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domain wars?

Looking to buy some antibodies today, I was reminded of something I noticed a couple of years ago.

One of my favorite antibody companies is Cell Signaling Technologies. They have quality products for equal or better pricing. Best of all, they are local and sometimes deliver same-day if the order is placed early enough. I’ve consistently gotten packages by the end of the day when I place online orders before noon with no special rush delivery option checked. (How they actually make that happen would be interesting in and of itself).

Today, starting my antibodies search, I typed “” into my browser. The URL redirected me to Millipore, a big company that makes a lot of bio- and chem- lab supplies, products, reagents, and assays. My first thought was, “oh wow! I don’t buy antibodies for a while, and Cell Signaling gets acquired by Millipore???”

But I quickly realized that Cell Signaling is still Cell Signaling (not Millipore), but their website is actually at, not This made me wonder which came first: Millipore with the domain name or Cell Signaling with the company name?

The latter would be a big company bullying a small biotech. The former still feels a bit like Millipore bullying the smaller players. I don’t automatically associate Millipore with cell signaling products–it’s a much more diversified company than that–and it feels a little shady and presumptuous that would redirect to Millipore as if Millipore were the king of signaling research supplies.

I wonder if Cell Signaling ever approached Millipore to buy the domain name, or if Millipore would even be willing to sell it, and for how much?

Or if this little domain name inconvenience affects Cell Signaling at all?

The Cell Signaling brand is strong enough that I know I am on the wrong website and want to find the real one. It’s definitely an annoyance because I forget almost every time that Cell Signaling’s domain name does not match its company name. But when I see the redirect to Millipore, I don’t start looking for antibodies on the Millipore website “just for kicks” (perhaps what Millipore is hoping for?). Instead, I google for the real Cell Signaling website and go there still.

Would most others who look for Cell Signaling by name, and domain name, be like me? Temporarily annoyed but quickly finds the right website? How many people look for antibody vendors by typing in “” and hope to get lucky?

I think most people are loyal like me, so the domain name is just a minor frustration moment. But I’m still curious to the history behind the URL.


  1. Chris

    FWIW, the whois information for these domains shows that was last registered on January 3rd, 2000 and on January 12th, 1999. This doesn’t tell you whether either domain was registered before those dates or whether domain ownership has changed over time.

    Posted on 19-Oct-10 at 12:58 am | Permalink
  2. Wikipedia says Cell Signaling was founded in 1999, though no info on which month. Still sketchy for Millipore!

    Also, unrelated, they have a China/Chinese site: Who knew?

    Posted on 20-Oct-10 at 12:11 am | Permalink

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