VeriSign’s $1.3 billion sale of its SSL business to Symantec yesterday means not only that the company will be almost entirely focussed on domain names, but also that it will no longer “sign” anything.
The word “VeriSign” will cease to describe what the company does, so will it change its name?
The idea could make sense, given that the services Symantec bought are all about trusting the VeriSign brand, and Symantec has acquired certain rights to use that brand.
Under the deal, Symantec is allowed to use the VeriSign name in authentication services such as the VeriSign Trust Seal. The company plans to incorporate “VeriSign” into a new Symantec trust logo.
VeriSign boss Mark McLaughlin said on a conference call yesterday that Symantec is buying certain VeriSign trademarks, such as Thawte and GeoTrust, but that VeriSign will stay VeriSign.
Symantec will be able to use the VeriSign brand in its logos for a “transition period of time over a number of years”, McLaughlin said.
On the one hand, there’s a potential for a certain degree of confusion that might persuade VeriSign to brand itself afresh. On the other, corporate rebranding is not cheap.
I suppose, if it does choose to rename itself, it had better hope that its first choice of .com is available.