I have a name idea for a company semi in the same industry but completely different idea. The name really works for my idea so i would really like to use it. The only issue I can see is confusion of people going to the other website and social pages. I thought about adding the word "the" in front of the name. For example topplayers.com vs thetopplayers.com
Check USPTO.gov to see if they have a trademark. "Semi in the same industry" could be an issue if they have a trademark. Trademarks exist to eliminate the likelihood of confusion between companies in similar industries. Further, if they do not have a trademark, and you apply for one, they can keep you from having one issued.
Other then all the legal stuff you might get into (been there). The best tip I can give you is. Follow your gut feeling. I see that you allready have doubts based on media/marketing confusion, this is a no-go(!)
I would personally avoid using "the" to "differentiate" my business from another...
You wrote, "the same industry but completely different idea."
That is a red flag the size of the Republic of Texas...
You'll have confusion in Marketing... That is a problem...
Even worse, you'll have massive issues with your online and offline reputation.
Trust me... Humans usually take the path of least resistance. If they post a bad review, they won't be looking for "the" in front to differentiate your business from the other. They'll simply post away...
If you step back and ponder it, most "average Joes" won't even stop to think if "the" in front means it is a different business.
The bottom line is... I'd recommend spending a few hours brainstorming a name you can buy the .com domain name and register the trademark. It will save you many hours in the future.
There CAN be a problem with using the same name. Good grief some of the advice in these forums is unreal. Dane makes great suggestions. Also adding "the" is not going to differentiate enough if the other company has the same name and is in a similar space/industry. If they have the same name, while they may not officially have registered the name, they can still claim rights to the name if they can prove they have used the name for an extended period of time or are earning revenue. USPTO has plenty of videos that are informational in the process that will save you from having to talk with a lawyer initially. Good that you realize the importance of paying attention to detail in the startup process. Worrying about traffic is important, but you also don't want to build your company to a success only to have someone who DID do their homework tell you you must stop using your name. Then you will have to re-market your entire company potentially if the name is such a pivotal factor. Not to mention it will confuse customers.
the is no problem in using the same name as long as the product is not an imitation of the former
also the prior company had a choice to register both the domains that you mentioned for protecting their brand, if they wanted to
so there is no problem
I only worry about losing traffic to that website but I suppose best case scenario I buy out there domain or it expires eventually.
Research how many more Companies have similar/same name as you want to call your Venture. It will help you to decide ''is it worth it to use one more name like this''.
You also can add additional word to identify the product, location, other specific element
First thing, if a company (name) is already existing and active in business, I would not use similar name. Leaving the trademark or such issues aside, the other company may come after you for any reason. And importantly, people searching on web would be confused seeing similar names (regardless line of business), thus a risk of losing credibility. Say, your or other company in news, there is a gain or loss in the search hits as people search and could be diverted to a wrong site.
If the other company (or domain) name is registered under your name and you own it, then the scenario is totally different and better you forget the name all the way. Think it is the time to find a better or unique name for your new company. Because you are thinking the old name is not working, then why the heck do you still go after the same or similar name again?. It is time to sharpen your naming skills for your new endeavour.
Good luck :)