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May 2021 recap: Which brands and domains made headlines
By Kristina Mišić access_time 21 min read

Hello and welcome to our Monthly News Recap where we provide you with an overview of the most relevant branding, naming and domain name news. Let’s see what May 2021 brought us!

Lockdown forced more businesses to move online

Nominet has released an updated map of the Online World to reflect the changes it has seen in domain registration during the pandemic. According to the report, domain registrations are higher than ever. The rise is said to be due to businesses around the world moving online in response to lockdown restrictions, which prompted the increase in domain names that included words such as “delivery” and “online”.

“It’s getting more difficult and costly to run a business on Amazon.”

China’s e-commerce exporters have been in shock and panic in May after several top Chinese sellers, also the largest across the entire marketplace were suspended from Amazon. The company has shut down accounts over fake reviews and other behavior that violate its rules. Chinese sellers are swarming not just Amazon but also eBay, Wish, Shopee and Alibaba’s AliExpress. Another lesson for brands who have decided to build their brands on third-party websites, right? Still not sure? Take a look at our blog on what could happen when you lean on third-party platforms as your main place for people to find you.

Food delivery apps are making big bets on online grocery shopping

Food delivery apps like UberEats, DoorDash and Deliveroo are making big bets on online grocery shopping. Their businesses have thrived as people spent more time at home due to coronavirus restrictions. Investors believe these startups will thrive long after the pandemic.

Diem pivoted once again

Libra was rebranded as Diem in a renewed effort to gain regulatory approval in December 2020. At the time, the company also acquired the EBM domain Diem.com. The digital payments and cryptocurrency project spearheaded by Facebook now plans to launch a U.S. dollar stablecoin as it scales back its global ambitions to focus on the U.S.

Standard Life Aberdeen changed its name to Abrdn

After changing name and dropping vowels (joining brands such as Flickr, Scribd, Grindr and Tumblr), the move was met with bafflement and scorn from linguists, who wondered if the name was now pronounced Aburden, Abradon or Aberdeen. Not so clever idea if it encouraging people to scratch their head and think what the word was, right? Guess the time will tell.

The Washington Red Wolves stands out as a new moniker for the Washington Football Team

More than 40,000 fans of the Washington Football Team have suggested new names to replace the old one that shall go unmentioned. Red Wolves — or Redwolves, one word — is among the most frequently suggested options in the debate preoccupying fans when we’re not obsessing over the team’s draft picks.

Just Kitchen Holdings Corp. acquires virtual branding rights to the Life Kitchen and and Kai Guo Ji

Founded in 2017, Just Kitchen Holdings Corp., an operator of ghost kitchens specializing in the development of delivery-only food brands for customers, has recently acquired the virtual branding rights to the Life Kitchen (“Life Kitchen”) and Kai Guo Ji, which translates as Hot Pot Festival (“Hot Pot Festival”), as third-party Taiwanese food brands.

BettingNews.com has rebranded

The sports betting industry is evolving and so is Betting News. Along with a comprehensive rebrand and redesign of the website, the company also owns its EBM (ExactBrandMatch) domain BettingNews.com. Can you imagine a better domain for a website dedicated to news in the sports betting industry?

The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is rebranding itself, a move that the museum’s director says “really emphasizes the ‘National’ in our name.” The revamped brand announcement comes one day before the National Gallery reopens to the public after being closed since November 2020.

Morneau Shepell announced its global rebrand to LifeWorks

Morneau Shepell Inc., a leading provider of technology-enabled total wellbeing solutions, announced its global rebrand to LifeWorks Inc. The rebrand initiates a new chapter for the company and supports the organization’s commitment to delivering a continuum of care that improves lives and improves business on a global scale. LifeWorks Inc. acquired the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain LifeWorks.com. This represents a significant milestone in the company’s growth strategy. When you grow, will your business name grow with you?

The Louie’s Footlong brand name will be retired

The owners of Louie’s Hot Dogs in Tonawanda say they are planning on retiring and closing the store for good after 70 years in business.

Uncle Ben is now Ben’s Original Ben’s

The brand formerly known as Uncle Ben’s just relaunched with a new name — Ben’s Original — and new packaging, and the company’s products are already showing up in stores across the country. Just to remind you, in the wake of Floyd’s death last year, Quaker Oats also said that it would be renaming its brand Aunt Jemima after many consumers claimed that it perpetuated a racist stereotype.

Chinatown Market announced it would ditch its original brand name

Nearly two months ago, Chinatown Market announced it would ditch its original brand name in wake of the targeted attacks against Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. However, the name alteration is still in progress.

A British clothing retailer Timbuktu has come under fire for trademarking the name

Timbuktu, an outdoor clothing brand based in northern England, has come under fire for trademarking the name of the west African Yoruba people several years ago, igniting a debate online about whether trademarking names of ethnic groups amounts to cultural appropriation. The Yoruba people form one of the largest ethnic groups in western Africa, and make up around a sixth of Nigeria’s population.

A Texas tequila company has called on Kendall Jenner to ‘change’ the name and branding of her new tequila line 

Oops! Jenner has recently released a new tequila brand called “818”, but some have accused it of having a similar name, design and logo as an existing brand, Tequila 512. They’re both made at the same Mexican distillery.

Kia Motors India has dropped the word ‘Motors’ from the name

Kia Motors India has dropped the word ‘Motors’ from the name and is officially now ‘Kia India’. The move is part of the company’s new brand identity and brand purpose of ‘Movement that Inspires’. Kia has also changed its logo from a roundel to a simple text format. 

Facebook is launching Neighborhoods

Facebook is launching a new section of its app designed to connect neighbors and curate neighborhood-level news. The new feature, predictably called Neighborhoods. “It’s a great name,” you would say? Yes, it is, but another great company owns the domain name Neighborhoods.com. Neighborhoods.com™ is a full-service brokerage and an easy-to-use online real estate resource and, as you can see, the company already trademarked its name.

On the first Friday of May, we celebrated Space Day 

Space Day is celebrated annually to promote the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields among young people. Did you know that all of the planets, except for Earth, were named after Roman gods and goddesses? Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, and Mercury got their names thousands of years ago. The ancient Romans could see them in the sky without a telescope.

Chime has agreed to stop referring to itself as a “bank”

Chime might call itself the “fastest-growing fintech in the U.S.,” but it has agreed to stop referring to itself as a “bank”. Just to remind you, Chime upgraded its domain name from ChimeBank.com to the EBM (ExactBrandMatch) Chime.com in 2017.

Roku hit 53.6 million active accounts in Q1

After wrapping a record year in 2020, Roku has continued its momentum into the first part of 2021. Roku acquired the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Roku.com in 2012. The platform more than doubled its monetized video ad impressions year over year in Q1 and increased streaming hours by 1.4 billion over the last quarter.

LEGO has unveiled a new LGBTQ set

In the most inclusive move yet by the toy-brick company, LEGO has unveiled a new LGBTQ set that will arrive in time for this year’s Pride Month in June. The set is called “Everyone Is Awesome.”

Image credit: abc7news.com

Facebook and Instagram users can now prevent others from seeing how many likes they receive on posts

Facebook and Instagram users will have the option to hide like counts on their own posts, as well as hide like counts on posts they see from other people in their feed. It will be interesting to see how it how will affect marketing.

Luxury brands are going digital

A new partnership between Roblox and Gucci brings digital items from the fashion house into the platform’s metaverse alongside a new limited-run digital experience. The new space, called Gucci Garden, debuts today for a two-week run on the Roblox platform. It seems if you haven’t started your digital transformation, you are falling behind.

The digital bank Monzo saw spikes in both brand awareness and app downloads

In 2016, Monzo rebranded from Mondo and acquired the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Monzo.com upgrading from GetMonzo.co.uk. The digital bank’s marketing boss says its community and organic word-of-mouth remain key. We’re not surprised, word-of-mouth marketing works with a strong and memorable domain name.

Shein takes the crown from Amazon as the most downloaded shopping app in the U.S.

Shein‘s quiet rise has reached a crescendo as the fast fashion e-commerce app takes the crown from Amazon as the most downloaded shopping app on iOS and Android in the United States. Shein operates on the EBM (ExactBrandMatch) domain Shein.com. When you build a brand for your app, you invest in your future and independence.

Funding rounds, Acquisitions, Exits and IPOs in May 2021

According to Crunchbase, May 2021 marked the third-highest funding month for global venture funding in the past decade, with venture investors spending  $43.7 billion last month, up 50 percent year over year. Let’s see which startups (and especially their names and domain names) have particularly caught our eye this month.

Wealthsimple raises $750 million CAD (~$610 million)

Canadian fintech giant Wealthsimple has raised a new round of $750 million CAD (~$610 million) at a post-money valuation of $5 billion CAD (~$4 billion). The startup operates on its EBM (ExactBrandMatch) domain Wealthsimple.com. How do you get the brand recognition that is so important and so valuable for your business?

Genies scores $65 million

LA-based Genies has come closer than any startup before it to realizing the full vision of a wide-reaching avatar platform. The startup upgraded its domain name from Genies(.LA) to the EBM (ExactBrandMatch) domain Genies.com in 2017. They have certainly made a great base for achieving their goals.

Okta has announced that its $6.5 billion Auth0 acquisition is now complete

The Okta and Auth0 deal will increase their cloud IT spend as part of ongoing digital transformation efforts, which generate an even greater need to invest in security. Okta operates on its EBM (ExactBrandMatch) domain Okta.com. Keeping it short makes it memorable, right?

SafetyCulture closed a new $73 million round of funding

SafetyCulture, a startup developing software for workplace safety and quality management, announced that it closed a new $73 million round of funding, valuing the company at $1.6 billion. The company operates on its EBM (ExactBrandMatch) domain SafetyCulture.com. The pandemic has helped to drive SafetyCulture’s growth, how is your #brand responding and adapting?

Flextock has closed a $3.25 million pre-seed investment

Flextock, one of the 10 African startups from the recent Y Combinator winter batch, has bagged an impressive pre-seed round just two months after graduation. Flextock operates on its EBM (ExactBrandMatch) domain Flextock.com and it is growing 25% week-on-week. How strong is your online presence?

Kahoot acquired Clever

Kahoot!, a global learning platform company, announced the acquisition of Clever Inc. The partnership between two of the most popular platforms in education will provide improved learning solutions and offerings to U.S. schools while accelerating the global expansion of Clever’s solutions. Clever operates on its EBM (ExactBrandMatch) domain name Clever.com which is positive for their brand recognition, credibility, and trust. It’s not surprising that some fantastic business opportunities have opened up!

Danish skincare startup Nøie has raised $12 million

Copenhagen-based skincare platform Nøie raised $12 million in Series A round. Nøie own its EBM (ExactBrandMatch) domain name Noie.com. How does your domain name help you communicate your mission, values, and value propositions? How does it match your brand name?

Duolingo is valued at $2.4 billion with over 500 million registered learners

Did you know Duolingo got its name by combining the words “Duo,” coming from the Latin meaning two and “Lingo,” coming from the Latin “lingua” meaning tongue or language? The founders have built a great brand around the name and Duolingo is now valued at $2.4 billion with over 500 million registered learners.

Block.one launched a crypto exchange called Bullish

Bullish, as the exchange will be known, is being capitalized by Block.one with about $10 billion in digital assets and cash. Bullish acquired the EBM (Exact Brand Match) #domain name Bullish.com in November 2021.

Better.com goes public via SPAC at $7.7B valuation

SoftBank Group-backed digital lender Better.com plans to make its public debut in the fourth quarter of 2021 via SPAC, in a deal that would value the company at nearly $8 billion. As you can see, the team behind Better.com decided to include the .com in their brand name and we are not surprised, they are certainly proud of their great domain name.

Huma has closed funding of $130 million

Huma has closed funding of $130 million ($100 million in equity, and $30 million in credit). The company rebranded from Medopad to Huma in April 2020. Smartly, the team behind the brand acquired the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Huma(.com) before announcing the big news about the rebrand.

Vinted raised €250M (~$303 million)

Vinted, Europe’s largest online C2C platform dedicated to second-hand fashion with more than 45 million members globally, has raised €250 million of new investment in a Series F funding round. To help people find and spread the word about them easily, Vinted operates on its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Vinted.com. How much effort does it take the customer to figure out how to find your brand online?

Panaseer has raised $26.5 million in a Series B funding

Cybersecurity startup Panaseer has raised $26.5 million in a Series B funding led by AllegisCyber Capital. Panaseer owns the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Panaseer.com and has raised $43 million to date. How do you want to be perceived by your potential investors?

Jamf has signed an agreement to acquire Wandera for $400 million

Apple enterprise management firm Jamf announced it has signed an agreement to acquire zero-trust cloud security startup Wandera Inc. for $400 million. Founded in 2012, Wandera operates on the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Wandera.com which opened global visibility for this business. How far in the future do you think when you think about your brand?

Unmind has raised $47 million  

Unmind raised $47 million that the company will use to invest in its research and development and also to expand its business reach. Unmind uses the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Unimind.com for its brand. The company said that revenues grew by more than 3x in the last 12 months.

Ashton Kutcher-backed Collective raised $20 million

San Francisco-based fintech platform Collective has raised $20 million Series A funding after launching only late last year. The startup owns its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Collective.com which means more direct traffic, easier client conversions, and more effective marketing campaigns.

 Stampli announced a $50 million Series C financing round

Stampli raises $50 million in Series C to help companies intelligently manage invoices. The company launched in 2015 with the EBM (Exact Brand Match) name Stampli.com and it has about 1,000 customers (with $20B in transactions).

PayPal announced today it’s acquiring Happy Returns

PayPal announced it’s acquiring Happy Returns, a returns solution provider that offers online shoppers access to easier ways to send back unwanted merchandise to retailers without having to box it up and ship it themselves. Happy Returns own the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain HappyReturns.com and has a network of more than 2,600 drop-off returns locations in the U.S. How do you build trust with your customers/clients?

JD.com raised up to about HK$26.4 billion or $3.4 billion

Did you know JD.com was formerly called 360buy? JD.com, Alibaba’s e-commerce rival in China, changed its domain to 360buy.com in June 2007 and then to JD.com in 2013. The company is currently the largest shareholder of JD Logistics with an aggregate stake of 79%.

Adalo closed an $8 million series A round

Adalo plans to put the round toward product development and hiring, according to co-founder and CEO David Adkin, as well as supporting its go-to-market efforts. To avoid confusion over Foundry vs Foundry Platform, Adalo changed its name in July 2019. The company acquired the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Adalo.com.

Amount has raised $99 million

Amount, a company that provides technology to banks and financial institutions, has raised $99 million in a Series D funding round at a valuation of just over $1 billion. Considering that one of the biggest trends in fintech today is the rise of digital banking, it’s great to see Amount invested in its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Amount.com. They have the best kind of traffic for their website and more trust for the brand.

Artificial has raised $21.5 million

Artificial, which has built a software platform for laboratories to assist with, or in some cases fully automate, research and development work, has raised $21.5 million. The startup owns its EBM (Exact Brand Match) Artificial.com. Not only can you instantly guess what you can find on their site, but their name speaks for itself about how seriously they invest in building their brand.

Pipe raised $150 million

Pipe — which aims to be the “Nasdaq for revenue” — had raised $150 million in a round of funding that values the fintech at $2 billion. Pipe obviously recognized the need for a very powerful and memorable domain so it has acquired the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Pipe.com in February 2020.

Formlabs has announced a $150 million

Massachusetts-based Formlabs announced a $150 million Series E. Formlabs operates on the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Formlabs.com and this round effectively doubles the value of the unicorn to $2 billion dollars. How do you get investors to believe in your brand?

Wasabi announced that it raised $25 million

Shortly after closing a $112 million series C funding round, data storage startup Wasabi announced it has raised $25 million. Keeping it short makes it memorable so Wasabi operates on its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Wasabi.com. This great name surely cultivates a positive emotional connection with their audience.

Little Birdie lands $30 million

Little Birdie, an e-commerce startup, wants to become the “new homepage of online shopping. They are on the right track. Little Birdie owns the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain LittleBirdie.com that makes sense for anyone who tries to find them online.

Forter has closed on $300 million

The new funding, a Series F, values Forter at $3 billion — notable not least because the funding is coming only about six months since Forter’s previous round, a $125 million Series E that valued it at over $1.3 billion. Operates on the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Forter.com to ensure its customers, investors, and business partners that they are an established, legitimate brand.

Canvas has raised $20 million

Considering its broadened focus, Jumpstart has rebranded to Canvas and announced that it has closed on $20 million. The startup has secured its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Canvas.com that represents a significant milestone in the company’s growth strategy. Nicely done rebrand!

Paysend set for international expansion after securing $125 million

Card-to-card payments platform Paysend has raised $125 million in its Series B funding round, which it will use to fund its international expansion. Paysend uses the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain Paysend.com and it currently has 3.7 million customers.

Homeward raised $136 million in a Series B funding round

Austin-based Homeward has raised $136 million in a Series B funding round led by Norwest Venture Partners at a valuation “just north of $800 million.” Homeward own its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Homeward.com. As of March, the company experienced a 9x year overgrowth in the number of new customers.

Meme.com raised $5 million

Meme.com announced it had raised $5 million for a new marketplace focusing specifically on meme cryptocurrencies and NFTs. The company own its EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Meme.com which is already a great move that ensures a good online presence.

Rivian could seek a value of about $70B when it goes public

In 2016, Rivian has secured the EBM (Exact Brand Match) domain name Rivian.com to signify stability and confidence for its users. The electric truck startup backed by Amazon could seek a valuation of about $70 billion when it goes public. 

Amazon is buying MGM Studios for $8.45 billion

Amazon said Wednesday it will acquire MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, marking its boldest move yet into the entertainment industry and turbocharging its streaming ambitions.


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 May 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 may naming news recap