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James Iles

Should These Startups Consider Rebranding?

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By James Iles, Jun 14, 2019
  1. In the domain industry, we regularly read reports about startups or established companies that have made the monumental decision to upgrade their domain names from something obscure to a powerful, short, one-word .COM. Recently, for example, MassDrop rebranded to Drop and acquired the exact match Drop.com along the way.

    However, since single-word domain names are so rare, sometimes well-funded brands lose out on the opportunity to acquire the best domain for their brand. This may be because they didn't see the merit in paying five, six or seven-figures for a domain name, or it could be because another company grabbed the opportunity quicker.

    Here, we're taking a look at eight well-funded companies that don't own the exact-match .COM for their brand name. Without their exact match .COM, these companies may experience loss of traffic and email leakage and a level of confusion from consumers and potential investors who may be trying to find the company's website. Should these companies consider rebranding?


    Firefly - fireflyon.com

    Firefly is, as it turns out, a common name for a company. According to Crunchbase, there are forty-six different companies using "Firefly" in their name and despite the popularity of the name, the Firefly.com domain remained in investor's hands until January 2019 when Andrew Rosener, CEO of Media Options, confirmed that the domain had sold.

    The buyer was Firefly Aerospace, but there is another company called "Firefly" that is making the headlines. Rideshare advertising firm Firefly has raised $51.5 million in funding, with Google Ventures leading a $30 million Series A funding round in May 2019. The company uses the Fireflyon.com domain name, which is confusingly similar to the Firefly.com domain name.


    Grin - ongrin.com


    Grin Scooters, better known as Grin, is a micromobility company based in Mexico that was founded in April 2018. The company has raised over $72 million in funding to date that included a $45 million Series A funding round in October 2018.

    Unfortunately for the scooter company, Grin.com is owned by a well-established publishing company that was founded in 1998. Grin Scooters have opted to use OnGrin.com. Since the company was founded less than a year ago, is it surprising that they branded as "Grin", given the fact that Grin.com would be unattainable?


    Via - ridewithvia.com

    "Via" seems like the perfect name for a modern transport brand. It's short, memorable and conveys a sense of the industry that Via is a part of. The domain name that Via has adopted is the complete antithesis of this, RideWithVia.com.

    The shorter Via.com was sold for $157,500 in 2007 and has since been transformed into the home of Via, a popular Asian travel comparison site.

    To Date, Via (the owners of RideWithVia.com), has raised over $387 million in funding. Should some of that sum be used to help rebrand? The company could pursue the Ride.com domain name, for example.


    Tide - tide.co


    Tide is a financial services company offering bank accounts to businesses. With $40 million in funding to date, the British company has advertised heavily offline, including numerous London Underground ads. The company's website states that they have over eighty thousand business customers to date.

    The concern is that with Tide being a financial service that manages bank accounts for thousands of businesses, operating on a .CO domain may lead to email leakage that could contain sensitive financial information from Tide's clients. The .COM equivalent is owned by Procter & Gamble.


    Feather - livefeather.com

    Feather is a luxury furniture brand, founded in 2017 with $16 million in funding. Not to be confused with the cannabis vape pen brand that's operating on Feather.com. Feather, the vape pen company, acquired the Feather.com domain in late 2017 from Earthlink, Inc as a direct upgrade from the Feather.co domain name.

    Unfortunately for the furniture brand, they may not have been in a position to acquire the Feather.com domain in 2017, and so settled with livefeather.com. With the company sealing a $12.5 million Series A funding round in May 2019, is it worth rebranding?


    Sense - sensehq.com

    The brand names on this list are all common single word names, and Sense is no different. There are pages of results for "Sense" at LinkedIn and Crunchbase, indicating that it's a popular brand name. Staffing industry platform Sense has raised over $23 million since 2015, with its SenseHQ.com site vital to the company's existence as a means of attracting customers and displaying product demonstrations.

    Potential clients may be confused with Sense.com, the exact match domain for energy company Sense, who has been in operation since 2013.


    Quip - getquip.com

    Quip is a dental company that I have heard advertised through various podcasts, with the adverts meticulously spelling out the "getquip.com" domain name. The major issue is that the shorter quip.com is being actively used in a completely different industry.

    Real-time document collaboration tool Quip is now part of the Salesforce family after Salesforce acquired the company for $750 million in 2016. It doesn't seem like Salesforce will let this domain go, so what are the dental company's options? As a company that looks to be relying on its website for sales, is a rebrand in order?
     
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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  4. James Iles

    About The Author — James Iles

    James is a domain name industry professional currently working on numerous domain industry research, acquisition and sales projects. Contact [email protected] For all inquiries relating to NamePros stories and interviews, please email: [email protected]

    This is James Iles's 661st blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

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  5. Comments (15)

  6. kandyan

    kandyan Established Member

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  7. Keith DeBoer

    Keith DeBoer Top Member PRO VIP

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  8. etifit

    etifit Established Member

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    Lovely research you got here. I had to jot down some things.
     
  9. The Durfer

    The Durfer Upgraded Member Gold Account VIP

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  10. Avinash S

    Avinash S Established Member

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    @James Iles, you are one of the true gems of this Domaining community! :xf.cool::xf.cool:
     
  11. johnnie018

    johnnie018 Account Auto-Closed

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    These people are very stupid! Particularly the fireflyon.com, the name was offered to them and they still missed it? No brain?
     
  12. Playz

    Playz Established Member

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  13. GenericDomainz

    GenericDomainz Account Auto-Closed

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    Quite non-spellable domains.

    Interesting list of Startups )))))

    I think they should really rebrand, all.

    ))))
     
  14. elevator

    elevator DnCombo.com VIP

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    Thanks for your continuity. Cheers.
     
  15. Innoverge

    Innoverge Top Member VIP

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    Even for what could possibly be considered place-holder domains(temporary fillers), most of these are bad, but for 'SenseHQ', which makes sense as a brand and 'Tide.co' which would've been pretty decent, if not for being a financial services brand(for which i believe the exact-match .com to be ideal).

    What's funny is, while most of these companies have quirky,appealing brand names, they seemed to have had little-to-no foresight where their domain is concerned,esp. since it's the address to their brand.

    Neither does their exact match '.com's' seem available anytime soon nor do their brands have a decent domain to stand on, and things might get sticky, real soon.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  16. White Fang

    White Fang CustomerService.com Gold Account ★★★★★★★★★★

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    A LOT of companies still don't get the value of the right domain name.
     
  17. winst

    winst Established Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I have to say many tech startups just did not prioritize marketing or branding at the start. It’s not that they don’t recognize the value of short premium domain names. They just can’t justify a premium name at such an early stage. They could always re-brand or be acquired after they gained enough traction.
     
  18. Avijit Roy

    Avijit Roy Upgraded Member Gold Account VIP

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    A domain name shows ambitions of the company, if you own abcdtechnology.com it shows that you don't care much about your Brand.
     
  19. DomainMarketplace

    DomainMarketplace Account Auto-Closed

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    Nice article james!
    I consider to rebranding too
     
  20. Ali Adil

    Ali Adil Established Member

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    Thanks for sharing brother, you are the best..
     
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