Rob Frankel - Branding Expert

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GONE.com

As you've no doubt heard from me before, it takes guts to be a leader. On my tapes, I talk about being able to "walk down the street naked", challenging people to follow. But I also talk about brand compatibility and how simply slapping your logo on a completely anomalous enterprise ain't gonna save it -- no matter how impressed with your brand you may be.

Good bye, go.com.

Once again, another huge brand has poured millions of dollars' worth of arrogance into a poorly executed operation that yielded little more than an affirmation of one of my favorite aphorisms: just because you're rich doesn't make you right.

From where I sit, Disney had it coming. From the very beginning, they could never figure out how to buy their way into the online market, not matter how much cash they flashed. They even had the temerity to usurp goto.com's logo in the process, just one decision that revealed how truly clueless they had been all along. They must have thought "a little online start up" wouldn't dare whack their knuckles in court. Or they were just plain ignorant of its existence. Maybe both.

Either way, they blew it. They lost their court battles. They lost their credibility. And most important to the Eisner gang, they lost their money.

Go.com didn't so much bolt out of the starting gate as it kind of lurched over, dead. The reason it was DOA was due (of course) to a branding issue. Disney, perhaps the most conceited brand on the planet, allowed its own self-image to blur its already clouded vision of the web. They made the mistake of thinking they could force the market to conform to their brand, instead of the other way around. They really thought they could create a captive online environment where they could charge $8 for a 50 cent hot dog, just as they do in their offline parks.

No sale.

When you step back from the whole picture, you can see that Michael and his mafia certainly never heard about "being the only solution to their prospects' problems." The fact is, they really don't care. Haven't since Walt died. And that's reason #1 why Go.com is finally getting its plug pulled.

For those of you who wish to find Go.com, it's still there for the time being. After that, it'll still be pretty easy to find: somewhere on EBay, gone to the highest bidder.

Rob Frankel

 
 
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