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Your Name or a Brandable Domain Name?

by Mike Sullivan

A couple of years back, a wrote a post about people who owned their first and last name as a domain name.  Jared Banz was one of the people I spoke to.  Here’s what he had to say back then:

“Owning the dot com version of my name / business has been most helpful for ranking (SEO) and branding. When I first bought the domain over four years ago, I didn’t know what I would end up using it for, but I wanted to secure it in case someone else had the same name as I. Eventually, a few years later, I ended up starting my own company, so it was very helpful to have the dot com version of my name.”

– Jared Banz, JaredBanz.com

Jared has modified his position since then and here’s what he has to say.

Mike:  What made you decide to switch from jaredbanz.com to sumoleap.com?

When I first bought my personally branded URL (jaredbanz.com), I intended to use it for blogging and consulting purposes. I had a “day job” at the time, so it was intended to help me pursue outside consulting on digital marketing projects unrelated to my 8-5 job.

As demand continued to grow for my consulting projects, I wanted to get away from a personally branded business name. I didn’t want to appear as just a one-person company, and I had intentions on growing my company much larger. That said, I came up with the name “SumoLeap”, registered the domain, filed a DBA and redirected my old site to the new site.

Mike:  Why sumoleap?  What meaning does the name have for you or why did you think it would be an attractive choice?

Coming up with a new company name was difficult. Every marketing idea that I could think of for a digital marketing company was already taken. That being said, I realized very quickly that I’d probably have to come up with a fictional name.

I started brainstorming by looking at other companies that I liked. One trend that I liked was to use the name “Sumo” in the business name. Some other technology companies (i.e. BuzzSumo, AppSumo) were doing it, and I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

I toyed around with several names, and I finally arrived at SumoLeap. I liked it because it was fun, creative and trendy. I also like the underlying meaning of a 500+ lb Sumo wrestler leaping and applying that to our digital marketing campaigns. We like to think that we can help companies “move the needle” with their digital marketing, even if it seems impossible.

(To read an extended article on the origin of our name, check out this blog post.)

Mike:  Did you hand register the name sumoleap.com or did someone own it?  Were there other names you were kicking around?

I hand registered for the domain and quickly registered any social media profiles that were associated with it. Thankfully, the domain was available.

I did consider some other names, but none really stuck out to me or the domains were already purchased. That being said, I was happy to land with “SumoLeap.”

Mike:  What has the switch done for your business?

Since re-branding to SumoLeap, I have gone full-time with digital marketing and web design. I’ve assembled a team of entrepreneurs that I work with, and this has been huge for the success of my company so far.

As far as the name “SumoLeap” goes, I definitely get some interesting feedback from it. Almost everyone I talk to wants to know the origin of the name, and it usually leads to a good conversation about our business.
Mike:  As a web designer, do you have any advice for domain owners around the world? 

Yes! Make sure your domain(s) are set to auto-renew. If you don’t believe it’s important, just ask Jeb Bush.

I also think it’s a good idea to own your personally-branded URL, even if you never intend on using it. This could come in handy down the road if you ever want to start a blog or do some sort of consulting. It will also enable you to protect your name (and reputation) from someone else buying it and posting material on it that doesn’t represent you or your values.

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Jared April 23, 2016 - 7:03 pm

Mike, I appreciate the article! Thanks again for the interview.


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