Today is a big day in Bonanza history. Bonanza? Don’t you mean Bonanzle? Actually, no. Today we changed our name! Check out the new URL at www.bonanza.com and keep an eye out tomorrow morning for the press release on the newly designed site!
On one hand this is a big deal. We changed our name! That’s huge! On the other hand we really just swapped a vowel and dropped a consonant. Both are true. Why change the name after two years? We’re one of the fastest growing marketplaces already – why mess with a good thing? While I’m proud of our growth, I’m also far from satisfied. I want Bonanzle (wait, Bonanza – this is going to take a while) to be a household name. Two years in and my grandparents still get the name of the company wrong (hi grandma! hi grandpa!); pretty much everyone does. And guess where they settle after giving up? You guessed it.
So, when Bonanza became available we had to go for it. First, it’s a real name. When I was running the company out of my apartment on a shoestring I could only hope to have a real name. Second, it’s clearly what I based the company name off of in the first place. I can’t think of a better way to describe the social sales experience we’ve created than a ‘source of great and sudden wealth; a spectactular windfall’ Third, being the sort to rely on data, we even did some consumer recall testing on Mechanical Turk (tips hat to Amazon). Guess which name is easier to recall after a one second flash of the company name? It wasn't even close.
Most of all I want to provide more sales for our fantastic selling community. And a name that customers can remember and spell will help.
Is a name change alone going to guarantee success? Of course not. We still have to build a compelling business, create a great product, acquire customers, and provide value to our customers. And sure other companies have done pretty well with less than everyday names (Google anyone?). However, I believe that in a fragmented world, having a real word that is evocative of our brand is a big step toward our company becoming a household name.
At this point you may be thinking "How can I help?" Glad you asked! How about a link to our new name to drive a little Google love? A note to your local news source? We are excited to spread the word far and wide that Bonanza is doubling down to take its place as the best marketplace online to find everything but the ordinary.
But that’s not all. Once you visit the new site, you will notice a few design changes. We also decided to give the brand elements and particularly the header area at the top of the page a facelift. Even design that looked terrific in 2008 can start to feel a little crusty over time, so we thought it was high time to introduce Bonanza to 2010.
You'll note that we kept the color palette quite similar as we didn't want to change the core elements that make Bonanza what it is today. Even the grass remains in the footer. However, we did change a few things. We love the hand-crafted feel of the paper texture in the header - it nicely says 'a bit out of the ordinary.' The top-level menus now include drop-downs so you can easily get to areas like your booth, your profile, and key pages in one click. I'm already finding these handy in getting around the site more quickly.
Additionally, after hearing feedback from you on our last homepage a/b test, we decided to return the category navigation, but this time under the hand-picked lists. This was we get the benefit of communicating our breadth to shoppers without diluting the beauty and simplicity of our handpicked lists. This idea was directly taken from some of your suggestions, so thanks! We really like the simplified design and hope you do as well. Over the next few weeks we will apply this new visual style to other page types as well.
Lastly, we have one more announcement. We recently acquired 1000 Markets and are happy to welcome their merchants into the Bonanza family. Many of you are likely familiar with their site already and may have items listed there. They share a number of our values and know first-hand how hard it is to start a marketplace. Please join me in welcoming them to the fold. 1000 Markets items will soon be listed on the site and their URL will redirect to our own.
I know this isn't exactly your "blah blah blah, we changed the color of your widget"-type announcement. Questions and comments are welcome, as always! In fact, we took a stab at trying to answer many of your name-change-related question already, in a FAQ dedicated to the topic. It's chock full of helpful information. Finally, if you have strong feelings or suggestions please let us know specifically what change you are referring to as well as your supporting rationale so we can really understand your point of view. We will probably break conversations out from this blog post to the forums in short time, since there are a number of changes involved here that it may be most efficient to discuss separately.
Bonanza wouldn't be the same without all of you, thank you for your continued support as we build this once-little website into something to be truly proud of.