Names with stories: The story behind

Kristina Mišić
Sep 4, 2019 · 4 min read

A few weeks ago, you could read the news on MarkUpgrade’s twitter account that online software translation management platform PhraseApp finally removed the “app” word from its domain name and upgraded to the exact brand match (EBM) As the platform provides localization capabilities to many kinds of companies, and the word “App” was irrelevant in the company’s name, the founders have taken the monumental decision and invested in this amazing brand asset. Mark Upgrade contacted the company for more detailed insight into this acquisition and Kathryn Ross, brand manager at Phrase, was more than happy to share with us what were the reasons behind this domain migration, what effects they immediately noticed after the upgrade and how the word “app” obstructed the brand from growing further.

If you have to explain what you do, what your brand stands for and brings to the world, in one sentence, what would it be?

Our brand stands for minimizing localization pain points. We know that the localization process is inherently difficult, and we want to make it as easy as possible for other companies to go global. (That was two, sorry!)

Your brand made a huge improvement when you upgraded your domain name from to the exact brand match, what was your reasoning behind acquiring the domain?

There were many reasons behind this migration.

Firstly, we like the simplicity of Phrase. It is strong and simple without any extra inessentials, which suits us really well. We also recognized that there was already entrenched brand equity in PhraseApp. We wanted to ensure an easy transition and make sure our existing and new customers could still find us. And coincidentally, many of our customers who have been with us for several years have actually always referred to us as Phrase! So this choice was, in separate ways, the easiest possible adaptation and logical next step in our forward progression.

Speaking of forward progression, we wanted to be forward-looking and choose something that we could build for the future. Phrase, as a dictionary, .com name really spoke to us for fulfilling this need. We wanted to make sure that we are optimized for trends we see continuing to become more relevant, like voice-assisted google searches and shorter domain name applicability.

Ultimately, PhraseApp was an inherently misleading name. While many, specifically in the tech community, would recognize “App” as a short form for the term “Application”, many simply thought we were something you would find in the App Store! This became confusing for new companies that were being first introduced to us. “App” is also misleading for its limiting nature. We have grown into a multi-faceted solution with many ever-growing features, and our platform offerings have really expanded beyond the initial application stage. This name gives us the room we need to grow for the future.

Are there any instant effects you notice after the upgrade to

We have been completely thrilled with the response! Since we upgraded, we have had a real rush of positive messages of support congratulating us on the strong choice. It feels really great to have that outside affirmation of our already-established internal conviction that we made a great decision.

What would your advice to other startups be about building a strong brand? What importance do you give to owning the matching domain in that process?

For myself, I believe it is crucial to own a matching domain name to your brand identifier, if for no other reason than to make things easier for your end-user or customer. Confusion creates resistance and negative user experiences. I also believe in creating of strong brand identity through the idea of “one look, one voice”, and a strong brand name coupled with a matching domain goes a long way to making this unified messaging possible.

My second piece of advice seems a little silly but I found it quite helpful when we were exploring many (many!) different options. Use the domain name in real life as a test. Type it into a search bar, say it into your phone, try it out on as many colleagues who will listen and get as much feedback as possible. These “real-life” exercises taught me that a domain name can look great on paper, but be difficult in practice (typing, saying, searching, etc.) and that personal naming bias is real. Domains are a big investment with an enormous impact and shouldn’t be rushed decisions.

If you could go back in time, what would you have done differently with regards to your brand strategy?

If I could go back in time, my only change would have been to make this switch earlier.

We hope this will be of use to you in the process of getting your perfect domain name. If you have any questions, need any help or just want to chat with someone about the process, book a free consultation at MarkUpgrade. We are always happy to hear from you.

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Written by: Kristina Mišić


Our small team incorporates 20+ years in the marketing and branding industries, as well as Domaining, Web Development, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, and Sales.

Kristina Mišić

Written by


Our small team incorporates 20+ years in the marketing and branding industries, as well as Domaining, Web Development, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Marketing, and Sales.

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