You might have noticed that we’ve recently changed our name from Woot66 to Leap66. From the beginning I thought Woot66 was a great name for our little business. It was a little goofy and mildly clever. Just what I wanted. But there was one little concern, there happens to be another business called “Woot!” (as in www.woot.com). They are the daily deals site that was snapped up by Amazon back in 2010. At first I didn’t think anything of it. Why would Amazon care about a little pep rally website for folks interested doing something with their Chinese language skills? Well although there currently may be no overlap between us and “Woot!” we do have definite plans for selling super awesome products on our website in the near future. Who knows whether our products would unintentionally overlap with Woot!’s products at some point. For example, what if we develop the absolute coolest t-shirts in the world and they try to copy us?
It was time to check with my friend Jim, an intellectual property rights attorney.
I told Jim about my concerns with Amazon potentially coming after us demanding we change our name. His gut feeling was that we should probably consider changing our name sooner rather than later. According to Jim, here are the reasons why I was right to be concerned:
- We are planning to open an e-commerce website. Woot! is also an e-commerce website.
- Woot! is owned by Amazon. Amazon is a huge, likely litigious company and they’ve got money to burn in court. We don’t.
- If we were to receive a “cease and desist” letter a year down the road it would be a bummer on many levels. By that time our company name would already be well integrated with our web presence and products, not to mention the spirit of the company.
A “bummer on many levels” is not one of those things I’d want to experience if I can help it. Just like I don’t usually shove pencils in my eyes. Jim generously offered to do some digging to assess just how much of a risk it would be to keep the name, but I’d pretty much made up my mind to change our company name after our brief call.
So now I was back to deciding on a name for us. While we’re very serious about helping our community of Chinese learners and entrepreneurs, we certainly don’t take ourselves too seriously. Should the name be something goofy like Woot66 or should we choose a name that represents the uplifting nature of the business? Perhaps we could aim for something which symbolizes the possibilities of where you can go if you leap from your current situation into something new and different. And that was it: Leap66.com. Simple. Daring. Dreamy. And we still get to hang onto lucky 66!
The domain name was still available, though you’d be surprised how many domain names which contain the numbers “66” are already registered by large Chinese chemical corporations. Additionally, I verified there are no major brands called “Leap”, so I think we’re safe. Go Google it!