Xoom Goes After Motorola

Xoom LogoA couple years ago, I blogged about the company called Xoom, a money transfer service with a name that I think is pretty bad. It sounds like “zoom,” and is spelled differently. I didn’t and still don’t understand why a company would choose to have a confusing brand name.

It was even more surprising to me a few months ago when Motorola announced that it’s  tablet computer was going to be called Xoom (which went on sale today).  This was a head scratcher to me because “Xoom” seems like a made up term rather than a descriptive term.  I also can’t understand why a big company like Motorola couldn’t think of a better name and/or why they would take a risk of potentially infringing on another company’s brand name.

As you might expect, this has turned litigious. According to an article on Bloomberg this morning, the money transfer company has sued Motorola for trademark infringement. The case was filed in US District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. I actually like this name. I think it is catchy and not difficult to remember even with this spelling.

    But I obviously agree Motorola should have found a name not in widespread use already.

  2. @ Elliot…This was a head scratcher to me because “Xoom” seems like a made up term rather than a descriptive term.


    Weren’t iPOD and iPAD made up terms to?

    If you have enough of a marketing budget, you can call your product whatever you want

    • @ AB

      Yes, the iPod more than the iPad IMO. I couldn’t come out with a line of shoes called the iPod… well I could, but Apple would sue me 🙂 It’s not like there’s a city or plant called the Xoom that was interesting enough to name a product after. For instance, “Apple” is a descriptive term, so I could likely have a company called Apple Logistics, but iPod Logistics would be more likely to be infringing.

      We’ll see what happens in court. Most likely, IMO, some sort of settlement.

  3. There’s nothing wrong with the name Xoom. Some of you domainers think if you don’t have a generic .com that costs a zillion dollars, your company is destined to fail. The actual product is what matters the most.

  4. @ Shaun

    If you heard the name Xoom (sounds like zoom) what website would you try to visit?

    If you’re like me, you would probably visit Zoom.com, get sidetracked with other things, and forget what you were doing in the first place. I would then probably visit Google and search for money transfer services and go to Western Union or something.

  5. Of course they’re going to advertise. “Xoom” and “Zoom” are pronounced the same way. But do you see them going out of business over it? I’m sure it helps the situation when they get free advertising from holier than thou domain bloggers shitting on their name.

  6. @ Shaun

    Holier than thou? LOL. Keep it coming.

    I never said they needed a generic domain name… just something that isn’t confusing to your average consumer that would struggle to know the the X is pronounced like a Z.

    If the brand name wasn’t spelled confusingly, they wouldn’t have to PAY Google to capture the traffic that thinks it’s spelled “zoom.”

    BTW, we both have opinions on the matter and there’s no need to make a douche bag comment, unless of course you’re personally vested and your feedback is based on facts rather than speculation.

  7. Vested? LOL. Yeah, I’m the CEO of Xoom. No I’m not vested in them, nor have I ever used their services. And of course they’re going to pay to capture that traffic. Why wouldn’t they? But going as far to say they have a dumb name is a reach. If this company had never existed, and the domain “xoom.com” was dropping, there’d be a ton of domainers backordering it on Namejet or some other similar service, and you know it.

    Where we do agree is that Motorola should have chosen a different name for their tablet, if just to avoid any trademark issues.

  8. Xoom was awesome in the old days. I used it around 1996-1998 for simple, free personal pages. While Geocities sucked, Xoom was fast and easy. It offered a whopping 5Mb of space I think LOL

  9. @ Elliot

    We’ll see what happens in court. Most likely, IMO, some sort of settlement.


    I hear you. And I was coming at it from the angle that iPOD isn’t a descriptive term either. 10 years ago, no one would have associated it with an MP3 player.

    But yeah, from the legal angle, stupid move.

  10. Hey Elliot…..I commented on the last Xoom post as well.

    Xoom goes after the Portuguese market in a hard way and it is pronounced Shoom, Zoom, or Soom down there. I used to think it was only Shoom b/c if you listen to the folks in Rio they have more of the French accent. However, after traveling in the interior and having spent some time there I noticed they have more of the Spanish accent, especially the closer you get to any of the Spanish-speaking border countries. The languages mix. They even use some Spanish words that will never be used in Rio.

    So……what I discovered is that in the S.E. of Brazil it is pronunciation is more Shoom/Soom, but in the interior it is Zoom.

    I suspect they chose this domain and then had some internal struggles since they needed to appease the dialect of several countries and this is why it is pronounced differently depending on where one lives.

    BTW Shaun, you are the one that comes off as Holier than Thou, as do most developers and SEO guys do. Domainers are actually pretty humble people, but developers, even back in 1995 were so full of themselves and already jealous of domain investors ; I see nothing has changed.

    I used to get flame emails from guys like you in 1995-96 b/c they did not like the fact that I was regging more than one domain. You just think your development efforts mean everything and domains mean nothing…..it’s your cheap pop-shot at domainers they way you popped in here just to say this to Elliot and other domainers.

  11. @Johnny

    No, I do think domains matter. My point was that I don’t think Xoom is such a bad name. Elliot said it was a dumb name, and I disagree. I’m not sure how I could be jealous of domain investors, since I happen to be one myself. But I shouldn’t have to explain that, since you apparently know everything about who I am and what I do.

  12. I disagree it’s a bad name. On the contrary it’s a unique and protectable brand name. Of course you’re right it fails the radio test but most of their business comes from internet users where this is not a huge issue. Any responsible company will be buying keywords for potential misspellings so again, not a big deal IMHO.

    I’ve used their service however, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone needing to be absolutely sure their transfer will take place. I had them cancel my transfers twice without notifying me until hours later, Western Union will never do that to you.

    They’re also barking up the wrong tree in suing Motorola. There’s zero chance of confusion that any reasonable consumer would accidentally purchase a tablet when looking for a money transfer service. 😉

    Trademarks are only protected within their scope of use. These uses are so far removed as to make this lawsuit nothing more than wishful thinking. A settlement is the best they can hope for and Motorola would only do that to avoid a legal distraction as their position is solid and Xoom.com’s position is fantasy.

  13. I’ve already given my opinion on this matter. Whether or not that’s satisfactory to you Johnny, is beyond my concern. Have a good weekend all.

  14. Xoom should acquire the zoom.com domain name in addition to xoom.com

    Zoom Technologies is a dead shell company and their only remaining asset is their zoom.com domain name. They are willing to sell it if the price is right.

    Now that Xoom is being acquired by Pay Pal for just under 1 billion dollars, they have the capital to invest in strengthening their branding and marketing.

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