Skip to content – another bad domain name

Another variant of Health Vault, and another bad domain name. This time it’s, an online medical records play from Adam Bosworth, who left his position as head of the Google Health team. Of Bosworth’s choice of domain name, The New York Times says: “The name “kea” refers to a species of alpine parrot, which he spotted on the South Island of New Zealand

The name of an alpine parrot? From New Zealand? A homonym of “keys”? Confusingly similar to the car company Kia? Or does it mean “Killed In Action”?

I can imagine the excuses made at pitch meetings.. it’s short, and we need a short name so people can remember it. Or It was “available”. Or perhaps even “we’re a startup.. we’ll re-brand later” which is always my favorite. Rebrand later? Are you serious? And then there’s the “our exit startegy is to be bought by some big company or conglomerate, and they won’t care about the name“. Or maybe “we’re not really independent, but just set up that way so that we could do things that big established companies would not be allowed to do. Like a skunkfarm. So the name didn’t matter“.

Not to be overly critical of just the domainname,  this play seems to be all about locking up a community and keeping them away from searching for themselves. Rather than rely on healthcare search marketing, the business of reaching consumers who need need specific health information by appearing prominantly before them when they search Google or Bing, this play is about locking the consumer into a medical records database system. Once your data is in there, they own you. It will know everything about you. It will know you are 47, overweight, diabetic, and that you play fantasy football 7 hours a day on the weekends. From there, it can pretty much predict the rest (including your liklihood of drawing on health insurance coverage in the near term, mid term, long term).

It’s backed by both Google and Microsoft, so far (according to the report)… those same players who were so widely criticized when they tried to lock up medical records last time. Criticized because, well, their initiatives are completely driven by profit and corporate power, while our governments remain almost completely inert on the front of “helping people because they need help and it’s the right thing to do (and also cause we took their tax money)“.

Keas. Not a herd of small Korean cars… not those little metal things you use to start your big American car. It’s your interface to your medical records, sponsored by the companies that want to know everything about you. In order to help you. Sure.

Is it time to revive the concept of domain name consultant?


  1. Greg wrote:

    If he called it then I’d have thought of the parrot, but not keas. I’d think it was a witty locksmith or something

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 3:43 am | Permalink
  2. Shuwix wrote:

    Whoever picked that domain deserve to be stabbed in neck vein by rusty screwdriver.

    How it sound, is pronaunciation similar to “chaos” as in my language it sounds like that. And it all sounds wierd.

    Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 5:07 am | Permalink
  3. Well, health is not what comes to my mind when I hear the word Keas, but it could be much worse. I still think naming a search engine Bing is worse.

    If they someday collaborates Apple they absolutely have do make some kind of healthsome furniture application and call it iKeas ;P

    Friday, October 9, 2009 at 7:06 am | Permalink
  4. Sofia wrote:

    this is all such a strange concept to me, i can’t seem to quite get my head around it all. so if we chose to, google will store all our medical info, and then have the rights to them forever (a bit like the issue with facebook, if we leave it facebook has the rights to all our persoanl info, and our photos)? Am I on the right track here? I totally agree about the domain name as well, it shouldn’t be so odd and sterile (hang on, maybe odd and sterile is actually quite appropriate!)

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 4:37 am | Permalink
  5. Keith wrote:

    Who knows what the logic may have been but, whatever the justification (short, odd or just plain weird) it clearly doesn’t “properly reflect the corporate values, touch the target market, enable the right kind of branding”…and as for any SEO benefit? Obviously not on the agenda either (although they do have a “links” page :)). Not sure where the various venture capitalists backing this heads were at…and forgetting the SEO/SEM aspects, how about the user engagement…”Get started today” send you straight to a new account screen…weeeell, call me crazy but, after all the ruckus surrounding the privacy and security about this type of data, I think I’d like a bit more comfort about what I am signing up for before I start adding my cholestrol levels…I remain ever hopeful that the “build it and they will come” method of business planning will fade away…but, it looks like it is making a come back with Keas.

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Permalink
  6. Peter wrote:

    “Is it time to revive the concept of domain name consultant?”
    Yes, the cost to brand a new keyword can be not the money worth

    Saturday, October 24, 2009 at 7:04 am | Permalink
  7. Zach Hoffman wrote:

    Yes! The domain name consultant never left the building. Domain names are extremely valuable to companies that understand how to brand and market their domain names.

    Monday, November 16, 2009 at 10:48 pm | Permalink
  8. allison wrote:

    you know, I see your point, fearmongeringyou-know-what, because domain names always are judged by their relevance to their product and professional sound, like apple, pandora, and google. also, the internet? scarrrrry. keas is probably trying to steal all your health information so that they can own your life. I know my doctor owns my life. it really is that simple. I chose my doctor, the secret-keeper of all my medical history, based on how I thought he would do ruling my world.

    Your negative input will just hurt people, there is a future in medicine that involves the internet and results in lives being saved, and your focus on the name, which might not be the most brilliant choice, but which is certainly not bad, results in the generation of needless anxiety and sets back human progress. Thanks.

    Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 8:15 am | Permalink
  9. A Kiwi wrote:

    The worst part about the domain name is that the plural form of the word ‘kea’ is ‘kea.’ I.e. the domain name is mispelt or a neologism, and a bad one at that.

    Also, kea makes a champion squark which sounds like ‘keeaaahhh’ hence the name. All round a terrible choice of domain! Sigh.

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Permalink