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Names with stories: The story behind SickWeather.com
Kristina Misic access_time 4 min read

SickWeather, the world’s first real-time map of sickness and the largest crowdsourcing community of its kind, scans social networks for indicators of illness, allowing you to check for the chance of sickness as easily as you can check for the chance of rain. And it all started when co-founder Graham Dodge was sick with a stomach virus. In this interview for MarkUpgrade, Graham talks about his brand, the origin of the name SickWeather and how putting the right domain name strategy in place enhances your marketing efforts.

How did you get the idea for SickWeather?

I was sick with a stomach virus and just wanted to know if it was food poisoning or a bug that was going around. I was surprised to find that there were no public health resources that answered that question for me. So, based on my background in aggregating crime data, I realized that social media could be used to track mentions of illness in real-time at the local level, and SickWeather was born.

Why did you originally decide to brand your company under the name “SickWeather”, what’s the story behind the name?

I wanted a name that expressed the idea of tracking illness like the weather, but I also didn’t want a name with the words “health” or “map” in it as those were heavily used in the industry, so I wanted something that stood out from the white noise of the marketplace. SickWeather was one of the options I came up with, and when I realized the TLDs were all available for it, then that was the final deciding factor — that I could acquire all the domains inexpensively.

Did you start off with the SickWeather.com domain, or was it an upgrade from a previous name?

We started with Sickweather.com and experimented with other domains along the way. The only domain we acquired from a 3rd party that had already been previously registered was SickScore.com. It was important for us to acquire SickScore.com because SickScore is a trademark of ours that was being used with attribution by several of our clients, including The Weather Channel, who publicized that trademark more than our own company name, so we wanted to make sure anyone Googling that name would find us easily.

Have you seen a rise in the number of app downloads that can be attributed to this domain upgrade?

Yes, we noticed more conversions from our client integrations using that trademark once we acquired the TLD.

Many app owners don’t think the domain name is important as the apps are on app stores. Why did it matter to you?

It was all about SEO. People still use browsers to look up information about brands and apps that they see elsewhere. Having the TLD for SickScore was critical for discovery.

How do you value your own brand?

We view our brand name as one of the barriers to entry for competitors. It has valuable mindshare and brand equity that makes our entire platform more defensible. I weigh a good brand name as much as intellectual property.

How important is the presence of your brand online? What plays the most important role in people finding you on the web?

It’s absolutely critical. If you don’t want to constantly spend endless dollars on Cost per Install campaigns, then you need to have organic search growth and earned media attention. Those are only enabled by a comprehensive and discoverable brand.

Who is your go-to person for business advice, for domain names and branding, in general?

Our team’s collective experience is our first go-to, so if the team doesn’t like something about the brand image, then that’s the first measure. If it gets past that gauntlet, then we turn to our advisory board and investors for more feedback.

If you have to explain what you do, what your brand stands for and brings to the world, in one sentence, what would it be?

Sickweather is a weather radar for sickness.

Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?

In 1999 I launched a website called NotFilms.com for serving streaming videos that friends could share with each other. It only lasted a year or so until the dot-com bubble burst. Then YouTube came along a few years later. I learned what it means to be too early to a market, and the value of endurance for a startup to succeed.


We hope this will be of use to you in the process of getting your perfect domain name. If you have any questions, need any help or just want to chat with someone about the process, book a free consultation at MarkUpgrade.We are always happy to hear from you.

Find out more about SickWeather.

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