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Branding and non-matching domain name?

My company is looking to rebrand in the consumer photo+video/cloud/app space, ran a survey with 6 potential names (which passed trademark test), and one name was a clear winner with our target demographic. The problem is that the domain name is predictably already taken. We're thinking with going with an SEO-friendly variation as recommended by namemesh.com

How have you handled similar problems with your company, what was the reasoning, and ultimately the results of your decision?

6 Replies

Nick Gray
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Nick Gray Entrepreneur
Co-Founder / Sales / Data Architecture
I wouldn't personally - can't you get a .eu (or similar) or try to find a derivation of your preferred name?
Linda Marshall-Smith
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Linda Marshall-Smith Entrepreneur
Marketing Consultant, Ambassador, Silicon Beach at CoFoundersLab
There are a few things I'd try.

1) If the name is a .com and is owned by someone else, find out what they are doing with it. I.e., is it a live website, or is it just parked somewhere.

If it is not a live website, find out the whois and make them an offer to buy it. If it is a live website, you could still offer to purchase the name, but may have to pay a much higher price for it.

2) use your name of choice with a different extension. A company like Play.it used the Italian country extension for a very cool name. Many start up that can't get the .com have opted to use the .co extension.

Good luck.
John Mamus
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John Mamus Advisor
Chief Creative Emerita at creative agency MAMUS
I have had similar issues with brands- and the brand owners I have worked with have taken different approaches.

My feeling is this: if the brand is being led my the availability of a .com, one will not be true to the core vision of said brand. A TM is undeniably more important than a URL in my opinion. If you feel you MUST have the URL, then I would start from the beginning again, find an available name, check USPTO website for TM availability, then test.

A very smart strategic planner I know always said "idea led, consumer informed" - this is true and how I would approach it.

If the URL is not available, I would encourage your team to come up with clever, memorable URLS that all redirect to the mothership URL - things like cloud-like.com or yourcloudormine.com

There is no right answer, but brands are built one way-over the bodies of the people that work on them.

Edward M. Yang
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Edward M. Yang Entrepreneur
Managing Partner at Firecracker PR
I wouldn't worry too about what the actual name is. The important part is that the name is easy to spell, easy to remember and has a domain available. If your product/service is good, your marketing/branding is solid, the actual name itself matters less.
Glenn McCreedy
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Glenn McCreedy Advisor
Co-founder of Eleven
Since you have an app, try adding "get" or "my" to the front of your brand name and see if you can get that domain.

Also, you may want to get in touch with Jana Dybinski at rebel.com
Jana@Rebel.com
They have some interesting domain name solutions that may be of help to you.
Lee Ann Guertin
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Lee Ann Guertin Entrepreneur
Editorial Research Manager, Online Analytics
Instead of building a domain name solely around a product type, which is where issues like this with general services or app types can occur, try combining the actual product name and and a product "family" name or your company name and use as a subdomain instead of its own domain or vanity URL. Hope this helps. Sent from my iPhone
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