There's many companies that either use alternative TLD's like; example.app or example.shop
Or prepend "get" or append "app" to the name to obtain the dot com TLD.
I also think that SEO and search engines make the actual domain names less important now right?
The cost of advertising is the long-term tax you pay for poor short-term decision making when naming your product or service.
What most people don't realize is that it's the "sound" of the name that's most important, not the way it looks on a logo or in a domain name.
The reason for this is the part of the brain's working memory called the phonological loop that gets excited by short repetitive rhyming sounds and rehearses them repeatedly, which is why you sometimes can't get a song or tune out of your head. This function results in repetitive and rhyming names being more readily committed to long-term memory, thus making good names not just memorable but unforgettable.
All the the best names are alliterative and rhyming, and I'd argue that Coca-Cola is the best name ever conceived so far.
"So does the available domain matter?"
Yes, but nowhere near as much as the name itself.
It's very possible to come up with original great sounding unique names that position you well in the marketplace, it just takes time and a lot of patience.
But then came the mandatory domain name (expensive back then) and email adresses.
So we when we had to spell it on the phone, it was a nightmare, even mor in french because we had to explain it was the dash on the 6 and not the dash on the 8 (underscore on French keyboards).
So it was something like "g, dash, yes the one on the 6 not on the 8, etc.."
No need to say that there were a lot of lost emails back then.
And that we bought the domain name without the dash when it became affordable !
Another classic is the (intentional) "http colon slash slash slash dot dot org"
Additionally try not to use long top-level domains - I'm using now ".digital" but every time I have to type it it feels too long to me => I'm regretting having moved my (outdated) webpage there.
NB: domain names are not for sale. You cannot buy them. You can only register control of them for a time period.
And neither of those have hyphens
That was only 2 years after the company was formed! Despite some (deserved) local Silicon Valley backlash, the brand is really strong and unblemished around the world AFAICT. It seems to avoid bad connotations in other languages AFAIK.
It's harder to imagine Lycos or Altavista becoming a verb. Maybe it's because Google has been a verb for so long, but "google it" sounds better than "lycos it" and I cannot imagine ever saying "just altavista it". I certainly cannot image someone saying "I dogpiled this".
"good" + "frugal" -> "google"
Altavista has more syllables than google.
Source? A web search is not corroborating this version. What I can find is this, from Perfect Figures (Crumpacker, 2007):
> On a walk with Milton and Milton’s brother, he asked if either of them had any ideas, and Milton came up with googol.
> At this late date—Milton died in 1980—we can only speculate about why that was the word he thought of. Did he like the burbly, messy, baby sound of goo? Or did it sound monstrous, like a name for an ogre? Had he heard of Barney Google with the goo-goo-googly eyes?”
Seems like this explanation is at best pure speculation. (Didn’t stop someone from adding it to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barney_Google_and_Snuffy_Smith as a factual claim, improperly referencing the book quotation above. I just fixed it.)
Apparently Larry found it a convincing enough story that the first book scanned for Google books was The Google Book, which was itself th source for the name Barney Google.
I wonder if their $3.8 billion yearly advertising budget has anything to do with that.
This is just to qualify my next statements.
Domainers grossly overestimate the impact of domain names. Entrepreneurs grossly underestimate it.
The truth is somewhere in between. Domains are important, but they're not going to make or break a shoddy product.
As long as you get a domain that's pronounceable, easy to type in, and memorable, you should be fine.
In particular, this means staying away from exotic extensions - both gTLDs like ".travel" and ccTLDs like ".io"
Because the average user still thinks of the web as .com. Tell them that your website is abccorp.io and they will type in abccorp.com. In fact there is a cottage industry of domainers who buy .com versions of websites in other TLDs just to make money off the type-in traffic.
If you can't get the domain you want, add a prefix like "get"
Remember that domains are essentially about branding. You want to sound familiar yet stand out. Imagine the domain name as a standalone retail store. Does the name make sense? Does it seem trustable?
Like if you're selling watches, "WatchCenter.com" makes sense. You can practically imagine a big retail chain named 'Watch Center'.
Some of favorite prefixes/suffixes to get solid brands are: hub, mojo, hero, smart, open, start, center, station, base, next, genius, zap, wire, active, metrics, dojo.
Add them before/after a keyword to get a decent domain (like "InstaPayments" or "CodingDojo.com")
Just make sure that you stick to .com
Depending on what your company sells SEO is either going to be really expensive or you aren’t going to have to worry about it. In my experience and opinion from a purely SEO stand point you should have your business name or primary product / product category in the domain name. I typically don’t trust companies that out the product in the domain name though. For example, bestgloves.com or babyclothes.com. I try to buy based on honest reviews (getting harder and harder to find) but the majority of the internet just clicks on the top Google search result and typically buys from there.
So with all that being said, in my opinion, importance of domain name all depends on your target audience.
I can confirm it - my father keeps doing that (I keep postponing this therefore very soon I'll have to try to explain him the difference, but I have to find an entertaining way to do that when mentioning IP-addresses, virtual hosts, DNS, etc... => difficult).
one thing that worked nicely for me in the past when explaining domains:
full domain name: actual internet address of a company, like a street address of a store.
google.com is equal to streetname.number
if you know the number (eg tld) of the house, you just go there directly and enter the store.
if you do know the street (google), but do not know the number of the house (.com) you need to stop and ask someone for the way, and this is what google.com is for.
usually the big aha effect is that google.com is an address which leads you to a page that allows you to find other addresses.
going to google.cn (or whatever country you like) might help too, explaining how google has both .com and .cn and .nz and so on, all different "storefronts" of the same company, catering to different countries.
once that is understood, and if it was easily understood, maybe explain how the top bar (in most browsers) can be used for both searching for addresses and to input addresses directly,
then set the default search engine to duckduckgo.
hope that helps :)
Ok, thanks a lot for that, that part might work (I read all the rest but this might be the best foundation) => I might expand based on that - not a new idea, but to make it more explicit and more directly related to what is already known, it could work better than doing the usual abstract monologue which generates glassy eyes. Thank you! :)
Small correction: the left side of a domain name is the most specific. For example, `translate.google.com` is like `number.street.city`, not the other way around.
It may seem like the end of a domain name is like the street number, since it's often a country-code, but it's more like having company that's so big that they have the same street address in every city.
Chrome's Omni bar, and even newer Firefox addressbar encourage the use of search engines, and I have never seen someone type "bestgloves.com". At worst, they search for Gloves on their favorite seller web site (which can be different in many countries, Amazon in US/EU, Shopee in Indonesia, etc).
I really doubt most people do that these days. They’ll usually type a few letters of the name and the browser will fill in the rest. Type ‘wikip’ and you’ll get to Wikipedia.
I'm not a SEO expert by any means, but I'm confident that the domain name still does matter. There must be something about the domain name age, its length and TLDs.
You need to think of your company or product name as the interface to the collective psyche of your customer base. The stronger and more positive the association the higher chance your little idea has a chance to be understood and stick around in people's minds long enough to catch fire.
Two essential tools for domain name research:
1. https://domainr.com: search a name across multiple TLDs simultaneously
2. https://wordoid.com: search for different versions based on a root word (i.e. word-oid, nap-ster, etc)
Consider the fact that a brand and the company name are two separate things. Think Uber Cab (Uber), Google (Alphabet), Tide (P & G). The domain name can/should be tied to the product - and the brand. The company name itself can be anything really. As a first step to a rename if you really really want to do it, you could file an incorporation document amendment that says "Company AD15asd Corp, d.b.a. NiceBrand"
I don't know the details, but given how painful the process of switching email addresses of everyone in the company is, it must have been really bad.
".io" is used quite a lot (subjectively) => I thought that in general all top-level domains were reliable... .
Any kind of additional info like what kind of reliability issues, how often, etc....?
> Or prepend "get" or append "app" to the name to obtain the dot com TLD.
This is bad advice - always check if the word is trademarked. I learned it the hard way - I was running mentionme.app and mention.com sent me a cease and desist letter, since they own the word "mention".
Similarly Facebook sent a cease and desist letter to openbook.social.
I'm collecting cases like this, as I recently had to go through the rename. If you know more please let me know. I've documented my story here: https://medium.com/syften/you-should-obsess-over-your-produc...
Careful with domains outside of .com, .org, .net, and maybe the major country or region TLDs. Spammers are real quick to jump in when a new TLD becomes available. Mail with a from address in those domains can quickly become a very good indicator of spam to a spam learning filter.
Plus, some people might not be patient enough to wait for their filters to figure that out, and just do it manually. I've got all the following TLDs going straight to mostly ignored mailbox, because I receive a ton of spam from them and have never received a legit message from them:
accountant bid christmas click club cricket date download faith gdn gq help info link loan men party press pro racing review science site space stream team top trade uno webcam website win work xyz zone
It might be fine to use the newer TLDs for web stuff, but I'd say try to get a domain under one of the classic TLDs to use for email from and reply-to addresses.
From a company perspective I do think a domain name is important when it comes to being easy for people to remember, related to the business properly and uses a well known TLD. I think the use of the classic TLDs will become less and less important with time, but I see a lot of people nervous if a site is using a new TLD they haven't heard of. This matters depending who your target audience is in the end. If it is engineers than probably less important, if it is general consumers the importance is higher.
Also, I generally try to avoid abbreviations in the name but at the same time try to avoid long names the best I can. Outside of that I wouldn't get overly excited about it myself. But to answer your question, I won't name a company unless I have done searches for decent domain names I think are easy for the target audience to grasp/remember and type in.
The thing I find interesting is that doing the research gives me a new perspective on whether or not I really want to go after that business/model. The SEO search turns up potential competitors, domain squatters, etc. While thinking about different names to lookup and key words to search for, my context changes to a potential customer...
A lot of times it reminds me ("oh yeah... did I talk to real potential customers yet?") and if I didn't, I'm in real trouble of building another tool that no one wants :(
Keys to naming:
1. Come up with a temporary throwaway name and build your MVP
2. Start brainstorming permanent names and see if any are trademarkable available on secondary market for less than $100,000.
3. As soon as you can afford to, acquire your preferred domain name and file the trademark.
4. Rebrand the company.
This should ideally happen before you build too much brand equity in your temporary name. I spent $2000 on my name because it perfectly describes my business. When I made the decision, it actually cost $5000.
The final name should not be related to the first name to avoid tipping off domain owner.
If I remember correctly though Discord used to be DiscordApp.com it wont hurt to start out with a longer .com that has app at the end. I would also consider .app maybe Google will rate it higher but I am no SEO expert and that would involve separate research.
Post from Paul Graham, surprised HN didnt share this one yet:
Not all TLDs are treated equally. Think of this yourself: would you trust URLs with .xyz or .to? Those domains are used so much in spam (because they are cheap or free), and we already have bias against them.
At best, these novelty TLDs work as an extension to the .com domain. If you can, always always buy the .com. you will probably need to pay a premium (domainers awfully overcharge you), or choose an abstract name at least.
You will need to think about the TLS registry and technical details as well:
- Most novelty TLD nameservers are run on "shared" nameservers that handle other TLDs as well.
- Some TLD nameservers are quite slow as well, which can result in recursive nameservers to be slow.
- DNSSEC, Nameserver glue, and whois considerations.
- Registries will have to pay ~$25K in annual fees in addition to costs to run the servers. This cost will be spread among domain owners. This is one of the reasons why certain TLDs tend to be expensive (apart from the registry greed)
I'm starting http://watch.ly and even with a short name like that I don't expect to get a lot of customers from online advertising and the like. But the name is easy to remember which is important.
But there is plenty of marketing that hinges on there being an acceptable sexy interpretation of a name or catch phrase -- hot and ready pizza, Easy Stripper paint removal product -- so it isn't even as simple as "Just make sure it can't possibly be interpreted as sexual."
Different people approach this space differently. I like casually collecting stories or examples of successes that break the mold. Questionable Content has a .net name and as far as I know is the best monetized webcomic on the planet, or was at one time. Hyperbole And A Half uses blogspot and has no TLD. She just uses the blogspot url.
Aflac is not the actual name of the Fortune 500 insurance company best known by that name. Their legal name is still American Family Life Assurance Company. They originally incorporated as American Family Life Insurance Company. Internal tales from when I worked there indicated that they lost the original name in "a gentleman's coin toss" between two CEOs because there was another company in another state with the same name and it had to be settled somehow.
They had low name recognition for an industry that already lacks sizzle and tends towards poor name recognition and thought about renaming it, but that would require filing new papers in all fifty states and other places they do business. They decided to go with the acronym.
It's kind of like calling someone Bill when his birth certificate says William. Everyone knows that's not how he signs his name on a check and no one will be confused by it when his signature is different from what his friends call him.
As noted in another comment, most people don't relate to the web the way most hackers do. You need to have some idea of how people will be accessing your site, from where, when, why, etc.
It's great if you can find a unique .com that hasn't already been taken that is also an excellent name for the company in question, but it shouldn't be the single most important thing involved in picking a name.
These guys paid €500,000 ($550,000) to buy teamwork.com, they were running under teamworkpm.net.
Apparently the change paid for itself in 3 months.
If most of your users will come to your side through facebook posts, instagram stories and twitter then the url really doesn't matter, they’re never typing it.
If your brand picks up with them you’ll be able to buy the premium .com version
If it cant pick up without your social media users alone then that says what it needs to say
The guy that 'extorted' us dropped out of law school and knew exactly what he could and couldn't say.
So the answer to that is probably that it's not extortion if you know your way around the law and are clever about it. He never extorted us, he just offered to sell us the domain name that was shit talking our company. Of course he's allowed to SEO the domain name with a link farm, that's not illegal. And it's not slander if it's true or not presented as a fact, just as speculation.
You don't really want to become known as an easy extortion target.
I just checked his blog/authority site and he does exactly the same thing to others now. Apparently he won a court case where he did this to a government agency and his current target seems to be a cleaning company that took his parking spot once.
If not, I'm sure a combination of things could work, like Facebook or Netflix.
You can bet that the moment Spotify hit big, a bunch of domainers registered every good name ending in "-ify"
for eg [get/try/use/make][sutra].com - most common variant is get nowadays.
then when you become big enough pay off the squatter to give you sutra.com
Sometimes the company is (from a brand perspective) the same with its products. But it might also be that you name your company in a way and then be more thoughtful about the name of the product.
Sometimes the customer remembers more the name of the product and not the company. Also sometimes the customer remembers a USP which could also be the domain name and not the actual product name.
It was very important very google used to give a lot of weight to .com domains and exact matches but thanks to SEOers exploiting that I don't think a .com ranks higher than .info or .co either just because it's a .com
The only thing that matters is the tld reliability imo. I mean stay away from domains like tk etc which have a known bad history.