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Downside of Using Generic Keyword for Branding

There are quite a few successful brands that simply use a dictionary word for branding. When a company builds its brand around a popular keyword, I always recommend getting the brand match .com domain name. The downside to branding on a generic term, especially when the brand match .com domain name is not owned by the company, is the potential for confusion.

I want to illustrate this with a pair of TechCrunch tweets from today and yesterday. The tweets link to articles about companies that use the generic term “Frame” in their branding and announced that they raised outside capital:

LiveChat CMO Comments on LiveChat.com Acquisition

LiveChat is an online customer service software provider offering live chat support that can be utilized by its clients on their websites. The company was founded in 2002, and it has been using the less than ideal LiveChatInc.com domain name for its website. Earlier this week, LiveChat sent an email to customers announcing that it migrated its website to the brand match LiveChat.com domain name. LiveChat CEO Mariusz Cieply also announced the news via Twitter:

Target Registers Coronavirus Testing Domain Names

Sometimes domain name registrations can be leading indicators of a company’s future plans. Domain names can also be registered for protective purposes, preventing other people from registering and using them first. We don’t always know why a company registers particular domain names, but I find it interesting to observe domain names that large companies register.

This morning on Twitter, Jamie Zoch reported that Target registered several on-brand domain names related to Coronavirus / COVID 19 testing. For instance, Target registered TargetCoronaTest.com, TargetCovid19Test.com, TargetCovidTest.com, and TestingAtTarget.com:

UnoEuro Announces Rebrand to Simply.com

Michael Bilde from Embrand shared a blog post with me from a hosting company based in Denmark called UnoEuro. In the March 9th blog post (written in Danish), the company announced that it was rebranding as Simply.com. In fact, if you type in UnoEuro.com, you will be redirected to Simply.com. The move was designed to make it easier for customers to remember and type-in the company’s brand name.

Here’s a translated excerpt from the blog post covering the reason for rebranding UnoEuro to Simply.com, courtesy of Google Translate:

Varidesk Rebrands as Vari – Acquired Vari.com in 2016

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One of the smartest purchases I made several years ago was a Varidesk stand up desk and floor pad. I don’t really adjust my desk, but I like having a standing desk in my office. Although Varidesk has become well known for its stand-up desks, the company doesn’t only make desks. Having Varidesk as its brand name was somewhat limiting to it though.

In fact, Varidesk recently rebranded as Vari, and the reason for the rebrand can be found on its homepage:

Lock in the .com to Save on a Rebrand

There are several startups currently interested in one of my domain names, and I am in discussions to sell it. None of these startups seem to have the capital available to make the purchase, but I am very confident one is going to be able to come to terms with my company in the next couple of months. My bet is that the deal I strike will likely be some sort of creative financing option, although I would be very happy to sell it outright.

While all of these startups understand the value of owning the brand match .com domain name, I don’t think any of them are looking at the biggest picture. I want to share this with you (without mentioning the specific domain name) because I think it is a good talking point on your own negotiations.

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