TechCrunch reported today that Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, has launched a mobile payment service called Square. While the actual product/service looks pretty cool, I am surprised that someone with the capital resources such as Dorsey would launch a new brand on a domain name that is different from the actual brand.
The big problem for Square is that they are using the domain name SquareUp.com for their website. This really defies logic to me for a couple of big reasons.
First and most obviously because it’s a mobile payment platform, and people will want to visit the website to learn about the company that will have access to credit card and payment info, and the web address is not intuitive. Many people will visit Square.com to learn about Square, Inc., and they won’t find the information they desire.
Secondly, Square.com is owned by a Japanese company, and the domain name doesn’t resolve. It’s one thing if it resolves to another company’s website, where the visitor can figure out that he needs to look elsewhere. It’s another thing if the domain doesn’t resolve and looks like the company has technical problems. There is nothing on Square.com that would tell a visitor anything but the website isn’t working.
The standalone name “Square” really has no meaning as a mobile payment service. It’s not like the brand actually means something to the product/service, where by sacrificing the brand name, part of the company’s identity would be lost. For example, the Paypal brand has everything to do with a payment service – they’re the “pay pal.” Square does not have this identity. “Square Up” could be a better brand identity, since people use the term “square up” or “square away” when they need to settle a tab.
This doesn’t seem like a smart branding move for a mobile company – especially one with a $40,000,000 valuation.