An Inbound Marketing Love Story Turned Bad Romance

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Broken_heart_love_19

Love, Everyone Wants It, Not EveryOne Finds It. -Patti Stanger (Millionaire Matchmaker)

What happens though when two people fall in love with the same thing, but only one of them can have it? 

Were used to the story of the princess who falls in love with the pauper, while prince charming is vying for her love? In the fairy tales, Love wins out and the princess gets what her heart desires. 

What happens though when two people with the same name fall in love with the same person? 

These are tough emotional tales to navigate, but one thing remains constant, SOMEONE WILL BE LEFT DISSAPPOINTED! 

Many businesses fail because their executives egos believe they can never lose. 
There is no room for Ego in Business. 

This past week, SEOmoz.org, a brand I grew to love over time, and once even told Rand Fishkin the founder that his blog made my career. Recently, made a business decision that could very well be the beginning of the end for them. 

What was their mistake? THEY FELL IN LOVE WITH A NAME! The name they fell in love with is MOZ.com, which they recently moved their entire website over to, and is attempting a rebrand. Unfortunately, rebrands just don't work. Sure, they will still make money because they have millions of pages of indexed content and hundreds of thousands of paying subscribers, but the benefits that come from owning a winning domain name are gone. They decided to start over from scratch, or more likely, They think dropping the SEO from their old brand SEOmoz will keep the same brand equity but lose the negative connotation SEO carries with some people. They of course are wrong. The human mind and human perception just doesn't work that way. The mind is like wet cement, and once a brand is associated with a category, there is no rebranding or changing it. 

So, SEOmoz is Officially Dead…. MOZ, is a brand new and fresh brand name, a blank slate that they will try to associate with inbound marketing software, and perhaps they will succeed over time….But, they literally threw away years of brand equity, and decided to start over from scratch….

Because They Fell In Love With A Name!!!

I have a friend who invented some footwear concept and fell in love with a name once. He didn't own the domain, and asked to buy it from the owner, a prominent domainer. The owner asked for $80k. My friend paid his attorney tens of thousands of dollars to secure the trademark to try to force the owner to give him the domain. So far he has not gotten it yet. Will he? I don't know. Should he? DEFINITELY NOT! I advised to go out and buy another name, any other name, and even gave him about a dozen great brandable names with the domain names available, but he FELL IN LOVE WITH A NAME! His brand was new, he hardly had a product, he could have easily changed names, but he FELL In LOVE WITH HIS NAME. 

MOZ.com, apparently has fallen in love as well. Even though their new brand has almost no brand equity, they decided to "protect" their trademark against DOZ.com because it sounds similar. 

Doz.com chose to stay and fight. He believe the names are not too similar and that his brand won't be confused with MOZ. He even believes that Moz is violating their credo of TAGFEE, which is about Empathy amongst other things. 

 After all, Rand Fishkin knows what its like to build a struggling startup. He talks in interviews about having major debt, and about only having $20k in savings when his company was making and raising millions. He built an incredible company, and to his credit he probably jumpstarted brands like The Oatmeal, which we all love. 

It Turns out, Two Inbound Marketing Companies Have Fallen In Love, and Now Only pain and hurt will ensue. No good ever comes from lawsuits, and even if there are grounds, and they need to protect their rebrand. The brand Moz doesn't have value yet. It just doesn't no matter what they claim. Same goes for Doz, No value in the name. 

My Father Always Taught Me, Avoid a Fight At All Costs, Especially If It's Just Money You Are Fighting About. No One Wins, Everyone Loses.

Here's why people fall in love with their brands. To the brand owner, it is their name. It is representative of what they created, what they built. It is them. Their self worth is tied to it, and if it's especially clever, and their friends, and mother loves it, It validates them, It is them. They will fight for their name from today til tomorrow. 

The lesson here is… If you built a brand, don't try to change it. It won't work… and if you haven't built equity in the name you have, Don't fall in love with it. It might just become your undoing. 

After all, Both Moz and Doz could walk away from this debacle and probably lose less than the legal fees. More importantly, they can both probably continue forward without the legal fees at all. But, the bottom line is… 

"I Want Your Love, and I Want Your Revenge

You and Me Could Write a Bad Romance!"

-Lady Gaga

 

 

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About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $15,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.

Comments

  1. Anji from DOZ says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks for sharing the story on your blog.

    Feel free to join our pool of marketing experts 🙂
    http://www.doz.com/experts

  2. Rebecca Michaels says:

    I do get that sometimes something more appealing comes along, but I can’t actually comprehend why a company would risk throwing everything away just to re-brand in that manner. I guess they might not actually see the negatives of the move when they’ve got romance goggles clouding their vision, but it seems to me that it’s too much of a risk to pay off. And even if it does pay off in the end and things don’t take a downward spiral for the worse, there would still be a period where money is lost and things drop, a time that could have been stable. I guess this may be more of an issue for smaller brands rather than big ones that can invest a little loss into turning over more cash in the future, but again, I can’t actually comprehend it.

Trackbacks

  1. […] best with your industry, and go and create a name that suits you. WARNING: Whatever you do, don’t fall in love with the name. While there are certainly better names than others, there is never just ONE name that can work for […]

  2. […] best with your industry, and go and create a name that suits you. WARNING: Whatever you do, don’t fall in love with the name. While there are certainly better names than others, there is never just ONE name that can work for […]

  3. […] best with your industry, and go and create a name that suits you. WARNING: Whatever you do, don’t fall in love with the name. While there are certainly better names than others, there is never just ONE name that can work for […]

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