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 and air travel services at  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
  • Igloo – Domain advisors at
  • Sumo – Web marketing solutions at
  • Amazon – Global eCommerce platform at
  • Lemonade – Insurance app at
  • Uber – Ride sharing app at
  • Gusto – Payroll services at
  • League – Health benefits management at
  • Bird – Scooter rentals at
  • Apple – Global tech company at
  • Toast – Business operations software at
  • Purple – High tech mattresses at

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

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

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 domain writer, investor and host of the Brandable Insider podcast.

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

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