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

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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.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and his company earns revenue from domain names. Elliot is President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Elliot is the publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Read this blog's disclaimer for information about the publisher, comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts.

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Comments (16)

    Mike

    “Google” is another one. The name “Google” makes no sense, so they’ll never make it as a company. Oh wait..

    December 1st, 2009 at 9:04 pm

      Elliot

      @ Mike

      You clearly missed the point of my post. If Square launched on Square.com, all would be good. Google launched on Google.com. The problem with Square is that they launched a brand name on a different domain name.

      Twitter = Twitter.com
      Google = Google.com
      Yahoo = Yahoo.com
      Bing = Bing.com
      Square = SquareUP.com

      Notice the difference? That’s the point of my post, which you missed.

      December 1st, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    shane

    When you pay someone you “square up” with them. I think it makes perfect sense. Square on the other hand has way too many meanings. sure people are going to go to square but they’ll figure this one out quickly. I think square up is a much better choice.

    December 1st, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Elliot

    @ Shane

    I agree… I don’t understand why they are going with the brand “Square” instead of Square Up, when that’s their online presence.

    December 1st, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    James

    “The name “Square” really has no meaning as a mobile payment service.”

    I think ‘square’ is actually very relevant to Jack Dorsey’s concept. If you look closely at the device that he invented, it is a square-shaped object that plugs into the headphone jack of your phone. That square object is what is used to swipe your credit card. Quite cool, and quite ‘square’.

    Having said that, totally agree with you on the URL. SquareUp is *not* a satisfactory compromise for a venture with this much digirati muscle behind it. Should be square.com or change the brand name altogether.

    December 1st, 2009 at 9:23 pm

      Elliot

      I think it should be called Square Up :)

      That makes more sense all around.

      December 1st, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    jd

    The fact that they may or may not be calling themselves Square and that they may or may not be able to get the domain square.com is of very little importance.

    December 2nd, 2009 at 2:38 am

    @crowdmanage

    maybe they are just planning to reverse hijack the name via UDRP. they way some of those decisions go you wouldn’t be surprised!

    i agree that this is daft branding. looking at wayback the name doesn’t seem to have been used since 2001 so you have to think that there is a price that it could be bought at. that price just went way up now the buyer’s deep pockets are known.

    December 2nd, 2009 at 3:57 am

    Mike

    ‘square’ can also have a negative connotation as in ‘lame’, or ‘square pants’.

    I agree, they should be branding as Square Up

    on a side note, the etymology for the terms ‘square up’ and ‘square deal’ etc. are derived from freemasonry where the square is an important symbol. masons are said to be ‘on the square’

    December 2nd, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Shiphouse

    If this is truly a problem this is easily solved as they could create a DBA for the business and call it Square Up. Essentially I don’t see this as the problem you are making it out to be. If people like this product it will brand itself. For example if I like it I am going to speak to my friend about it in terms of hey have you used “square up” or do you have access to “square up” and I will refer them to the website for more information. The company name is exactly that a company name. It is a new and innovative product and I feel owning the generic term square has adds very little brand value to the product. The branding will be based around square up, as somebody in an above post said earlier “lets square up”.

    I am all for generic keyword domain names when they matter but in this case it does not matter. It would make more sense for Titliest to change their name to golfclubs.com or better yet offer golfballs.com a crazy multiple to purchase their business than it would make for Square Inc. to pay more than a few thousand dollars for square.com for the specific reason that nobody will say lets “square”, however lets “squareup” may catch on, and they own the domain for that.

    They have a bigger challenge than branding and that is for people to actually trust their payment system.

    December 2nd, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    @crowdmanage

    Shiphouse makes some good points. But building a brand is all about gaining trust – we know that McDonalds will deliver the same thing wherever we are, we trust that brand.

    If I come across some fancy new payment service called Square and decide to test the waters, then my chances of continuing are much reduced if I go to the company web site and find nothing – I wouldn’t fancy using a bank that has a blank web site, or can’t afford their own domain name. The customer lifetime value of these lost customers would more than justify having a domain that matches the company name.

    Sometimes domainers get overly hung up on the “power of domains” companies that “don’t get it” but really this one seems like a clear false start for the Square marketing team. Or is that the Square Up marketing team?

    December 2nd, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Richard

    I would just like to point out that while the Square product idea looks pretty cool (website / marketing strategy nonwithstanding) Jack Dorsey is definitely not the first person to sell a product of this type.

    There are several companies that make Apps that enable users to accept credit cards on the iPhone. These are all pretty similar to Square. I have been using iSwipe for the last six months or so. That is an iPhone App made by AppNinjas. Works well and very easy to use.

    http://appninjas.com/iswipe/

    December 7th, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    michael

    Your absolutely correct Elliot. I read a story about this company yesterday and even looked at their website. I was going to look at it again this morning and put in square.com and got nothing. I found it via this post. If I can’t even remember their name less than twenty-four hours after looking at their website, then it’s a problem.

    December 8th, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Ernest

    Whatever is in the name, you would be well advised to buy some stock in it. It is going to go through the roof shortly. I’ll be having a corner of this square.

    November 27th, 2011 at 2:25 pm

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