From their press release:
“The name change complements our position as the largest dedicated exchange for sports collectibles. This is just the first step in a complete overhaul of our company’s online presence,” said SportsBuy.com’s new CEO Wesley Hein. “Over the next few months we will undergo a comprehensive technological upgrade involving new infrastructure, new features and a newly designed interface,” added Hein.
The company has released several large news stories over the past couple of months including the appointment of a new CEO, the repurchase of a majority of the company’s stock back from Landmark Communications (owner of The Weather Channel), the rollout of the Express Lister bulk upload system and a record-breaking sales quarter.
“Our name change reflects our promise to continue providing collectors and dealers with the best tools available for buying and selling sports cards and collectibles,” said SportsBuy.com’s VP/Marketing Bill Elder.
The company will retain NAXCOM Exchange, Inc. as its corporate name and continues to operate ThePit.com, which was acquired from Topps, Inc. in 2006.
Interesting. I understand their reasoning, but I think it’s a bad move. I almost always think it’s a bad idea to rename your business, the only exception being if your name has recently become associated with some negative event that’s in the media and you’re afraid of being associated with that bad company/person/organization.
NAXCOM has a brand name in the collectibles industry. People know NAXCOM for being a show promoter, online sports exchange, owner of ThePit.com, and more recently an auction site trying to go head to head with eBay. SportsBuy has none of that. You put in all of the hard work branding the NAXCOM name, only to change it to something that no one knows and open youselves up for the potential of total confusion over who you are? How many collectors had heard of SportsBuy prior to a few days ago? Zero. How many collectors had heard of NAXCOM? Hundreds of thousands, if not millions. You tell me which name is more valuable. I’ll take the non-descript name that everyone knows.
NAXCOM is synonymous with sports collectibles, even if it doesn’t mean sports collectibles. Just as – to a lesser extent – SportsLizard has become synonymous with the collectibles industry. Does Walmart or Target say “big gigantic discount super store” to you? Does eBay say “auction site” to you? Does Google say “internet search engine”? I think you get my point: while many businesses do describe what they do, I don’t believe you are at a distinct disadvantage by not having what you do in your name. And if you’ve already had a name for over 10 years, you’re crazy to think that changing it to something more associative to your industry will make up for the loss of a known brand.
Also – as a fellow online business owner – moving large sites to new domains must be done very carefully. You better 301 redirect EVERY SINGLE PAGE to the same corresponding page on SportsBuy.com. The obvious reason is that you don’t want someone visiting your site from a broken link or bookmark, but you also don’t want to kill your very strong search engine presence. Yahoo Site Explorer has NAXCOM.com down for 197,292 links pointing back to their domain. That’s almost 200,000 times that someone on the web has linked to a page on NAXCOM. Each one helps NAXCOM rank as high as they do in search results, likely bringing them a large portion of their online business. Screw up the 301 redirects and you’ll lose credit for all of those years of hard work. Obtaining 200k backlinks is no joke, so tread carefully (or just don’t change your name in the first place…).
Basically, the way I feel is that a name change is a total waste of resources that could be used towards directly capitalizing on all of the great things NAXCOM has done recently (they said themselves that they just had a record quarter). My hope is that this isn’t the new CEO’s attempt to put his “mark” on the company. I’m all for a “complete overhaul” of your company’s “online presence”, but just make sure that you don’t cannibalize all of the good work that NAXCOM has done over the years.