I missed the article in TechCrunch on Tuesday until just now, but AOL’s Sphere, the self-dubbed “next phase in the evolution of AOL News,” is undergoing a rebranding effort. The new name of the brand will be Surphace, and the company will use Surphace.com as its domain name.
Of course, when people tell their buddies to check out “Surphace.com,” many of their friends will inevitably head to Surface.com instead, which happens to be a domain name owned by Microsoft, which redirects to the Microsoft website.
With AOL currently embroiled in a lawsuit against Advertise.com for trademark infringement, one can amusingly ask if AOL will believe that they deserve the Surface.com domain name to go along with their renamed brand. It surely would be a head scratcher, but I wouldn’t exactly be shocked. I wonder what Microsoft thinks of this.
On another note, I still don’t understand why some companies – especially large companies – still create brand names that are difficult to spell. This can only lead to brand confusion, lost traffic, and potentially even litigation. One would think they could find another brand name and buy the .com if they think it’s worthwhile.
About half of my neighbors work at AOL – based on my conversation with them throughout the years – until that company gets new leadership at the top to rival the leadership at other internet giants, AOL isn’t a threat to anyone other than AOL. Until the threat of layoffs and constant internal re-organizations is removed from AOL culture, the company can’t move forward. IMHO.