After penning yesterday’s blog post, I was tempted to do exactly two things: one, buy and consume an entire dozen cupcakes by myself; and two, do some research to see how other local cupcakeries here in Washington, DC, are faring in the digital space.

Since I was closer to my computer than to any of the neighborhood cupcake shops (the closest is half a mile from the FairWinds office – I’ve looked into it), the second temptation won out.

The cupcake trend has swept our nation’s capital over the past few years. I could easily rattle off ten different vendors that specialize in the petite treats. But if pressed, I’d have to say that the shop that started the mini-cake mania in this town was Georgetown Cupcake. On a given afternoon, you can walk by GC’s flagship store on M Street and see the line snaking up the block. TLC even decided to base a reality TV show, DC Cupcakes, on the shop and the two sisters who run it.

But earlier this month, a new player entered the cupcake field here in the District. Sprinkles, which claims to have opened the world’s first cupcake bakery in Beverly Hills, opened up shop in Georgetown a mere six blocks from Georgetown Cupcake’s doorstep. Debate has sparked over which bakery makes more delectable desserts – whose cake is moister? Whose frosting is creamier? For the sake of my waistline, I decided to look into a different aspect of the rivalry – who has the better online brand strategy?

Georgetown Cupcake seems to have its domain name bases covered fairly well – the bakery owns both and Sprinkles, on the other hand, owns both and, plus, an invaluable keyword domain that has helped the bake shop dominate Page 1 of Google results for the term “sprinkles”. Sprinkles also pops up on the first page of results for “cupcakes,” which is impressive. If the newcomer wanted to assert its DC presence, it could register, which is currently available. Strangely, neither Georgetown Cupcake nor TLC (or its parent company, Discovery Communications, Inc.) owns or – both point to parked pages and have been registered since 2008.

In the social media realm, both bakeries own their Facebook usernames: Georgetown Cupcake and Sprinkles Cupcakes, respectively. The URL for GC’s Facebook page, and Sprinkles’ is Sprinkles’ 260,000 fans far surpass GC’s 92,000; understandable, given that Sprinkles is a national chain and GC is local to the DC Metro area. But Sprinkles also has GC beat on Twitter – whereas the DC shop owns@GTownCupcake, the West Coast transplant owns @sprinkles and @sprinklesmobile for its cupcake truck. Candace Nelson, the founder of Sprinkles, also tweets from @sprinklescandac and there is even an account for fans, run by fans, @sprinklescupcks.

So while the war over cupcake supremacy rages on, it looks like the digital battle goes to Sprinkles.

And it looks like I’ll be picking up some cupcakes on my way home from work tonight.

Lillian Fosteris

Lillian Fosteris

Director, Consulting & Strategy at FairWinds Partners
Lillian's intricate knowledge of the ins-and-outs of ICANN helps her translate Internet policies for businesses.
Lillian Fosteris
DC’s Very Own Cupcake War

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