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January 2021 recap: Which brands and domains made headlines
By Kristina Mišić access_time 8 min read

Say whatever you want about January, except that it was a slow month for business (or news for that matter). Let us review some of the most interesting branding and domain name news we observed in the past 31 days.

The rules for owning Australian domain names are changing

On the domain names front, news broke in late January that the rules for registering Australian domain names were changing starting April 2021 for those businesses currently owning or domain names and those who want to register them. This will affect businesses who currently own or domain. How safe is your online brand?

Australian domain names

The UK lost its right to .eu domain names as a result of the regulatory changes caused by Brexit

For thousands of UK business owners, January brought the unpleasant surprise of finding their websites suspended. According to regulatory changes imposed by Brexit, all .eu domains registered by British citizens were suspended because these are only available for European Union citizens, or non-EU citizens and companies whose operations were based on a member nation. While 50,000 users got offered three months to appeal and update their information to see if they could still use the domains, there will probably be many others who will not have a second chance. This represents a massive loss of potential business opportunities, financial resources, profits, and brand equity that could have been avoided if the owners had acquired a .com domain. 

At the mercy of the App Store: Amphetamine app was almost removed by Apple

The popular app Amphetamine got lucky on January 2, when Apple decided it could remain on the App Store catalog after its developer received a message stating that the name of the app violated the company’s guidelines, and the only way to avoid removal from the platform was to change its logo and name. A move that potentially would destroy the app’s brand recognition and awareness. The case was amicably resolved after an appeal but it should serve as a lesson for everyone interested in developing a brand. When your sole product’s existence in the hands of others who have a say on the rules and can change them anytime, the stakes for your brand are too high. Choose wisely a domain name that not only can stand the test of time, but also is not subject to facing potential controversies.

Brands and third-party platforms

Bottega Veneta has left social media

The renowned brand Bottega Veneta shut down all their social media profiles without giving any notice or explanation. Whether it is a marketing stunt, a definite move, or a strategy, one thing is for sure: A well-established brand like BV does not need social media to sustain or grow its awareness, business, or reputation. We were also curious to hear some opinions on this topic, so we asked entrepreneurs what are their thoughts on Bottega Veneta’s move; you can read what they said here.

The Parler app was not so lucky with the rules of the third-party platforms

The Parler app was removed from Apple’s App Store, Amazon, and Play Store, citing that Parler was non-compliant with their content moderation requirements. While this could be another case of a brand relying on somebody else’s platform to exist, one silver lining that Parler has is that it owns the EBM domain, which could be a starting point to refocus its brand strategy by using a channel that will be no subject to third-party input.

What’s Up with WhatsApp

WhatsApp announced an update on its privacy rules, a piece of news that caused millions of users to flee to other messaging platforms such as Signal and Telegram over data privacy concerns. Faced with a massive loss of users, and social media backlash, the company decided to postpone the update.

WhatsApp rules

Coon Cheese rebrands after anti-racism campaign

80-year brand Coon Cheese announced a rebranding after facing an anti-racism campaign on social media for the racial connotations of the word “coon”. The company announced it would change the name to Cheer Cheese.

Kia dropped ‘Motors’ from its corporate name and will be only be known as ‘Kia’

The automotive giant KIA notified that it would drop the “Motors” from its brand name with the hope to expand its product offering to other markets. The relaunched brand will introduce vehicles that are likely to cater the e-commerce and car-sharing services including low-floor vehicles and delivery vans. According to Wikipedia, the name “Kia” derives from the Sino-Korean characters 起 (ki, ‘to arise’) and 亞 (a, which stands for 亞細亞, meaning ‘Asia‘); it is roughly translated as “Rising from Asia.” Of course, a South Korean multinational automotive manufacturer owns its EBM domain name The lesson is definitely learned, even big brands understand the importance of simplification.

Motion Industries launches rebrand as ‘Motion’

Another company that announced its rebranding was Motion Industries, which will be going by just Motion, a smart move for its branding strategy, which is already going strong thanks to owning its EBM domain name

STANDS4 LLC acquired the domain name 

The domain was acquired by STANDS4, a company that manages several educational and creative services, such as,,, to name a few. The site was previously run by a Maryland-based company called The International Library of Poetry, also known as the International Society of Poets and the International Poetry Hall of Fame. domain name

Godiva is closing all of its chocolate shops in the US – but don’t worry, chocolate will be sold online

Godiva products will no longer be available to buy in its boutique stores since the company decided to shut them down after the pandemic, and from now on will solely focus on online sales.

Startup fundings

Funding round-up for January 2021

There were some big funding rounds on emerging companies worth mentioning, particularly because all of them have EBM domain names, which make their brands stronger and more recognizable:

Fintech Company Affirm priced its initial public offering at $49 and was on the path to raise at least $1.2 billion. Affirm had acquired its EBM domain early in 2014, consolidating its brand presence. 

Compass, also filed papers to go public after seeing a surge in real estate sales in the past year. Fortunately, for customers and investors of Compass, the company owns its EBM domain name, which simplifies the process to be found online.

Another company raising capital to expand its business to the United States was Curve, which got $95 million and will benefit from having lots of new dealings thanks to owning its EBM domain name

Meanwhile, Robinhood raised $1 billion in new funding from existing investors. They have the EBM, and their website was online for the first time in February 2014.

Booksy also raised $70M in a Series C round. The company invested in its brand by acquiring the EBM domain, which means that their audience can easily find them online. 

Ringover raised €10 million in a Series A round of funding. Back in April 2019, it acquired the EBM domain to expand its brand internationally. 

IMVU has raised over $77M from five rounds since it was co-founded by The Lean’s startup author Eric Ries back in 2004. The company owns its EBM domain name, and it saw record growth with over 7 million monthly active users in 2020. 

Wolt, which owns its EBM domain name, raised $530m to expand its speedily-growing retail delivery service. 

Rivian has raised another $2.65 billion. Rivian secured its EBM domain name to signify stability and confidence for its users. 

Keep closed a Series F financing round of $360 million led by SoftBank Vision Fund. Keep owns its EBM domain name, short and memorable enough to stick in the user’s mind and prompt a visit later. 

We hope you enjoyed reading all the above because this past month was filled with some interesting branding lessons. What caught your attention this January 2021? Feel free to let us know! In the meantime, if you want to say hi or have any questions about naming, branding, and domain names get in touch, we’re always happy to hear from you.

branding domain name domains january recap naming news