Company names are a particular interest of mine, particularly those that are not as strong as they should be. The company name is the single most important selling tool the company has. For some companies, it expresses in a few characters the essence of their brand. I was therefore most intrigued to see the following press release:
NEW YORK, NY, October 16, 2008
[x+1], www.xplusone.com, the leader in predictive marketing, today announced a more powerful version of its patented Predictive Optimization Engine(R) (POE) which will be compatible with a wide range of statistical modeling techniques such as neural networks, linear programming and multi-tree decision support to maximize the return on investment (ROI) of online marketing and advertising campaigns.
I thought at first that there had been some mistake. Perhaps [x+1] was some shorthand that had been mistakenly left in the release and not replaced by the proper company name. However it appears that it really is the company name. That might have worked in the pre-Internet era, but it brings with it all sorts of problems now.
Google Ignores Square Brackets
The best advice is to have a name that you own on the Internet. That usually means avoiding any punctuation and ideally accents should be avoided too. It is not even clear what people might search for in this situation. Google ignores the square brackets, but would any potential client know quite what to do. In fact Google serves up X1 Technologies as its guess at the most relevant entry in a search for [x+1]. X1 Technologies is an operating company of Idealab and is headquartered in Pasadena, CA. It had the foresight to buy the great x1.com domain. Names that include the ‘+’ sign are just not allowed.