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2010 - 2020 a Decade in Domains part 1 - Brands simplified their names
By SmartBranding Team access_time 9 min read

From door to door, print advertising and billboards, through digital marketing, search engines, and now – the world accessible from a screen in our pocket – the way businesses reach customers has and will continue to change over time.

2000-2010 was marked with the smartphones making everything possible on the go and from the palm of our hands, big data – tech giants (and not only) discovering the power of tracking consumer behavior, blockchain, AI, and voice.

Spotting consumer trends and patterns, voice searches, multiple devices – all that has affected and taken the way entrepreneurs see and use domains to a whole new level.

Brands simplified their names

With everything being easily accessible online, the competition for attention is more fierce than ever. Simpler, shorter, easier to spell, remember, share, type – the future belongs to those who can adapt and thrive above the noise.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery –

Founded in 2010, Uber was initially called UberCab. The startup changed their name UberCab to Uber and bought the domain name from Universal Music Group, back in 2010.

Uber gave UMG a 2% stake in exchange for the domain. Uber would be worth around $1.7 billion four years later, but Universal Music Group did not partake in this success, since at some point before this valuation, the company sold back its shares to Uber for $1 million. Does “Oops” cover it? – –

On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched a site under the name “TheFacebook”, originally located at Recognizing the need for a shorter and better domain name the company dropped ‘The’ from its name after purchasing the domain name in 2005 for $200,000. In 2010, Facebook bought domain from the American Farm Bureau Federation and paid for it $8.5 million dollars, which is 42 times more than the company originally paid for

When asked in 2009 by a TechCrunch interviewer, what he might do differently today if he knew any better, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he “would get the right domain name”.

Q: What would you do different?

A: I’d get the right domain name.

Mark Zuckerberg interviewed by Jessica Livingston –

Founded in 1990, Jamba was formerly known as Jamba Juice.

In June 2019, Jamba Juice dropped the word “Juice” to reflect its wider range of products. The 850-unit chain acquired the exact brand match domain name upgrading from They now offer cereal and fruit bowls, kiddy menu, breakfast and baked goods.

“Jamba” is a play on the Swahili word “jama, ” meaning “to celebrate.” –

HeadlightsDepot upgraded its domain name from to to match their the vision of becoming the authority in automotive lighting.

Vendors and customers both refer to the company as Headlights, and so acquiring is a formal recognition of HeadlightsDepot’s niche, and its increasing
visibility and name recognition in a competitive market.

For us, having the premium domain is the modern-day equivalent of opening a storefront on 5th Avenue. It promotes both awareness and trust.

Jay Tannenbaum, CEO of Headlights –

On 29 April, 2019, Massdrop unveiled its rebrand to Drop. The company smartly acquired the exact brand match domain name now directs to, and they also managed to secure the @Drop Twitter and Instagram handles.

“The name Massdrop originated when we were just a group-buying site, but we are so much more than that now — and you are anything but “mass.”

This new brand reflects how we’ve evolved since our beginnings in 2012, from group-buying site, to commerce platform and now, a product company made possible by your deep commitment to passions.

Steve El-Hage – CEO of Drop –

Tesla Motors was founded in July 2003 by engineers Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. The company’s name is a tribute to the well known inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla. Tarpenning bought the domain name on April 23, 2003.

Faraday was the alternative name choice for Tesla Motors selected by Eberhard. In February 2017, Tesla Motors shortened its name to Tesla and the company upgraded its domain name from to the exact brand match Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla, revealed that he invested $11 million to buy in February 2016 from its previous owner. The new domain matches the vision and image of the company – Tesla produces a lot more than just cars now.

Buying took over a decade, $11M & amazing amount of effort. Didn’t like even when we were only making (cars).

Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla –

In February 2015, brokerage Urban Compass has shortened its name to Compass in a bid to make its brand more memorable.

Compass is a simpler, more universally memorable brand name that speaks directly to the connection between people and technology that is so central to what we are building.

Matt Spangler, Head of Marketing and Creative for Compass –

Chewy was founded under the name “Mr. Chewy” in September 2011 by Ryan Cohen and Michael Day. The domain appears to have been sold by Frank Schilling‘s Name Administration at the time. The price of the domain was kept private. In 2017, PetSmart acquired for $3.35 billion in the largest e-commerce acquisition up to date.

Montreal-based startup Sharethebus, which aims to make it easier to charter busses, rebranded to in April 2017.

“The rebrand from Sharethebus to better positions us as a more holistic solution for the industry in general and the population at large.” – shared CEO Kyle Boulay. “Our name no longer encompassed who we were”.

We want to drive people to the website, we want people to understand what we’re doing and this will help us accomplish that.

Dave Lastovskiy, the company’s Head of Marketing –

D.C.-based renewable energy startup Arcadia Power rebranded to simply Arcadia in December 2019. The startup upgraded its domain name from to the exact brand match Arcadia dropped the word “Power” to better match its mission and vision.

We don’t own power plants or take positions in the energy market. We are, first and foremost, a mission-driven technology company building a platform that advocates for consumers, not big power companies. Beyond a shorter name and a refreshed logo, it’s important that we continue to evolve and distinguish ourselves from retail energy suppliers or utilities.

CEO Kiran Bhatraju –

When Aaron Marino, a very popular men’s lifestyle blogger, started a new sunglasses company called ENEMY, he searched the various ENEMY domain names and ENEMY trademark — and they were available for sunglasses. In October 2018, Enemy Eyewear was conceived, with the registration of at least two domain names, and

Those names however didn’t reflect the strive for luxury nor did they allow the brand to expand to other product categories. In February 2019, Aaron acquired the exact brand match domain name

This is a luxury brand, everything has to go with it. The domain is premium. The quality is premium. The packaging is premium.

Aaron Marino

The company is now offering bracelets and cuffs too. –

Domino’s pizza story began in 1960 with just one location. It was founded by James Monaghan, Tom Monaghan and Dominick DiVarti. Back then, Domino’s was called DomiNick’s. Five years later, Tom Monaghan was looking to rename the business as Dominick DiVarti wouldn’t let him franchise his name for more stores. One day, an employee, Jim Kennedy, returned from a pizza delivery and suggested the name “Domino’s”. Monaghan loved the idea and officially renamed the business to Domino’s Pizza.

The company grew quickly, and by 1978 there were around two hundred outlets in the country. The pizza chain changed its name from Domino’s Pizza to Domino’s in 2012 because — as they say — the brand is about so much more than pizza.

The company has both and domain names. – –

Buffer was not always called Buffer. When Joel first launched the company he named it Bfffer, which was inspired by forrst and dribble, two companies doing pretty well at the time. He actually only wanted two f’s but the domain was already taken so he settled with three. The company started out with, when Joel launched Buffer in late 2010. Joel went on to change it to, to make things a bit more clear.

“Our customers landed on and tried to call them to discuss a credit card charge. This was greatly damaging to Buffer’s customer service delivery. It’s likely that potential leads were also landing on the wrong website and phoning the wrong company as a result.”

On 10 March 2015 Buffer announced that they have acquired the exact brand match The previous owners were SealGuard Heat Sealing Buffers.

We felt that the longer we waited to buy the domain, the more expensive it would get. Every year that Buffer would get bigger would mean that the owner could feel comfortable charging a higher sum. So going about it sooner rather than later felt right.

Rodolphe Dutel, Buffer Product Specialist

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How does your brand name match your company vision? What new horizons can a better name open? Get in touch if you feel your brand deserves a better name, we are always happy to help.

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