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Fashionmall.com Bets on Boo.com Brand

In paying what has been reported as "substantially more" for the boo.com domain name and trademark than Bright Station paid for the failed e-tailer's technology, fashionmall.com has placed a big bet that the boo.com brand is worth big bucks; and naming experts are giving the company good odds.

The U.S.-based fashionmall.com, a content and e-commerce player, didn't disclose the exact amount it paid for the assets, but reportedly it was significantly more than the $374,000 paid by the British computer firm.

The company hopes to use the boo.com brand to boost its efforts to penetrate the European market. Boo.com had, in November 1999, begun spending $65 million for a six-nation advertising campaign in Europe and the US, which was to go on for two years.

"Boo.com is the brand in Europe for online fashion, and we have been looking for a foothold in Europe since the beginning of the year," said fashionmall.com chief executive officer Ben Narasin.

"This accelerates the process of entering the European and global market by at least six to twelve months."

But it's not just those big dollars spent on branding that naming consultants like about the deal -- it's the boo.com name itself.

"It's a much better name, and a much better opportunity for building a brand, than fashionmall.com," said Steve Manning, managing director of naming and branding firm A Hundred Monkeys.

Fashionmall.com contains two words that tend to get lost in the sea of Internet names, because they are so common. There are a lot of fashion and a lot of mall names out there, said Manning.

"It's memorable, it's unique, it's short and sweet," said Athol Foden, vice president of branding at Cintara, formerly known as NameTrade, also pointing out that it's a three-letter domain name, all of which are now taken.

"It's sometimes hard to get emotional connotations out of Internet brands like About.com or Go, but boo is full of them. If you don't have emotion today, you're nothing on the Web."

And the brand's reputation as a failed company? Will that taint fashionmall.com going forward? Apparently not, say these naming gurus, who say consumers have short-term memories for new brands.

"These brands go through all sorts of changes," said Manning.

Fashionmall.com plans to move the boo.com brand out of the e-commerce business, and position it as a vertical portal for international fashion. The company will also build on the brand created by the company's Boom online magazine, to provide editorial content about fashion.