All the power to you for finding a niche market, but suckers be warned that it's highway robbery!
edit: downvoted within 2 minutes of posting this without a reply. i guess you guys were looking for a AAA+++ , would buy again review. what a joke
edit2: Sorry for coming off as harsh, but this sort of domain related shit has been plaguing the net for a long time
The value of a product is usually not cost of labor + cost of materials, it's the value it brings to the buyer. $106.99 won't get me the same value, because I have to spend long frustrating hours trying to find a decent available domain name, then a few more hours going back and forth with a designer for a logo I may or may not like. Not having to do that is easily worth $143.01.
I agree that the domain system is horribly broken, but these guys are closer to a solution than to a problem.
While it seems the database hasn't been updated in awhile, it definitely gives very good/quick results without hours of work.
Even with those tools, I still hate looking for domain names :)
They could charge 4x as much and probably close just as much business, because $1000 is a rounding error for a serious 2-person startup.
I don't see why you're bagging on them.
It's somewhat analogous to say most software patents, in that their sole purpose seems to be enacting a social cost. You're not going to do anything with that patent/domain, you're just going to wait until someone else thinks of it as well.
I wish we had enacted policies against squatting back in the '90s. But Internet governance did very much the opposite thing. This argument ended a long time ago. Why piss in the wind about it? In the post-domain-squatting world, this is a great offering.
What would your suggestion be as far as a policy that could have stopped domain squatting?
I can't think of a scenario that you could have that would allow someone to purchase a name but then not allow them to sell the name. So what you would end up with is names that are registered but have not found their way (through the free market) to the best possible use.
People tend to think that if the name they wanted wasn't owned by a squatter who was trying to sell it it would be available when they decided they wanted to use it. It would just be sitting there and not in the hands of someone else for a non squatting purpose.
As recently as 2001 I remember attorneys asking if they could use the domain law.com because "I type it in and nothing comes up". As if nobody thought of using that in the prior years or something (and this happened with many names actually).
I'd really like to know your thoughts on this.
I've often thought of this. I think $500/year or $1000/year is an entirely reasonable price for a .com domain, and would immediately clear out mountains of cruft. Even $50 or $100/year would get 50-75% of it.
But it would also prevent many people from getting their own site because of the cost. I don't think you would have many people taking as many chances as has happened with the current pricing.
Lowering costs has helped the net even though there are undesirable consequences as with anything.
Some .ly domain works just as well as a .com, technically.
It would just get rid of all the noise in com/net/org.
(See where this is going?)
For some domains, true. In other cases considering that back in the day there were an infinite number of domains that you could register (and by the way they cost $70.00 after they were initially free) and $35 per year (until ICANN and competition dropped the price) I wouldn't say it was simply "thinking of it first".
As somebody who spent much time programming algorithms to figure out which domains to, um, SQUAT on, I would hardly say I own names just because "I merely thought of it". It seems like that way now because now value has been established and it's obvious.
Do you think it was obvious back then? It wasn't. I was there.
It's not something anyone I knew did. I didn't get the idea from anyone or even read about anyone doing this type of thing. It was totally organic.
And it wasn't something my sister or her uncle had either the knowledge or the skills to do. I knew perl and shell scripting and had worked with Unix for some time. (Back before the Internet with 1 or two books on a machine that costs $40,000 that I paid for in 1980's dollars. Meaning $40,000 in 1985 for an AT&T 3b2-400 back when that was simply not done at a company that size at that time.) My point being that I didn't just wake up in the morning and buy a pack of gum and make money.
It's not like patent trolls because there are many possible names that someone can use for their business. And if they have a trademark for a particular term then this is a non issue because there are procedures for getting that domain name (UDRP and other legal procedures). Which by the way are slanted against domainers. (And domainers know this by the way and take it into account in their dealings if they are smart.)
Do you think people should be allowed to buy and sell things they own?
All arbitrage is a "pure wealth transfer", but it's also how we increase the liquidity of markets.
If someone else is using a domain name you'd like to use, and they're willing to sell it to you for a price you find reasonable, that's OK, right? Why should the sale be forbidden if they're not currently using the name?
What makes this case a lot more palatable is that they have actually put the time and effort in to mock up a logo to go along with the domain. Sure, it's not much, but they did actually add some value, they are not simply generating names and registering them automatically. It may or may not be worth $250, but it's a lot better than people selling just domains for thousands just because they got there first.
Their process does not add value. Let me reiterate: Allow me to buy the name at a discount price, but still at a 600% or so markup over the $8 price. Add value to the process by allowing me to bundle more of your services and maybe you'll have a customer.
All you're doing here on HN is --- whether you realize it or not --- brainwashing nerds into believing the market works in ways that it does not.
In the real world, this is an extraordinarily generous offering that absolutely hits a sweet spot in reducing pain for new startups. Every one of the entrepreneurs on this site have gone through days, weeks, sometimes months of pain trying to brand a new product. I have products I haven't started working on yet solely because I can't figure out a name I don't hate.
Please stop conning nerds into thinking the world works the way you want it to.
I know someone who does this for a living. And I know for a fact he sold some domain for 500x as much. He has a $100,000 chest just to buy domains and sit on them for years if necessary. For larger domain acquisition he usually gets the money from other sources.
There is a lot of other value you're buying here - the selection of the name, the connection of the name and an aesthetic, the skills for which don't magically appear in people overnight.
Did you look at the site? Care and consideration has been exercised in the branding of these names, from colors to typography. If the "raw materials" are indeed $99 + $7.99, then $250 is a good deal for what amounts to 1.5-2 hours of skilled work to create this finished product.
[This one](http://stylate.com/portfolio/sporous-com/) is just the domain name in a particular font. They don't even include rights to the font! That is bullshit.
I'm echoing the "lipstick on a pig glorifying domain squatting." These guys are like upscale spammers, or group buying discount sites.
Second, professional designers do not give you the rights to the typeface they use for their logotypes. You ask them, they obtain them, and then they invoice you the several hundred dollars the logotype cost them.
Third, why would you want the font used for this particular logo? It's a terrible display font. Its only value is in creating logotypes like this one.
I find this particular critique unfounded.
I'm willing to accept this. Point to your favour.
>Third, why would you want the font used for this particular logo?
Because I might want to tweak it, resize it, use it on letterheads, put it on my business card, create sub products that follow the "brand style", etc. A vector drawing at the minimum is essential.
That said it's entirely moot because I took a look at their FAQ and:
>The logo is a simple mockup designed to feature the domain name but we do send it to you. We have professional logo designers that can tweak or redo the logo if you are interested. Just email us.
Eh. Glorified domain squatting. It makes you feel good about paying through the nose for bogus "intellectual property".
A license to use an image does not necessarily include the license to use the elements making up the image.
Something that has escaped many people who are in the habit of helping people for nothing is that their knowledge has value to others as a time saver among other things.
Back when NSI was essentially the "Internic" a living could be made by simply knowing how to submit a form to them to register a domain on behalf of a customer. If you (as an end user) wanted to take the time to learn how to do the same thing (which didn't require a medical school education of course) you could avoid those charges.
At that point I'm looking to spend some time and get it done properly.
Every one of them clears the bar of "presentable to early customers".
Most clear the bar of "presentable to mainstream customers".
None are distinctive, which is to say, none send the signal "we picked one of The Cool Designers and paid $10,000 for this logo". But virtually nobody needs that.
Think whatever you want about these designs, but if you bring a prototype to market that looks like the typical "Show HN" because you're too cool to buy a cheap design, you'll suffer for it.
If you were going to get another logo from the off I'm sure you could spend a few hours thinking of a great (available) name too.
Have you ever spent months of manpower and thousands of dollars coming up with a name for your company? I suspect not, otherwise it would be crystal clear what the value of this service is, and what an absolute steal $250 is. Nobody expects $7 for a domain these days. You might as well complain about how land is so expensive, considering it was all claimed for pennies per acre less than 200 years ago.
I don't even care for the logo -- to me it simply provides a demonstration that it's possible to create a decent sounding/looking brand from the name.
As for highway robbery -- well, that's fine if you think that. Again I wonder if you've ever been told that the minimum offer for a domain is 5 figures. You can go ahead and insist on your non-existent right to a $7 registration if you please, but pragmatic people who need to get things done ASAP will recognize this as an incredible offer.
If you do ever offer a product or service, what will you say when your customer insists that your price solely reflect the cost of materials and labor?
This is great, I see two or three on there that'd work for a prototype i'm working on and may decide to release as a proper app.
Saves precious time and is worth it. Some half decent logos as well.
A steal or good deal is not a reason to buy something in every case. In fact you can end up buying things that you don't need.
This is the philosophy of loss leaders. Things that get you into a store based on a deal only to have you end up buying something you didn't necessarily need on inpulse.
There is no way that it could be said any better.
If your local agency that charges $3k for a logo is Ruth Chris Steakhouse, these guys are McDonalds - and I mean that as a compliment.
(No affiliation except as a customer)
As a founder, I want to personalise my domain, and design, and that means coming up with different concepts, and searching whois until I find a good match that's available ... The design then has to represent what the product is about in a non-generic way ... The designs on this site are far too generic for my taste
I can't imagine myself going to that page with a concept and saying 'AHA, that's exactly what I wanted' ... Possibly it could in reverse if someone is looking for inspiration for their next startup ...
By all means, do the things you talk about when it's time--but that time is usually not at the beginning.
I have a lot of ideas I put on the backburner 'cause I'm busy with other things. The value in this isn't just the domain, it's the "packaging" of the entire first part of the process. I do this on themeforest too.. browse landing pages for one startup, but maybe buy a landing page that happens to be suited to another random startup idea, if I saw it.
Good luck to you, sirs / madams.
I'm sure they'll be sold out by the end of the day.
I am not too comfortable with this service though, i don't like the thought of you squatting away hundreds of good startup names. Partly because the price point of $250 sounds very expensive to me, at least as someone sitting in India.
But these prices aren't completely unreasonable, they come with (generally quite decent) logos, and they would save a startup countless hours of faffing over domains.
These guys are actually helping, by doing the hard work of sifting through the relatively few good ones still available and charging a fair price for the effort.
Save all your outrage for the real scumbags and the ICANN organization that makes them possible.
As far as blackballing, I can think of one super well known tech figure who came from the domain industry - Michael Arrington.
2. Adding value
3. Not using means such as using expiring names
4. Not using "bottom feeder" tactics like parking page advertising.
From wikipedia: cybersquatting:
" or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else"
What goodwill or trademark are they misusing?
[Edit: For formatting, but couldn't get it to look like I want.]
You mean trademarked.
They're adding value to a domain & selling it at (what I believe to be) a reasonable price. They're clearly investing time coming up with ideas for domains that they can create decent logos for. You would easily pay $500+ for a 'good' logo.
This is sort of like the domain-squatter's equivalent of department store mannequins: visual aids that help shoppers picture what the items could look like in practice, sparking their imaginations, and thereby convincing them to buy. In this case, the logos are really just giveaways to sell visually and tangibly what would otherwise be abstract names. Again: it's kind of a stroke of genius, but it's a stroke of genius in a questionable profession.
So I end up with very mixed feelings here. Kudos to this guy for innovating, and for doing a good job at it. But I fear the rise of a second domain-squatting gold rush, when/if a bunch of squatters copy this model en masse and set up squat + design sweatshops to crank them out.
It doesn't matter if you call it squatting or "domaining", in the end you are blocking thousands of domain names on the hope that someone needs that name so much that he will pay ransom for it.
(Kind of related: Anyone interested in a URI-dnsbl of squatted domain names?)
I'm curious how you think that it's related. A blacklist directly impacts the startup purchasing the domain from purchasing it because of the murky ground involved in removing a domain name from blacklists.
And then, if you have a clear-cut mechanism for getting domain names off a blacklist when they cease to be squatted, what's the point of it? Domainers don't tend to build websites on theses domains, so blacklisting them out of being indexed on search engines is simply fixing a problem that doesn't exist. And as such, it doesn't lower the projected value of the domain in the eyes of either the purchaser or seller.
So it's not clear what purpose a URI-dnsbl would serve in regards to domaining.
> I'm curious how you think that it's related.
It is only tangentially related because it is about domain squatting in general.
> removing a domain name from blacklists.
Of course the list would only carry squatted names, not names that have been brought from squatters. It would have to be regularly updated with a simple way to remove domains.
Some squatted domains do show up in search engines, so it could be used as a filter for that. Even better, when you accidentally land on a squatted domain (by following a link to a now-dead site, or by typoing a domain name) you get automatically redirected to Google or another search engine instead.
Gabriel Weinberg from Duck Duck Go has a similar list that he uses for his search engine, but he also had a Firefox toolbar that would prevent you from visiting squatted domains and instead get you to the correct domain when it was a typo. (The toolbar doesn't exist anymore).
The absolute worst thing that can happen is that you show your idea to someone and they're totally indifferent.
That some people love this and others hate it, and that you've generated hundreds of comments, shows that this is worth pursuing.
Bookmarked for next time I get stuck thinking of names. My usual process is to think of an idea I think is great, spend 2-3 days thinking of names, set up a domain and landing page. Saving that 2-3 days for $250 is something I'd seriously consider.
Often these ideas are impulses that consume me for a week or two, then I get bored of them or find someone else who's already doing a great job of filling the need.
I would experiment with pricing - at $250 it's not an impulse buy. It is a fantastic price for someone who is seriously starting a company, but I have a hunch that people like me (who have a day job but regularly come up with ideas they love and obsess over for a week or two, that then fizzles out to nothing) is a larger market and has potential for repeat purchases. If you can tap into that you may find more revenue, cashing in on the empty dreams of dilettantes like me :)
It is far easier to pick a random name and match it with some random generic branding, than to be given MySpecificProduct.com and build a brand around that. Branding companies charge a lot of money because it (generally) takes a lot of time, effort and expertise to build good brands.
There is also the fact that it would become a designer-client relationship than a merchant-customer one. Clients get to dictate what they want (to a certain extent), customers see what they are getting before they buy. What if they built a brand around MySpecificProduct.com and you didn't like it?
You can always iterate later if necessary, but this gives you something to use NOW, and put the discussion away and get back to real work.
Also, I love the layout. Very straightforward.
I currently subscribe to the http://justdropped.com/ mailing list which has daily domain names that he buys as they expire.. I could see something similar for your site, but with logos attached.
Also, a NewsLetter would be a great way for me to keep up with the (weekly?) new designs you add to the store.
Keep it up!
A URL alone does not makes a site or a success.
Seriously? You've given up on an idea because you couldn't find a domain name? Your idea is contingent on a domain?
I'm trying to figure out what "TweetBump" is. The obvious answer is: It's Twitter, plus Bump. You wander around a party bumping phones with folks, and every time you do that both of you automatically Tweet "I bumped into [X] at [Awesome Location Y]".
(No obvious business model, though. ;)
(And I'm not a Bump user, so I wouldn't exactly be surprised to learn that the app has already supported this for years. ;)
Sometimes you can spend 3-20 hours trying to figure out a name, domain, and branding. I'd pay a couple hundred bucks to skip that step. I wish this existed all those previous times I was stuck grinding on names!
If I was starting out something new I'd def check here, and use this as a starting point, use the logo to start a basic site, get a letter head made and some business cards done - bang, hours save, cost of a decent logo save, headaches saved.
Plus, you can change your name when ever you like - people get so overly stressed about names, as though the .com is the most important thing.
Love the fixed $250 price.
Great work guys.
Serves me right for having worked almost 4 years for a very large mobile games developer here in Argentina and having seen 40% of my paycheck being eaten away by inflation in the last few years.
I simply can't afford these domains, I would have loved to have them turned into full blown sites, just for fun!
Congratulations to the people that purchase them... please treat them nice :)
$250 it too cheap.
Nonetheless, this is a superb idea, which can become easily profitable.
I'd be surprised if most of the domains are not sold quickly.
Are you seriously saying that if you owned the domain name coke.com and the domain name jkkjs7e98wesj.com that you'd sell them to me for £10 each?
I wonder if you'd consider locking in the matching Twitter, YouTube, etc. names as well. I'm afraid that if you don't now unscrupulous people will start scanning the site and picking those up.
The costs in terms of our time, plus the design time are going to be way more that $250 - so if this has something you want and can use, great. If not there are literally millions of other names out there.
These guys, IMHO, are adding value. If you think not - fair enough, but they aren't selling just a domain. They are selling time saved. Some peoples time won't be worth as much, some people are already talented designers. For the rest of us, this is a great idea.
The interesting aspect of this service is as a set of triggers. You'll find some people will immediately spot a matching domain in that list - they may not have thought of it themselves, but seeing it there triggers off the lightbulb.
Sure you can do the exact same thing with a command line whois, but then you don't get the benefit of serendipity. Someone else's list of brandable domains shows an item you weren't expecting to see, and that triggers off your own creative process into a different direction, and you find an end result you may not have arrived at without that serendipitous discovery.
You are seeing the results of someone else's creative process of discovering brandable domains. You don't have to pay for that effort, but you can be motivated by it. The $250 charge is if one of those domains is a perfect match, not for the process of finding an available perfect match and brandable domain.
The route that satisfies your expenditure expectations is watching expired domains lists - that's another source of someone else's creative inspiration. But you either have to scan tens of thousands of junk entries, or have a keyword list of some sort to focus on. Even then, because of the volume, you'll miss excellent domain names that are slightly outside of your current thread of ideas.
Then there's http://impossibility.org/ - generating available domains centred around a keyword. It's interesting, more serendipitous than expired lists, and purchasable immediately by registration. This is probably one of the better "suggested domain name" tools around, though it's just sticking words before or after your keyword. Sometimes an good domains does pop out, but it takes a bit of a graft, or a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Or sit there typing one domain idea at a time into a whois. It depends on your own level of innate creativity as to which approach will reap dividends. Personally, I use several different avenues. This is one more to keep an eye on.
Don't underestimate the creativity and inspiration. This is perhaps a better source of quality domains than Sedo/GoDaddy auctions, ebay/flippa/digitalpoint. Better, because of it's focus on brandable names rather than generic keywords / keyword-heavy / geo-targetted domains that are the current vogue in domainer/internet marketing circles.
These guys won't know what matches perfectly for you, only you do. If the price upsets you, you are not forced to buy even if it's a perfect match, you can just find another perfectly matching domain that is available.
And the thought of spending $250/month on beer and coffee is disturbing. I spend $15 ;)
Now the following is a bit offtopic, but the thoughts are what I have in mind for quite a time.
Look how many startups are there around whose only purpose is to connect or extract information from other startups whose again are build on the top some previous startups. Where is a stop for this? Where's the creativity? Where's the thinking of making things that people really need?
This looks like a rant but please think of it analytically:
1. People start to use product A because it fills some temporary niche.
2. The conditions of the niche vanish, but the product is still used, the user base grows because of inertia, marketing, whatever.
3. As the initial conditions dissolved the product A isn't exactly what people need at the moment, so there emerge products B & C built on the top of A with even more fragile conditions: only to support momentary lack of desired features in A.
Any similarity with existing startup scene?
Well, what if all these products were build based on some more unconditional needs of the users in the first place?
Startup owners are people that need things too - often really good customers to work with as they understand the time involved in building a product and will pay for services that save them time/money.
If anything, startups selling to startups is fantastic news as:
1. It's creating an ecosystem of small, independently owned businesses - a vibrant self-contained economy.
2. Good marketing is selecting a niche that is small enough to compete in but large enough to build a profitable business. It validates that startups are a successful enough business model that there's enough people in that community to constitute a profitable niche market.
3. It doesn't matter if the need is not permanent - all customer needs are transient given a long enough timeframe. If I have a problem I'll pay to solve then I'm not thinking about whether I'll have the same problem in 10 years, just that I want it solved right now.
I'm sure it'll be a reasonable success and generate you some cash, but on the other hand, seeing someone holding a creative grab bag of interesting domains and concepts that they're only hoping to flip for a profit makes me uneasy.
There are a lot of clever, interesting names here though, and I can definitely see someone who has a concept without a a title seeing a lot of value in paying $250 for something like this. It's more than likely a hell of a lot cheaper than most domain squatters (which isn't exactly what i'd call this) would charge for the domain alone.
My major fear - the owner of this content might find someone who uses a similar name as one of their concepts-for-sale, and attempt to sue them without being able to properly verify if said person actually ripped them off, or just themselves came up with the idea coincidentally. It's one of those slippery slope endeavors.
I'm torn over whether I like "Feastable", "WhamBox", or "PixelKeg" the most. Definitely some great names here.
I just paid $1650 for a domain. That was a ton of money for me, but when someone already has it, you don't have a lot of leverage.
If I was starting another company, I would use this in a second. fueza.com anyone?
Seeing a domain name with an MVL (Minimum Viable Logo, haha) is really much better for imagining how strong it could be than just seeing it listed in text.
However, I found the selection too limited. So I think an interesting model for you would become a marketplace:
1- invite squatters with domains to sell to post their names on your site
2- invite designers to freely create logos to un-logoed domains
3- sell this wider selection to your audience, sharing the revenue with both squatters and designers.
Good luck - with more selection, I would easily find the service worthwhile at that price point.
At first, it's interesting. But think about it. Pre-purchasing domains throwing a brand on top is really as bad as implementing a software/web application without doing any market research. Chances are it's really not what people want. Unlike dead software/web apps, however, these domain names become worse than useless by block others from making something great.
The title here is misleading but the site does a good job explaining what they are offering. And I think that they are providing good value. When you are starting out the last thing you need to do is waste a lot of time and money on a name and logo. With this service, you just pick one and forget about it then move onto more important matters.
Choosing a name is supposed to be difficult. You're supposed to brainstorm for hours, bounce ideas off your friends and second guess yourself. Having to go through this pain to get to the right name adds character to the business through authenticity.
Choosing a name from a list of pre-created brands, clever or not, is a cop out.
Best of luck, though. I'm sure you'll do well.
I think they should create a tool that does this name and custom logo creation then doing it themselves. Dont see how they sell much
Other than that I am not that impressed, the logos look pretty generic/standard. Maybe that kind of thing could work for small businesses (like restaurants), though.
But what about small web apps? This should work very well for them.
I own LunchMeet.com and paid 5 figures for it when at the time I intended to develop a startup.
Now I want to sell it. Is it squatting if I am just trying to get my money back?
Feature request: I'd love to subscribe to categories and get updates when you add new domains. E.g. "Please email me when you have a new domain related to health or hardware."
I guess some people may see it as exploitative, but I would consider increasing the price of domains that a lot of people have clicked on and reducing the price of others.
If you have free time, do it yourself.
Currently not using HeyBTW with Heybtw.com, heyb.tw, @heybtw
Though a reverse hijacking costs more than $250
Nicely designed site, though. Looks great.
As I see it you get a working logo matched with a domain you like, even if it's not your final visual identity it's at least a start.
The amount of time/headache it takes to brand a startup should not be underestimated. I think that the logos are fine to get started quickly but probably would all need to be changed in the long run, but no big deal, you've provided a decent enough starting point where it doesn't look shitty atleast and can allow someone to build their product while still having a decent looking thing on their site.
We spent several WEEKS of all hands on deck and lots of $$$ (Well over $10k for the domain name, banners, stationery etc) as a company rebranding from Transparent Financial Services (http://transfs.com) to FeeFighters (http://feefighters.com).
Had we started with something better than transfs from the beginning we wouldn't have had the problem (btw, it's still a pain in the ass because google apps doesn't let you change your name, so we still only have a duct tape solution where our google apps are still @transfs and I occasionally still send an email from @transfs - embarassing!). Plus, we lost all the google juice we'd built up over that time (which was considerable - TransFS was a PageRank 5 site and FeeFighters had none).
At that point (post-funding), our time and pagerank were a lot more important than the money.
More on our rebrand that might be useful to people (you now have to pay to see the video but can download the audio and read transcript for free):
Looking through the brands, nothing really fits any of my current projects but I would definitely consider coming back to check again and again.
These logos are for the most part gobsmackingly awful. I'm genuinely surprised that there's no Comic Sans among them. Robogenerating words with free fonts you dug up on some website is not the same thing as a 'Design Service'.
REALLY? Those are worth more than a cold cup of coffee?
I thought it sounded like a great idea from the link title, and I'd have no issue with the price if there was any actual value in the value-add.
Looking at the list of domains on offer, half of them are 'empty vessel' nonsense words which could quite easily be generated with the same amount of personal effort using something like Wordoid. The other half are nothing more than Monkey Tennis, i.e. word pairings thrown out there in the hope that someone else will build a product around it.
If you think you're going to get less than $250 worth of value from this site, don't use it. But count me in with the people saying that that a lot of these are steals. Just in terms of opportunity costs saved in spending weeks bouncing names around, this seems like a major value.
It's the classic out of the box software vs custom development argument we see every day in companies around the world. Some people will yell "BUT IT'S NOT EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED" but the bottom line is that it provides value to those that don't need a "perfect" branding fit.
But it's not: Stylate owns it. ;)
That said - most people put too much weight on a name, but it's really important to be sure the name is A) memorable (this doesn't mean weird or unique), B) easy to spell and C) easy to Google.
Names that are weird spellings or made-up words are NOT memorable, basically because they don't fit into a ready-made slot in the readers' head. (Plus if they are hard to spell, you're SOL.)
It's far better to have a memorable name like "Charm" and then append crap to the end of the domain (e.g. CharmHQ.com) to ensure you can grab the domain, than it is to have a short, unique name where you get the regular name.com.
This conclusion is based on my extensive reading of cogsci research about memory, word association, etc.
Depending on what you are doing you can change your name/brand later.
Since /most/ start-ups fail, why not get to market quicker, with less cost, and less time/brain power wasted.
That's not to say they won't sell some domains for more than $1000 because, they own premium domains, as well as LLL.com's NNN.com's etc but your generalisation that a .COM is worth $1000 is wrong.
That brings us to the final piece of the puzzle: a site where you can invest in a "team" that has no idea and no technology.
Then the guys who walk around with bags of money evaluating teams and business propositions will finally be able to just mix and match to whatever they want, thinking (as they already do) that they're the ones adding all the value. Which, to be fair, under capitalism they probably do.
You could condense the entire Silicon Valley startup funding scene into a single transaction.