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Let’s name it BillySoft?

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Editor’s note: Inman News publisher and longtime innovator Brad Inman has launched a blog at BradInman.com that will carry "stories, ideas and lessons on starting businesses." His second post, republished here, retells his adventures in branding three online ventures. Click here to read the original post.

People ask how I came up with the name Vook, the new ebook publishing company. Was I typing the word "book" and inadvertently tapped the "V" key instead of the "B" key, which sit next to each other on the keyboard? I do not recall how I came up with the name. However, I have several stories when I named other ventures.

Twenty-three years ago, I started a consumer education business that taught people how to buy homes. The San Francisco Examiner was my partner in the annual all-day event, running house ads to get people there. When I approached the executives at the Examiner with the conference idea, I pitched the title "In Search of Equity," a corny knock-off of the best-selling Tom Peter’s book "In Search of Excellence."

Larry Kramer, the managing editor of the Examiner at the time, liked the business idea but chucked the name. He named it the San Francisco Examiner Home Buyers Fair. The business was successful and was expanded to other cities.

We had several ideas for naming the online real estate company, HomeGain, one of which was "HomeSave." When I reached out to the domain owner in Wisconsin about purchasing the name, he wanted to check with his brother-in-law, who was a mortgage broker, about the value of the URL. He called back and said that the real estate market’s value was $1 trillion and that the name "HomeSave" should be valued at 1 percent of that. I never did the math but told the cheesehead that I would get back to him.

Soon after, a friend suggested, "Brad, your company is about gaining not saving, how about ‘Homegain’?" I went online and found that the URL was available for $29 — saving me billions. …CONTINUED

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