10 companies that rebranded and upgraded their domain name in the process.

A couple days ago I wrote about Digital pharmacy startup ScriptDash which rebranded itself as Alto and acquired the Alto.com domain name in the process. There are several reasons why a startup or established company needs to go trough a rebranding but one of the most common reasons is when a company enters into a new line of business or market that is not cohesive to the existing brand identity. Remember when Apple was known as Apple Computer? As the company evolved into new lines of business beyond computers, the original brand name was too restrictive. International expansion, a pivot, new audience, relevance, legal issues or mergers and acquisitions could be other reasons.

I thought it would be interesting to look at ten other companies that had the need or desire to rebrand and used this opportunity to upgrade to a better, premium domain name in the process. 

  • ZenPayroll rebrands to Gusto – Gusto.com

Payroll startup ZenPayroll changed its name to Gusto in 2015, changing away from a restrictive brand name with the word “payroll” in it, when it started moving beyond payroll, into benefits such as health insurance and workers’ compensation. The company acquired the matching Gusto.com domain name 8 days prior their relaunch as reported by Jamie Zoch here.

  • Taser International rebrands to Axon- Axon.com

Arizona-based electrical weapons manufacturer Taser decided to rebrand as Axon earlier this year. The brand has been a household word for years, but the company felt it was time to leave that identity behind and double down on the body camera and digital evidence management side of its business. The company has been growing rapidly after it’s rebranding.

  • Club W rebrands as Winc – Winc.com

Last year, Club W, a wine club startup based in Los Angeles, rebranded as Winc. Originally just an online marketplace, the company has expanded to a full-fledged alcohol business, sourcing and producing all of the wines it sells. The company has raised $30 million dollars to date.

  • RelayRides Rebrands As Turo – Turo.com

RelayRides, the San Francisco-based peer-to-peer car rental service, rebranded itself as Turo in 2015 at the same time the company also announced a $47 million in Series C funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. At the time, the company said that 60 percent of its revenue comes from out-of-town travelers who are renting the cars of people who are themselves flying out of town. And it wants to take the trend global, thus the name. CEO Andre Haddad says it evokes both “touring,” or, in Italian, “turismo.”

  • Alphaworks Rebrands As Quire – Quire.com

Alphaworks, the equity crowdfunding platform for startups and their communities, re-branded to Quire in 2015. CEO Erin Glenn said that the company was eager to get a .com domain and that ‘quire’ (a centuries-old word that which means ‘folio’ or collection of single pages) was a perfect fit for what the platform represents. It seems that the Quire.com domain name sale was brokered by Igloo.com

  • GrabTaxi Rebrands To Grab – Grab.com

GrabTaxi, the Uber rival in Southeast Asia backed by SoftBank and China’s Didi Kuaidi, is now known as simply “Grab” after the company announced a rebranding in early 2016. Jamie Zoch writes on DotWeekly.com that “The Grab.com domain name was on a developed website for many years prior for a company named Grab Games and remained that way until very early March 2016 (about the 5th) when the domain suddenly started redirecting to GrabGames.com”. The acquisition price for the domain hasn’t been reported but is very likely well into the seven-figures.

  • InstantCab Rebrands As Summon – Summon.com

San Francisco-based InstantCab was one of the newer on-demand transportation startups that emerged over recent years, competing with companies like Uber and Lyft. Launched in the San Francisco Bay Area, its differentiating factor was a sort of hybrid approach that combined the ability to hail either a taxi or a peer-to-peer rideshare driver. The company announced is rebranded its service as Summon in 2004.

  • DeveloperAuction Rebrands As Hired – Hired.com

DeveloperAuction, which launched in 2012 to revolutionize the engineer recruiting market, rebranded itself as Hired.com in 2013 while putting its sights on a much larger target covering designers, data scientists and more. At the time, co-founder Matt Mickiewicz told TechCrunch that the Hired.com domain was “the most expensive option” for the company, but ultimately conveys the company’s mission the best. The company has been growing rapidly since 2013, expanding globally and raising more than $100 million dollars in additional funding.

  • Virtual Piggy Rebrands As Oink – Oink.com

Virtual Piggy, a payments service aimed at minors rebranded as Oink in late 2013 after buying the domain, trademarks, and social marks from Kevin Rose for $57,500. Founder and CEO Jo Webber told TechCrunch that the reason was strategic:  “Piggy” sounded too infantile but “Oink” lets them retain some of the branding association with piggy banks while sounding more punchy in a way that will resonate better with the older end of the youth market — or so the company believes.

  • Twitvid Rebrands As Telly – Telly.com 

Twitvid launched in 2009, with the idea of becoming the “Twitpic of video sharing” on Twitter. But it had to pivot and in 2012, the startup relaunched as a destination site where users can find videos shared by their friends.  To support the change in direction the company rebranded as Telly.

  • MyPunchbowl Rebrands As Punchbowl – Punchbowl.com

In 2010, MyPunchbowl, a start to finish party planning site, reached an important milestone: the startup reached one million registered users using its online invitation and party preparation services. In conjunction with the announcement, MyPunchbowl also announced the acquisition of the domain Punchbowl.com and rebranding the site as Punchbowl.com. The domain name was bought from domain name investor Rick Schwartz in a cash + stock deal.

Some fantastic brandable domain names coming up for auction at NameJet this week include:

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Doron Vermaat

Doron has over a decade of professional experience in marketing and business development for technology startups in both Europe and Asia. He is the product guy behind domain name management software, Efty and in his spare time he moonlights as a domain name investor. He lives in bustling Hong Kong with his wife Fay, daughter Isla and their rescue dog Pepper.

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