Company Name Changes
When a company involves itself in fraudulent or shady behavior and gets caught, their brand name and public perception will be damaged. When a company makes a mistake, a major mistake that will not quickly be forgotten, they often find it in their best interest to change their company's name. Many famous companies have made complete name changes in order to avoid past problems. When doing business with a company, it's important to be aware of these past changes; that may be a telling sign of serious problems. Anastasia Web, for example, has changed its name many times. Because of that, they are able to continue practicing in the international introduction industry. Because they are always under a different name, the reports of their behavior are hard to find. Problems like this are more common than you would expect, so be aware of what a company name change can actually signify.
Blackwater is responsible for the most currently well-known company name change due to a disastrous event. In 2007, the private security company was responsible for the killing of 17 unarmed and innocent civilians in Baghdad. The company was there providing security for the State Department in Afghanistan and Iraq. In attempts to put the incident behind them and out of the memory of the world, the company changed its name to Xe (pronounced "zee"). All of the Blackwater subsidiaries removed any reference to the brand name.
ValuJet also dealt with a disaster by changing their company name. A 1996 plane crash in the Everglades involved a futile recovery process and gained much media attention. In the end, all 110 passengers were pronounced dead. Although they did not receive any charges (maintenance contractor SabreTech was found responsible and charged), ValuJet still changed its name in 1997. They became known as AirTran when they merged with a company of that same name.
An example of a name change due to fraudulent behavior is WorldCom. After being caught for $11 billion worth of fraud, they moved their business to a different state and also changed their name to the name of a company they were merging with, MCI.
If you are considering whether to do business with a company, make sure you are aware of any name changes they have had in the past. Because it's a quick way to misdirect bad attention, companies with shady business practices tend to have a lot of name changes. One perfect example of this unfortunate reality is the seemingly fraudulent international dating company known as Anastasia Web. The international introduction industry is very susceptible to fraudulent activity, and companies like Anastasia have been accused of making quick profits by misrepresenting themselves and the users. These constant complaints, not to mention an "F" from the Better Business Bureau, have caused them to change names repeatedly for years. From names like RussianBrides.com to AnastasiaWeb.com, Anastasia-International.com, AnastasiaDate.com and AmoLatina.com, the company has tried to change its persona just enough to avoid attention. It simply goes to show how negative attention can be dodged with a name change..
Although a name change is a great way for a company to maintain its status and avoid future criticism of past discretions, it is also a red flag. The way to build a company is to build the brand name. When people hear your company name, you want them to recognize it and know exactly what you do. When a company is changing their name for no necessary reason, it raises the question of why. If you are trying to spread publicity about your company, changing your name will only hurt your efforts. If you are involving yourself with a company that has multiple name changes, you may want to research the reasons for them.