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I’ll take “responsibility” for $14

By May 6, 2008June 22nd, 20218 Comments

Ask a room full of people to shout out the single word that comes to mind when you say “Volvo,” 90% will say “safety.” Owning a meaningful word or phrase in the mind of the consumer is the holy grail of marketing, I’d say.

To own a word is expensive and time consuming, isn’t it?


And no.

Now you can own a word in less than a minute. If you haven’t heard about The Big Word Project, you soon will.

It’s a simple idea, really. All the words in the English dictionary are being sold at $1 per letter and redefined by the buyer—kind of like naming rights for the rest of us.

The way you redefine a word is you point it to a URL.

I bought a few words:








Not bad, eh?

“Positioning” points to Outsource Marketing. The rest point to this blog.

As I write this, 3,775 word have been purchased. You might think anything worth owning would be taken, but that’s not the case.

I looked up dozens of words relative to marketing responsibility, marketing outsourcing and a number of our client’s businesses and was surprised how many common words are still available.

Of course, since I’m really a 14-year-old boy at heart, my searches devolved to turbo, stinky, boob and poop.

All but the latter are available.

Five reasons you should care:

1. This thing is picking up steam. Social media and viral marketing are driving word of mouth—it’s already been covered by a few hundred blogs, and now traditional media is beginning to jump on it.

2. The site already has a lot of quality inbound links. Since it will link back to you, it should be cheap SEO.

3. Good words (not just silly ones) are currently available but are going fast. Categorically descriptive words like insurer, accountants and medicine aren’t taken yet. If I didn’t hate cybersquatters so much, I’d gobble them all up myself.

4. For defensive purposes. Anyone can buy a word and point it anywhere. Volvo missed the boat. Tecniglas spent six bucks and now owns the word “safety.” In all fairness, even though Outsource Marketing has has a legitimate claim for the name “positioning,” since we’ve positioned hundreds of companies, products and services, Al Ries and/or Jack Trout really should own it.

5. A buck a letter is really, really cheap.

Okay, so buying a word the Big Word Project probably won’t carry quite the same weight as the Volvo brand, but hey, where else can you own a word for the price of a latte or two?

So, which words would you like to own?

Comment below to weigh in.

. . .
Inspiration from this post (and my word-buying spree) came from Maren Hogan when she purchased the word “recruit.”

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