Online traffic is a critical indicator of your company's health--the more visitors your website gets, the more people are interested in your business, right?
But what if all of those people are there for the wrong reasons?
On Saturday, Quartz reported on a company called Grexit. Back when the software startup launched in 2011, co-founder Nitesh Nandy thought the combination of the word "it" and the Greek word meaning to flock or herd highlighted the company's goal--to unite people through software.
Now that "Grexit" has become a popular term to describe the potential exit of Greece from the Eurozone, the company is seeing a 20 percent increase in traffic. But these new visitors are interested in keeping up-to-date on current events, not in purchasing Grexit the company's email software.
"We’re getting irrelevant traffic that’s just bouncing off and messing with our conversion rates," Nandy told Quartz.
Grexit isn't the first company to face a naming quandary. There's GamersGate, an online video game store founded in 2006, which bore an unfortunate resemblance to #GamerGate, an online movement that came to be known for many participants' threats against female video game developers. There's also Isis, a mobile wallet which eventually rebranded as Softcard before it was bought by Google in March--but not before drawing copious comparisons with terrorist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
So what's a business to do? Edward Vesely, chief marketing officer at SilkRoad, an HR software management company (not the now-defunct black market for illicit drugs) told Inc. that his company is trying its best to fight a name change. A rebranding is costly, and takes away money that could be spent on customer service and product innovation.
Still, around the time that convicted Silk Road owner Ross Ulbricht's assets were seized, SilkRoad the software company was seeing its website traffic increase fivefold or tenfold on any given day. And the company "still occasionally gets an email in the middle of the night from someone trying to find something that might be found on the Silk Road marketplace, that's not on our website," says Vesely.
The company has had to reassure some worried customers that it is taking its reputation management seriously. According to Vesely, SilkRoad has implemented a negative keyword strategy to help its Google searches. Using Google Adwords, companies can prevent its ads from appearing next to certain search results--"Silk Road cocaine," for example. And a name change isn't entirely off the table.
"For a mid-market company like ourselves, that's been in business for over a decade, where do you best spend your money?" Vesely said. The company is hoping that, now that the drug marketplace has been shutdown, negative associations with the phrase "Silk Road" will begin to fade from public memory.
Nonetheless, a company name change is the more surefire way to eliminate unwanted website clicks and negative publicity. That's what Nandy and Grexit are leaning toward.
"Grexit has a negative connotation now and I don’t think all the talk about the Greece bailout is going to go away anytime soon," Nandy told Quartz.