Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey Launches Company Named Square on SquareUp.com

square logoTechCrunch reported today that Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, has launched a mobile payment service called Square. While the actual product/service looks pretty cool, I am surprised that someone with the capital resources such as Dorsey would launch a new brand on a domain name that is different from the actual brand.

The big problem for Square is that they are using the domain name SquareUp.com for their website. This really defies logic to me for a couple of big reasons.

First and most obviously because it’s a mobile payment platform, and people will want to visit the website to learn about the company that will have access to credit card and payment info, and the web address is not intuitive. Many people will visit Square.com to learn about Square, Inc., and they won’t find the information they desire.

Secondly, Square.com is owned by a Japanese company, and the domain name doesn’t resolve. It’s one thing if it resolves to another company’s website, where the visitor can figure out that he needs to look elsewhere. It’s another thing if the domain doesn’t resolve and looks like the company has technical problems. There is nothing on Square.com that would tell a visitor anything but the website isn’t working.

The standalone name “Square” really has no meaning as a mobile payment service. It’s not like the brand actually means something to the product/service, where by sacrificing the brand name, part of the company’s identity would be lost. For example, the Paypal brand has everything to do with a payment service – they’re the “pay pal.”  Square does not have this identity. “Square Up” could be a better brand identity, since people use the term “square up” or “square away” when they need to settle a tab.

This doesn’t seem like a smart branding move for a mobile company – especially one with a $40,000,000 valuation.

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Octane360 Monetizes Long Tail Geo Domain Names

Company provides scalable solution to monetize long tail geo domains.

Octane360Connecting local businesses to customers is a huge business. But it has always presented a challenge to owners of long tail geo domain names, such as (City)DaySpa.com. A couple scalable platforms exist to let you build out these domain names, but monetizing them with anything other than PPC has proven elusive.

That’s where Octane360 comes in. The Los Angeles-based company provides a platform for developing these domain names and monetizing them directly with local advertisers. I just started a test with Octane360 this past week on 200 domains and will report back frequently with my progress.

Here’s how it works. You add your domain names to Octane360’s platform and “build them out” based on a template. For example, I own a number of CityDermatologist.com domain names. Working with Octane360, we created a “dermatology” template that is applied across all of these domains. (Templates are already available for most major categories). You can see an example at SunnyvaleDermatologist.com.

Each web site’s focus is on local directory listings and lead generation, but also includes content such as an interactive Q&A section and shopping when applicable. Web sites can also include Adsense or other display and PPC advertising, but the focus is on driving leads to local businesses.

And that’s where the magic happens. It would be challenging, if not a waste of time, for the typical domainer to contact small business owners for each domain to sell them a directory listing. But Octane360 has partnerships with call centers that sell listings for you. They’re already calling on customers and prospects to buy certain advertising products, and the local directory listings on your domains are one more product to peddle.

Octane360 gave me a glimpse of its back-end advertising sales system and it’s impressive. When talking to a prospective customer, a sales rep can pull up an entire list of relevant directories within a certain radius of the business to cross sell. The company splits directory earnings with publishers, and publishers can keep 100% of Adsense earnings.

Octane360 has more development and directory capabilities, but for now I’m only working with them on these local directory sites. Will it perform better than PPC? The bar is set pretty low, and Octane360 shows promise. Stay tuned.


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The Frager Factor: A good name does not need an IF and COULD. A good name says I AM

Shared by JohnH

Links above to full story.

Following on Aron Meystedt’s post this morning, I think this discussion on names will be ongoing between lots of groups. I do not think the issue is just between SEO and domainers and extensions. I actually think this is the same issue for end users and domainers.

I feel it is smart for a company to own the category or product they are in and maybe some other key domains.

However, every domainer thinks they have gold and asks….when will these end users come and why don’t these companies buy my names.

I don’t think they will buy most of these names EVER for most people. I think most people hold “Fool’s Gold” and not GOLD Bullion.

Sedo.com Launches GEO Domains Page

Today Sedo launched Sedo.com/GEO for high end Geo domain names. Currently the domains listed range in price from $200,000 to $2,500,000.
Some of the domain names listed are:

PuertoRico.com
Scotland.com
SouthAfrica.com
Belgium.com
Indonesia.com
GreatBritain.com

This page comes less than a week after the reported sale of Russia.com for $1.5 million brokered through Sedo. Russia.com was previously owned by NewMedia Holdings, Inc which also […]

Filter Your Feeds

Domaining.comI don’t spend a lot of time reading other domain blogs, but when I do, I generally use Domaining.com because I’ve pre-filtered my preferred feeds already and blocked the websites I don’t read. Instead of having to read through all of the domain-related headlines, I can easily find the most interesting articles from the domain investors I trust and respect, since just about everyone else is blocked.

A couple people have asked about blocking/adding feeds and it’s simple to do. Just sign up for an account and visit the edit feeds page. You can check off the websites that you want to see and the others will be blocked. Now you don’t have to read through all the headlines to find the ones that are of the greatest interest to you. In addition, you can also add non-domain feeds. I’ve added a few like TechCrunch.

Also, I know that some people don’t want to get an email every morning, so you can easily opt out. I actually like the email newsletter because I can see the previous day’s popular headlines that I may not have read.

With so many projects going on, it’s good to be able to cut through the BS and get the news I need when I want it.

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What Do Domains Have to Do with Social Media and Engaging Content?

In previous posts here, we’ve discussed our company’s leadership in social media, our Demand Studios content creation capabilities, and our network of branded websites that bring the best of these worlds together.  As many of you know we also have a profitable domain registrar business, and one question that we occasionally hear is “How does your registrar business connect with your focus on social media and content?”

They’re actually much more relevant than you might think. It starts with the lessons we’ve learned firsthand in developing our own network of branded sites like eHow.com and LIVESTRONG.com.  By building out our sites with top quality content and engaging social media experiences, Demand Media has been able to grow those sites’ traffic 10x and become a Top 20 online media property.

Now we’re taking that formula for success – the same one that’s helped us build our network to more than 90 million monthly visitors – and beginning to make it available to our domain partners and consumers.

The opportunity for this is vast.  The gap between total available domains and active domains is wide and growing wider.  As reported by Netcraft, over 100 million domains currently lay fallow, each one a potential web site waiting to happen, lacking only the right acquisition and monetization tools to make it profitable.
 
blog post photo
 
We already offer those acquisition tools through our eNom and BulkRegister registrar brands (the second largest registrar group in the world), as well as traffic monetization tools through our Hotkeys brand.  Now we’re taking the next step – turning domains into web sites, with the help of quality content.

Our first offering to capitalize on this potential was RichContent, a simple, self-serve way for domain owners to add high quality, contextually-relevant content to their sites.  In coming months, we’ll continue introducing new capabilities that leverage the complete Demand Media platform – our Pluck social media tools favored by major publisher brands, our Demand Studios content library growing at a rate of 4,000 units per day, and our domains platform that services more than 11 million domains – all to offer our customers customizable, all-in-one solutions to manage the lifecycle and monetization of their domains.

Sex.com: One Domain, Two Men, Twelve Years and the Brutal Battle for the Jewel in the Internet’s Crown (Paperback) tagged “domains” 2 times

Sex.com: One Domain, Two Men, Twelve Years and the Brutal Battle for the Jewel in the Internet's Crown

Sex.com: One Domain, Two Men, Twelve Years and the Brutal Battle for the Jewel in the Internet’s Crown (Paperback)
By Kieren McCarthy

19 used and new from $12.44
Customer Rating: 4.4

Customer tags: intellectual property(3), domain name(3), domains(2), web services, sexcom, com

Do not build a brand on a .net domain

One of my domain regrets is not purchasing ChrisGuthrie.com, but then again my foray into online business hadn’t begun until 2005 (a year after ChrisGuthrie.com had been registered by a fellow Chris Guthrie). I have contacted the original owner twice over the span of about a year. My original offer was $500 and my next offer was $1,000 to which Chris still declined. My legal name is Christopher Guthrie, but as fate would have it ChristopherGuthrie.com was taken as well so that option had been closed as well. So I was out of options.

What should you do when all of your primary .com choices are taken and you can’t buy the .com?

Go to your secondary .com domain choice! The only reason you should settle for a .net domain is when there is a chance for search engine traffic based on the quality of the domain.

Unfortunately, I didn’t do that with this blog here. I decided to buy ChrisGuthrie.net and start a blog on it anyway. I had made up my mind that although I would be writing about running an online business I still would like the option to make my blog have a more personal tone. I was mistaken in my decision.

Building a brand on a .net domain is not smart to do unless you own the .com as well.

Are there instances where people have successfully built a .net brand without the .com? Yes, but when you’re starting fresh why not find a .com that isn’t in use instead?

Most .com domains are always for sale and if you have the money I highly recommend you go for the .com instead of settling for one of the TLD’s. A .com can cost ten times as much as a .net but if you look down the road at your exit strategy it will be much more difficult to sell your site to another company if you’ve built your brand on a .net domain and don’t own the .com.

What do you think? Is it worth it to try and build a brand on a .net domain?

As a follow up, I finally acquired ChristopherGuthrie.com my second .com choice from years ago. Should I consider moving my blog via 301 redirect so that I can work to build my brand on a .com instead?