Following the patterns of Google, Yahoo, and other internet giants, many companies have tried to copy the “cool” domain name principle. This typically consists of 1-2 catchy syllables. New startups with names like Locish.com, Awepixels.com, Yacket.com, or PostMaven.com are examples of domains that cause confusion to people like myself, with English as a 3rd language. I have no idea how to pronounce them.
Secondly, these names create a memory problem. I really will not remember what Awepixels or Banter stand for. I am having a hard time pronouncing it, let alone remember what the website is for. Can you please tell me what Locish.com is without visiting the website? Can you guess what is it for? These names make it difficult to remember what the site stands for.
Third, a startup should solve a problem that creates value in return. If we are solving a problem, shouldn’t the domain name reference an answer to the problem in at least 2-3 words? Why not have it provide an understanding of the startup’s mission?
I just purchased a domain name called MenuWithPictures.com and asked a Godaddy.com rep what they thought of it. They responded, “Immediately, I think of restaurants and menu with tons of pictures, just like redrobin.com” – GoDaddy Rep.
I am very happy to hear that GoDaddy echoes my domain name convention. What do you think? What is your opinion?
Check this domain http://whopaidlastapp.com/
I agree that one should be able to pronounce the domain name only one way, as well as making it phonetic so there’s only one possible spelling. Some poor domain name choices I’ve come across include: dribbble (3 b’s), markitx (bad play off market), expertsexchange (expert sex change or experts exchange), guchex (???).
Also, if you have a long domain name, typically more than 3 syllables, then you should think if it’s too long of a name. Sometimes it’s fine, but typically the shorter, the better. And using non-standard TLDs, such as ly, me, co, is usually not a good idea, unless it’s a really good domain hack.
As for having the domain name correlate to the function of the company, I don’t think that’s necessary. Quite a few large web-based companies have names that don’t tell you anything about their core business, such as eBay, twitter, Yahoo, Google, GoDaddy, etc… The biggest problem with using a specific domain name, such as MenuWithPictures, is that you’re now stuck with a website that must do that exact thing. For example, you wouldn’t be able to create a site that was a restaurant finder, even if it might be related to menus. The advantage with a name like Google or eBay is that it can be anything and everything.
If you become a significant player in the industry, then it doesn’t matter what your domain name is (even if it’s one of the poor choices above). People will learn how to spell and say it, although you’ll have an easier time if it’s a good choice off the bat so you don’t need to think about rebranding later on.
Thanks for the good feedback Ray. I agree with you that specific domain name could restrict startup’s ability to pivot.
I answered this on Quora too but I’d recommend choosing a domain that includes words vs choosing a generic name. The problem with generic names like Google is that they’re hard to remember and the ones that you do remember are only that way because of how successful they have been.
By choosing a domain that is made up of actual English words, you guarantee that they’re easy to spell and pronounce. If you include a keyword like “menu” it’s going to be even easier for your customers to remember your domain name.
Wow, I had missed your comment. Thank you very much!
imho, a startup name should balance between being relative enough to its market, and generic enough to allow pivots – and for most startups pivot is a sure thing to happen. In addition, I don’t think anyone remembers a name of any app or website till he/she uses it. On the contrary, if someone uses an app/website, he/she gets to memorize the name easily (even dribbble!).
And guess what, I can give you the insights of our choice of Locish as a name :). It’s supposed to be the language of locals (like English, Spanish, Spanglish etc) so it’s related to the market and up to now, all native speakers pronounce it correctly, and it’s generic enough to allow pivots into the location-based apps area. Of course, as you said, you cannot figure out what it has to do with, and that’s why tag lines are for. I guess there is not a single big company with a self-explanatory name.
So, I guess it’s not about coolness, but about business-wise. That’s a nice topic btw, I think many people have many different approaches and it’s nice to know them.
Thanks Alex for your valuable insights about Locish. You bring good point about the flexibility to pivot. This is what happened to Zappos.com. The original name was Shoesite.com, but they changed it to Zappos.com. Hence, they are selling more than just shoes.