure something personal without getting silly about it.”
I’d like to suggest that with an Internet heritage that is even richer than those two companies (Yahoo! wasn’t founded until 1994, Google came much later in 1998), that Tucows should be regarded as a trend setter. And to suggest that the Tucows name is nothing more than a silly play on words diminishes that rich heritage that can be traced back to the very beginnings of the World Wide Web as we’ve come to know and enjoy it.
So to Paul Farhi, thanks again for the mention and we’d be more than happy to send you a couple of Tucows squishycows. Drop us a line on the blog, or via email (jkoole at tucows.com).
Squishycows in the wild
Photo by Sarah McGee. For more of Sarah’s photos visit her Flickr photostream. Thanks, Sarah!
With a company name like Tucows, you really can’t escape cows - from black and white cowskin lettering on our software download site back in the early days, to giving away a live cow at a trade show (seriously, it happened), to squishycows, we’ve certainly embraced our bovine heritage.
The humble squishycow has become quite popular of late. We give out hundreds and hundreds of them, complete with a little tag asking that the new owner take some photos and post them on the photo sharing website Flickr with the tag “squishycow“. Last time we checked, there were over 500 photos of our squishy friend.
Squishycow drinks coffee and had a run-in with a sheep. She’s gone swimming, taken a flight, seen a NASCAR race and gone to the beach. She’s visited Paris, London and Niagara Falls. Squishycow has learned to program and got an iPhone.
Thanks to all who take the time to make some really beautiful images featuring the squishycow. We’re going to start featuring some of the best of the pictures on the blog over the next little while. To have your photo considered, simply add it to our Flickr group “Squishycows in the wild“
A million ways to say thanks
It's been a busy year for our domain name business. We've introduced our Premium Domains service, dropped our prices, built a more transparent billing structure and made many of our domain name features - including DNS and WHOIS Privacy - completely free.
Today, we're adding another big announcement to the pile: we're going to share over $1 million in revenues with resellers over the next 12 months. We'll be doing this through our Parked Pages and Expired Domains programs, both of which are designed to help our resellers make more money from unused and expiring domain names.
Under the terms of both these programs, we split all net advertising revenue 50-50 with our resellers. And if, at a later date, we sell one of these names through our Premium Domains service, we'll share 10% of net revenue with the original reseller as well.
So why did we decide to do this? After all, we could have simply kept the money; in fact, many registrars do. Our philosophy, though, is a little different - we think customers should be rewarded for choosing to sell and register names with Tucows. One million dollars, we think, is one very nice way to say “thank you.”
You can read our full announcement here.
Bill Sweetman talks domains
Bill Sweetman, Tucows General Manager, Domain Portfolio is out in Vancouver this week for a marketing conference known as “DM Day.” The DM stands for direct marketing, and the conference is presented by the British Columbia Association of Internet Marketers. Bill was asked to talk domains and gave a well-received presentation titled, “Domain Name Karate: The ‚Äòancient' art of maximizing and defending your domain names.”
And while I’m on the topic of Bill and domain names, our man Sweetman was down at Traffic in Miami a few weeks back and talked to a few of the movers and shakers in the domain industry. You can listen to those interviews by way of his podcast series, “Marketing Martini.” Not surprisingly, those can be found at http://www.marketingmartini.com/. So far Bill’s posted chats with Monte Cahn, founder and CEO of Moniker, Phil Corwin, legal counsel to the Internet Commerce Association and Peter Lamson of NameMedia.
You can listen right on the website, or subscribe to Bill’s podcast series in iTunes via this link.