Image via WikipediaBack in 2003 Yahoo China paid $120,000,000 for 3721.com. Today 3721.com redirects to cn.yahoo.com.
What 3721.com did was get their software onto PCs. Users running their software would then find themselves redirected straight to certain websites if they typed keywords directly into their address bar. 3721.com’s business model (called ‘real domain name’) was simply to sell those redirecting keywords as advertising.
I suspect many people reading this would be surprised that Yahoo China would pay so much money for a service like that. Cast your mind back to AOL keywords though; you still saw those mentioned in movie trailers back in 2003.
In fact, China’s NIC still actively promotes their ‘Wireless Keyword’ service. This works in a similar way expect with mobile phones rather than PCs. It’s also important to remember that keyword domain guesses are far more common in Asia than they are in English speaking parts of the Northern Hemisphere.
Yahoo China plans on concentrating on its core business which includes the June 2008 merger with Koubei.com.