Hot Companies with Horrible Brands

Not too long ago, dictionary word domains were considered as exact match, category killers for various products and industries.  For this reason you’ll find fiber optic products at Fiber.com and air travel services at Fly.com.  But things have changed. The rules have been disrupted. Now dictionary words have become a premium vehicle for branding in a wide variety of industries. Sometimes this creative application of a single word domain has been a hit. Other times it’s been a disaster.

Let’s take a look at some examples of companies who have succeeded despite what I consider to be questionable, single word, branding choices.

  • Lime – A bike sharing company  at LI.me
  • Igloo – Domain advisors at Igloo.com
  • Sumo – Web marketing solutions at Sumo.com
  • Amazon – Global eCommerce platform at Amazon.com
  • Lemonade – Insurance app at Lemonade.com
  • Uber – Ride sharing app at Uber.com
  • Gusto – Payroll services at Gusto.com
  • League – Health benefits management at League.com
  • Bird – Scooter rentals at Bird.co
  • Apple – Global tech company at Apple.com
  • Toast – Business operations software at Toast.com
  • Purple – High tech mattresses at Purple.com

On the flip side there’s a bunch of one word brands that I really like.

  • Agenda – A scheduling app at Agenda.com
  • Advance – Global media at Advance.com
  • Great – A Swedish charity to help the impoverished at Great.com
  • Slack – Team collaboration tools at Slack.com
  • Ledger – Crypto asset management at Ledger.com
  • Casper – High tech mattresses at Casper.com
  • Pax – Vape and cannabis devices at Pax.com
  • Ring – Home security systems at Ring.com
  • Timeline – Modern history at Timeline.com
  • Freedom – Mortgage company at Freedom.com

What’s on your list of heroes and zeroes for startup branding?  Let us know in the comments below.

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.

8 thoughts on “Hot Companies with Horrible Brands

  1. Lime, Apple and Amazon are questionable branding choices? In what way?

    Lastly how is Great a good brand? Didn’t the domain just get sold? If it is a charity wouldn’t the extension be wrong?

  2. You (and others) may disagree but to my eye and ear I make no connection between the Lime and bike rentals. For me, the name might as well be Orange, Purple, Kiwi, Grapefruit, Maroon etc. The point is that the name, Lime, is completely arbitrary as it has no relevance to the company’s products, service or mission. Same for Amazon.

    1. What would be a better brand name for Apple, what would you suggest?

      Maybe Lime could rebrand to OnDemandScooterRentals.com

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