folder Filed in Monthly News Recap, Reports
August 2021 recap: Which brands and domains made headlines
By Kristina Misic access_time 19 min read

August is a time for a holiday and relaxing. Without a doubt, August gives entrepreneurs something that you rarely have: time. Still, business owners and savvy entrepreneurs don’t seem to be wasting time this August. On the contrary, they worked hard to build their brands – and thus provided us with a large amount of news we observed in the past 31 days. Hello and welcome to our August 2021 recap, a blog post that gives you an overview of the most relevant branding, naming, and domain name news. So let’s start!

Big brands going direct to customers

According to recent research, more than one in seven shops are now vacant on UK high streets, retail parks and shopping centers, the highest proportion since at least 2015, as the Covid-19 pandemic ramped up pressure on already weakened retailers. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen iconic brands like Gap, Topshop, John Lewis and Cath Kidson shutter stores. It’s clear that having an effective online presence will be crucial for business survival. Is your business ready for the unexpected? What are you doing today to have a strong brand tomorrow?

OnlyFans decided to block sexually explicit content

OnlyFans’ announcement on Aug. 19 that it would ban sexually explicit content on its main platform came as a shock to sex workers who largely helped fuel the platform’s success. In an effort to become more mainstream, a self-described “subscription social network” plans to prohibit porn from Oct.1, citing pressure from its banking partners. The site’s name has become shorthand for homegrown pornography thanks to its slick interface, easy user experience and, importantly, loose content policy. 

The domain name Marketing.com sold in one of the largest publicly disclosed domain deals of 2021.

Have you heard the big news of the sale of Marketing.com for a whopping $2.5 million? Most likely, ColorArt.com invested in this virtual asset which is likely to increase in value over time. Congrats to the buyer and the seller!

Disney cannot use its Star+ brand for now because it is too easily confused with Starz

A judge in Sao Paolo granted a temporary restraining order holding that Disney cannot use the brand name when the service debuts on Aug. 31. Starz, a Lionsgate company, operates the Starzplay streaming service in international territories. It launched in Brazil in 2019, and trademarked the term “STARZPLAY.” Star+ will essentially be the Hulu and ESPN+ of Latin America, with an assortment of general entertainment and sports.

Kim Kardashian is in a legal tussle over new brand name

It appears that in March this year, Kim’s corporation, Kimsaprincess, filed several trademark applications for the brand names SKKN and SKKN BY KIM as she gears up to launch a skincare company following the success of her beauty and shapewear brands, KKW Beauty and Skims. However, Kim Kardashian’s efforts to rebrand and relaunch her line have hit a legal obstacle – there’s another brand claiming they’ve already locked down the name.

On August 1st at midnight, we will be shutting down the kkwbeauty.com site so that we can come back to you under a completely new brand.

KKW Beauty said in a statement in July 2021

Facebook changed its privacy settings (again)

One of the most frustrating aspects of using Facebook’s vast network arises when digging through the settings to attempt to find the switch or option that specifies who can see what, when sharing photos and posts with others, changing ad preferences, and other details that shape the Facebook experience. Now if you want to update your privacy settings, all you need to do is visit all of these new categories and subcategories individually. Any one of them might have a crucial toggle inside — it’s like a treasure hunt!

Frank Ocean launched a luxury brand named Homer

Frank Ocean has a few other ways of staying busy. He just launched a luxury brand named Homer, which takes its name from the Greek poet and “father of history”. Ocean has secured the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Homer.com. What a great name, right? Explaining the motivation behind the brand and its first collection – a line of fine jewelry and silk scarves designed in New York and handmade in Italy – Ocean said: “I know Homer used papyrus, but I’ve always liked the idea of carving history into stone.”

August 2021 rebrands we loved

Circus Social rebranded as Radarr

Circus Social rebranded as Radarr as it evolves to cater to an ever-increasing demand for predictive digital insights in Asia. The company owns the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Radarr.com that will surely unlock some wider possibilities for expansion and growth. Curious to find out why they picked the name “Radarr”? Read more here.

Piercing Pagoda has gotten a name change and rebranding

In an effort to connect with a larger customer base and highlight its innovations, the company chose the name Banter by Piercing Pagoda. The original Piercing Pagoda name was selected in honor of Bethlehem’s Japanese sister city, Tondabayashi, and inspired by the architecture of the Plymouth Meeting Mall which reminded Cohen of a pagoda. The company acquired the domain name Banter.com from IBM that is currently redirecting to Pagoda․com.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is now simply “Charlotte”

UNC Charlotte is marking its 75th anniversary with a new look — switching up its preferred name. “Hi, we’re Charlotte. Nice to meet you,” the university said in its news release. Market research found that “UNCC” caused confusion within the Charlotte community and with prospective students, the school said. The URL for the university’s website is Charlotte.edu since Aug. 19. The old URL, uncc.edu, automatically redirects to the new one for at least the next year. Charlotte.com belongs to the Charlotte Observer, an American English language newspaper serving Charlotte, North Carolina. As of 2020, it has the second-largest circulation of any newspaper in the Carolinas.

Custom Foods has rebranded as Custom Bakehouse

Custom Foods has rebranded as Custom Bakehouse, a move the 27-year-old company said better reflects its legacy as a private label co-packer of baking and drink mixes as well as its expanding product portfolio. In addition to the corporate rebranding, Custom Bakehouse said it has launched an integrated corporate website CustomBakehouse.com. Seems logical, the new website provides direct-to-consumer capability so the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain will definitely make sense for their customers.

Gamasutra has rebranded to Game Developer

Gamasutra, the organization that has brought the latest in video game industry news, opinion, and developer insight, has rebranded to Game Developer on August 26, 2021. Aside from a new name, from now on you’ll be visiting an all-new website. Game Developer is located on the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain GameDeveloper.com. The company also owns the domain name Gamasutra.com which redirects to GameDeveloper.com at the moment. Read more about this rebrand.

Xiaomi’s product series “Mi” will be renamed to “Xiaomi”

Xiaomi is forging a new path when it comes to branding its products. Going forwards, none of its new devices will carry the ‘Mi’ moniker. Should we remind you Xiaomi acquired the domain name mi.com in 2014? The idea is to unify its global brand presence. The company will stick to the Redmi branding, though.

Kanye West has filed documents in Los Angeles to legally change his name to Ye

Even celebrities change their names in favor of shorter ones. The rapper has filed documents in Los Angeles to legally change his name from Kanye West to Ye, the nickname he has gone by in recent years. The star is due to release his next album, named after his mother Donda, imminently, although it has already been delayed a number of times.

Paxos Global has announced that it is changing the name of its crypto asset from PAX to USDP

Paxos, the company behind the Paxos Standard stablecoin (PAX), has announced that it is changing the name of its crypto asset. Paxos Standard is now Pax Dollar, and you’ll soon be able to identify it on your favorite cryptocurrency exchange, wallet or explorer under the USDP ticker.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (also referred to as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine) would now like to be known as Comirnaty 

With official FDA approval, the Pfizer vaccine can now be marketed as “Comirnaty” in the US. You may be wondering how this name arose so we are there to help you. Apparently, the name is supposed to be a combination of community, immunity, Covid-19, and mRNA. The correct phonetic pronunciation of this new brand name will be koe-mir’-na-tee. Pfizer acquired the domain Comirnaty.com.

August 2021 naming and domain lessons learned the hard way

Cleveland baseball team now in a fight with roller derby team over the name Guardians

The Cleveland Indians have changed their team name to the Cleveland Guardians, effective at the end of the 2021 season. However, it appears their new nickname, the Guardians, is already being used by a local team — and of all things it’s a roller derby team. Now only that, it even owns the domain name ClevelandGuardians.com. A good lesson for us all: Before changing your team’s name, you might want to consult the internet. Cleveland’s MLB team spent all this time and money on the name they don’t own (and maybe they never will).

Oatly lost its naming battle against a British family-run business

A family-run farm has won a legal battle against the multimillion-pound makers of plant milk, Oatly, which accused it of trademark infringement. Judge Nicholas Caddick at London’s High Court concluded there was only a “very modest level of similarity” between the Glebe Farm branding and Oatly’s so he rejected Oatly’s claim that what Glebe Farm had created “amounted to a misrepresentation that its goods were those of, or were licensed by, Oatly”.

Chinatown Market has unveiled its new name – but what about their domain name?

The streetwear brand formerly known as Chinatown Market has unveiled its new name: MA®KET. After cultural appropriation accusations, the company announced in a statement that the name change was “just the beginning.” Unfortunately, the label failed to secure the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Market.com. The company uses “MarketMarketMarket.com,” which currently sells a multitude of branded hoodies, crewnecks, T-shirts, sweatpants and shorts as part of a preliminary drop under the new imprint. 

Waitr is paying out $4.7 million and must change the name of its delivery app

Lafayette-based delivery food service Waitr must stop using the Waitr name and its trademark as part of a settlement with the California-based Waiter.com. Under the settlement agreement, Waitr will have a 12-month period where it can continue operations as Waitr, but it cannot add new restaurants under the Waitr brand in certain West Coast markets during that time. Waiter.com was founded in 1995, pioneering online restaurant ordering in the Silicon Valley area. The company was expected to see revenues drop, according to Zacks Equity Research

After rebranding, Coco Bean Coffee Shop & Cafe failed to secure the exact brand match domain name Coco.com

Coco Bean Coffee Shop & Cafe is getting ready to brew up a new location and a bigger menu this fall. The business will also change its name slightly: after the move, Coco Bean Coffee Shop & Cafe will be known simply as Coco. However, the brand failed to secure the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain as it belongs to CHANEL. Instead, the company operates on CocoBeanCoffeeShop.com.

Funding rounds, Acquisitions, Exits and IPOs in August 2021

Kuda Bank raised $55 million at $500 million valuation

Kuda Bank, the London-based, Nigerian-operating startup has closed a Series B of $55 million. This funding was made at a valuation of $500 million. Kuda bank owns both domains KudaBank.com and Kuda.com. It has 1.4M registered users, which is more than double the number it had in March when it had 650,000 registered users.

Palta closed $100 million Series B Funding Round

Health and wellness apps startup Palta has raised $100 million in a Series B funding round led by Per Brillioth at VNV Global, with the participation of Target Global and other existing and new investors. Palta operates on its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Palta.com and it claims to have 2.4M active paid subscribers in their apps. How do you market your app so that it breaks through the noise?

FullStory raised $103 million at a $1.8 billion valuation

The Atlanta-based firm has closed a Sequence D spherical of $103 million. The company, which has raised near $170 million so far, has confirmed that the funding values the corporate at $1.eight billion. FullStory operates on its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain FullStory.com. When Scott Voigt, the Founder and CEO of FullStory was asked how much his company benefitted from investing in the domain he said: “It was the best money I’ve ever spent… EVER.” Now we see why.

Dataiku announced it has raised a $400 million Series E

Data science platform Dataiku announced it has raised a $400 million Series E, bringing its valuation to $4.6 billion. The company owns the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Dataiku.com that surely helps them attract more startups and SMBs onto the platform.

Hopin announced it has raised $450M in Series D funding

The leading shared experiences platform Hopin will use this capital to accelerate growth to further scale the platform and invest in the development of its multi-product platform technologies, including building new product suites. Launched on Hopin.to domain, Hopin upgraded to the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Hopin.com in October 2020. How does your domain support your company’s growth?

Bluecore has raised $125 million in a series E round of funding at a $1 billion valuation

Bluecore, a marketing technology company that helps some of world’s biggest retailers “transform casual shoppers into lifetime customers,” has raised $125 million in a Series E round of funding at a $1 billion valuation. The startup operates on the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Bluecore.com which gives them a competitive advantage in their marketplace. How do you stand out from your competitors?

Mindtickle announced that it has raised an additional $100 million in Series E funding

With a total of $281M in total funding, the leader in sales readiness technology is now valued at $1.2 billion. The company owns the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Mindtickle.com and it claims to have doubled the number of Fortune 500 and Forbes Global 2000 companies it counts as customers. We are not surprised, they got their online presence on point.

FreshBooks raised $80.75M in a Series E round

FreshBooks announced it has secured $80.75 million in a Series E round of funding, as well as $50 million in debt financing. FreshBooks operates on the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain FreshBooks.com. How does your domain name match your desired brand name?

Remato announced it has raised a $1.7 million seed investment round

Founded in 2018 by Madis Lehtmets, Remato is a B2B SaaS for small and medium construction companies. The startup is streamlining the construction sector’s transition from analog to digital. The company operates on the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Remato.com. From a branding perspective, an EBM is synonymous with credibility, transparency, and trust. What proof can customers witness as evidence of your trustworthiness?

Pave has raised $46 million in funding

The round, which valued the company at $400m, was led by the YC Continuity Fund with participation from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners and others. Pave owns the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Pave.com that is short and memorable enough to stick in the user’s mind and prompt a visit later. How memorable is your domain name?

Talkdesk announced that it raised $230 million at a post-money valuation of $10 billion

Talkdesk, a startup that makes software used by companies to operate contact centres efficiently, announced that after a $230 million funding round, it has reached a valuation of more than $10 billion. Talkdesk owns the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Talkdesk.com and it currently has over 1,800 customers. How do you keep expanding your customer base?

Chime raised $750 million, scores $25 billion valuation

Chime Financial, a banking app company, has raised $750 million in a new funding round led by Sequoia Capital Global Equities. In 2017, Chime upgraded its domain from ChimeBank.com to the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Chime.com. Now, Chime is one of a number of fast-growing neobanks that have drawn the attention of venture capitalists and sought to challenge the supremacy of traditional banking companies.

Gelato hits unicorn status after raising $240 million

Gelato hits unicorn status after raising $240 million and pushing its valuation up to $1.05 billion. A Norwegian-born platform that enables creators around the globe to produce and ship customized products on-demand in the end-customer’s market, own the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Gelato.com. How easy is it for your potential and existing customers to find your brand online?

Ultrahuman raised $17.5 million in Series B Funding

Ultrahuman, the metabolic fitness platform, raised $17.5 million in series-B funding, as it aims to help over a billion people in the world suffering from a metabolic health disorder. Ultrahuman operates on its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Ultrahuman.com and says it’s seeing 60% week over week growth in sign-ups. How unique is your platform, and what strategies are you using to compete with your competitors?

Trading platform BitPanda raised $263 million at a $4.1 billion valuation

BitPanda raised $263 million Series C led by Peter Thiel’s Valor Ventures, FinTech startups are now worth a whopping $ 4.1 billion-crypto trading cooks with gas. BitPanda owns the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Bitpanda.com. With more than 1.2 million users acquired in the first half of 2021, we have no doubt that their domain has helped them achieve such impressive results.

Cart.com raised $98 million Series B for e-commerce platform

Cart.com, a Houston TX-based company providing end-to-end eCommerce services, raised $98 million in Series B funding. Cart.com domain name was acquired around September 23, 2020, from its past owners for an undisclosed amount. As you can see, the company decided to include the .com in their brand name. We are not surprised, they are certainly proud of this magnificent branding move!

Mobilecoin raised $66 million in Series B Funding Round

MobileCoin, a cryptocurrency startup that counts founder Moxie Marlinspike of the encrypted messaging app Signal as its earliest technical advisor, has raised $66 million in Series B funding from a long list of investors. The company operates on the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Mobilecoin.com. It surely results in more direct traffic and increased customer trust. How do you build trust with your customers?

Korean 3D spatial data tool startup Urbanbase closed $11.1 million Series B+ Round

Urbanbase, a Seoul-based organization that fosters a 3D spatial information stage for inside arranging and configuration, declared it has raised $11.1 million (13 billion won) in a Series B round as it increases. The Seoul-based company owns the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Urbanbase.com. It claims 50,000 monthly active users with 70,000 registered B2C users.

WHOOP has raised $200 million at a $3.6 billion valuation

Wearable technology company Whoop has raised $200 million, bringing the company’s valuation to $3.6 billion. The company operates on the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain WHOOP(.com) and is the most valuable standalone human performance company in the world. How do you build and grow a strong and lasting brand?


We hope you enjoyed reading all the above because this past month was filled with some interesting branding lessons. Don’t forget you can always find us on MarkUpgrade’s Twitter account where we have daily posts with startup, branding, naming, domain and business news (and helpful tips).

What caught your attention this August 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.


Don’t forget to check our August interviews:

James Buckley-Thorp, Founder of BeQuest, on how to make life insurance fun

Names with stories: The story behind BBQGrills.com

Names with stories: The story behind envoPAP.com

Names with stories: The story behind RunAndHop.com