Every day businesses both big and small overlook the financial risk associated with registering a name that could undermine their branding and revenue potential.  These businesses fail to realize that naming is a rigorous process that requires due diligence, especially before registering a domain name.

The recent launch by Google of its new subscription service YouTube Red may prove to be a good example of a very well-known, multi-billion dollar brand not doing their homework on the name. YouTube Red and its domain name used in the URL are horribly similar to the very well-known and branded porn site RedTube (not linked due to adult nature), a world famous adult destination. Considering that both of these businesses sell directly to consumers and depend heavily on virality, social discovery and advertising, the similarities in names are almost guaranteed to cause consumer confusion and awkward internet surfing experiences. Unless Google intentionally wanted to brand their new service in association with a porn site, it does not appear the company seriously considered how big a role name equity plays in customer acquisition.

Are we just quick to point the finger, or others have noticed as well?

Business Insider had this to say on YouTube Red naming choice:

The name “RedTube” itself is already uncomfortably close to “YouTube.” The addition of “Red” definitely brings the association home.

Slate also has their say:

 it’s hard to ignore the proximity of YouTube Red to RedTube, a popular porn site.

Additionally, the similarity of YouTube Red to RedTube is unlikely to pass the “radio test”.  A potential customer looking for the YouTube Red website, after listening to a commercial, may remember the words ‘Tube’ and ‘Red’ when they type into their browser. If they aren’t looking for porn, they are likely to get very frustrated when they are unable to intuitively reach the Google site.

Tracy Fogarty

Founder & CEO at eNaming
With over 20 years in the brokerage business, Tracy Fogarty has helped thousands of clients achieve their goals on both sides of the negotiation table. Creative and result oriented professional, Ms. Fogarty strives on honest communication, value proposition, the big picture perspective, and bottom-line profitability.