The Brandable Insider: Sumo.com and Other Seemingly Mismatched Brands

There’s been a lot of press this week about the acquisition of the domain Sumo.com for a $1.5 million dollars. Noah Kagan, CEO of SumoMe has been making the rounds this week and you can find his interviews at Domain Sherpa, DomainNameWire and on his podcast blog, OKdork. You can also find articles at Entrepreneur Mag and NamePros. You can even find an opinion piece at Domain Gang which questions the wisdom of spending so much money on a brand that has no obvious correlation to its core product and service.

All this talk about Sumo.com got me to thinking. I started to reflect on all the business ventures, in a variety of industries, that have picked up dictionary word domains and are using them for brands even though there is no obvious connection between the brand and their product.

So here’s a few exact match domain-brands that could have you scratching your head.

Igloo.com would seem like a great name for a winter clothing/sports brand, an ice cream or frozen foods company or cold storage, maybe even data storage. But, lo and behold, what we find at this web address is a domain brokerage company!

This next brand wreaks of weekends, vacations and hangin out. Not to mention casual clothing, comfort, style and housewares. Or maybe even a lifestyle company or a social network. But no. BlueJeans.com is the home of a video conferencing platform. Go figure.

Now I’m thinking about a Mexican food restaurant chain, a language training service, a line of health supplements or an energy drink. But what do I know? ZenPayroll, the HR services company, decided to rebrand their company at Gusto.com.

Now gimme some honey. Maybe a sweet social networking app? Or a line of children’s toys, books and clothing? Not on your life. BeesWax.com is the home of an API that “allows us to provide constantly updated performance metrics and transparency which our customers can use to dramatically improve their digital ROI.”

For this next one I’m thinking International travel, a cable TV network, sportswear or health supplements. But Noah Kagan is the boss and he knows better than me. So he’s bet the farm on Sumo.com for his burgeoning web site, traffic enhancement business. Go Noah!

Well now that I’ve gone through my entire list of head scratchers I think I’ve found one that sort of makes sense. It’s a name that would make a wonderful food company or restaurant chain. But instead Noodle.com is the home of a learning and education company! Now that I think of it. Maybe this CEO was ‘usin his noodle’ when he acquired this exact match dot-com, show-stopping brand!

Conclusion
These companies have been founded by people much smarter than I. So please don’t take my playful pokes as criticism of their business decisions. My purpose is only to point out the widening flexibility in how dictionary words are being applied as brands. I make no judgement about their choices and fully understand that these kinds of exact-match-domain, brands are eminently memorable and command instant recognition and respect in the marketplace.

Some hand selected brandables for sale at NameJet this week:

Keith deBoer

Keith DeBoer is a part-time, domain investor with an emphasis on brandable domains. He's a domain industry writer with published content at BrandBucket, DomainShane and NamePros. He's also a brand ambassador for BrandBucket and by day, he works as an Internet consultant.

4 thoughts on “The Brandable Insider: Sumo.com and Other Seemingly Mismatched Brands

  1. The audacity of entrepreneurs to use what works for them !
    If only they had consulted a domain branding “Expert” they would be so much more successful than they already are.
    Agree.
    “These companies have been founded by people much smarter than I.”, It should be the first consideration when questioning the decisions.
    Agree with Josh. Noah detailed the reasons for the switch. Good ones. Using something other than Sumo would destroy the momentum of the brand.
    Noodle – a take away from an old saying “use your noodle” in reference to using you brain as it looks like a bowl of noodles :).
    Thank you for pointing out “the widening flexibility in how dictionary words are being applied as brands”.
    Cheers

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