BRANDING

World's Dumbest Rebrand?

There have been some dreadful rebrandings in the past, but this one takes the cake.
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I once thought it was impossible to come up with a worse idea than Netflix's attempt to rebrand itself as "Quikster."

Boy, was I wrong.

Get this: "Buy.com" is changing its name to "Rakuten.com."

The "Buy.com" url will still work, but the company is going forward under the "Rakuten.com" banner.

Say what?

While "rakuten" does means "optimism" in Japanese, it sounds just plain weird in English, like a raccoon or something. Or ten of them.

Totally unmemorable.

Like it or not, English is the international language. For every person who knows what "Rakuten" means, there are probably a thousand people who know what "Buy" means.

Why would you want to position away from a URL name that has a universal, positive meaning and replace it with something that means nothing to almost everyone.

This rebrand is so crazy that I have to assume that somebody inside the company has  gone insane.

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Last updated: Feb 15, 2013

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed over a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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