After 18 years, About.com is rebranding as Dotdash
On Tuesday, About.com is going to change its name. The digital publisher is expected to announce at the Collision Conference that it will henceforth be known as Dotdash (pronounced “dot-DASH”).
The new name is supposed to work on multiple levels. About CEO Neil Vogel said the dot is a nod to the period that was core to the publisher’s old logo, while a dash is a typographic symbol used to move things toward what’s next.
Oh, and dot-dash is also Morse code for the letter A, as in “About” — “a little Easter egg,” as Vogel put it.
The new name follows a two-year rebranding process for the 20-year-old company (it began as The Mining Company in 1997). It began with Vogel’s decision to break the portal into five verticals, starting with its health site, Verywell, last spring. Other media companies have pursued that same strategy to improve relationships with advertisers, including HuffPost, which went through its own rebrand recently.
The process will finally end when it unveils its travel-focused site later this month. Vogel said he wanted to get to the name change to support a marketing push, which will be accompanied by a trade-marketing campaign.
“We’re going to spend real dollars,” Vogel said of the campaign, declining to be more specific.
About’s parent, the internet-holding company IAC, decided to rebrand the publisher because while it had name recognition, its articles were so broad that nobody thought of it as a go-to resource for any one topic.
Or, put another way: “[About] has 100 percent brand recognition, aided,” Vogel said. “Unaided, we were zero.”
As it broke into those separate businesses, some of which now do commerce, some of which offer video and some of which offer new opportunities to advertisers, Vogel felt they needed to reintroduce themselves to agencies.
Vogel wanted to wait until the verticalization process was at least partly complete so that no matter what people thought of the new name, there was a case to be made that the company was different from the one agencies or brands were familiar with, a mistake that some could argue was made with Oath and Tronc, two companies sewn together out of disparate parts that had not yet begun to work together.
“It helps take away that risk of going through the commitment [to a new brand],” said Leesa Wytock, the director of digital experience at Siegel+Gale. “If they’ve done that, it’s a really smart B2B play as a brand. B2B is all about partnerships.”
“Having a new name that takes you out of the realm of a consumer offer and into one that speaks specifically to the advertising community, that makes a lot of sense,” said Rick Wise, the CEO of brand strategy firm Lippincott.
Vendors jostle for position ahead of coming contextual pivot
Vendors hawking contextual wares have swamped publishers and agencies, hoping to grab media dollars once spent using third-party cookie targeting.
The Washington Post staffs up in Asia and Europe to relieve pressure from U.S. breaking news teams
The Post's news hubs in Seoul and London are meant to ensure the publication has reporters in different time zones to cover news as soon as it breaks.
Sales al fresco: Publishers adopt new tactics to gain essential face time with clients
Publisher commercial execs don't expect in-person sales meetings to return any time soon, but have adopted various in-person options in the interim.
SponsoredDeep Dive: How AI steered The Ad Council’s campaigns during crisis
The past year transformed the way audiences respond to advertising. The pandemic, quarantine and social unrest radically altered consumers’ sensitivities, and real-time news cycles made every campaign message fraught with potential pitfalls. As NPR reported in 2020, organizations raced to keep up with the public’s changing perceptions of marketing and what resonated — or fell […]
Shortage in mental health services fans flames of employee burnout
A shortage of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and licensed social workers could be cataclysmic for employers, per health experts.
‘The elephant in the room’: Companies persist with fingerprinting as a workaround to Apple’s new privacy rules
Where there’s a will there’s a workaround plan, especially if the company is worried about the financial blow from Apple’s crackdown on in-app tracking.