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.

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Newly funded startups and their (domain) names – week 19.

Here we are again with a list of 53 startups that raised almost 2 billion dollars in funding last week. With 86% of domains in the .Com extension it is obvious once again that not many startups want to compromise on their domain name ending which I believe is directly linked to a lot of bad naming decisions. Aside from social layer for cloud storage startup FileChat and online travel agent TravelBird there are not many company names I like on this weeks list. In fact, it baffles me seeing how many companies enter the market with a bad name and/or domain name.

I understand that it is practically impossible these days to find a great .com domain name that is still available to register but with a few thousand dollar and a couple of days (re)searching and shortlisting you can find and secure a great domain name from sites such as Brandbucket and Brandroot or even the more generalist domain name marketplaces such as Sedo, Afternic and auction site Flippa offer plenty of great domain names within any budget range. It seems however that many startups still choose to opt for launching with a difficult (or sometimes even impossible) to pronounce and/or remember name instead. A decision they will surely regret later down the road if you ask me. And many prominent Angel Investors and VC’s agree with me.

Here’s this week’s list (bio-science and pharma are still HOT!):  (more…)

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