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Ask HN: Domain names you bought for a start-up that never happened
35 points by samwillis on June 15, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 74 comments
We all do it (I assume), buy a domain name for the latest and greatest idea you have but never quite deliver, the domain ends up sitting there doing nothing.

What are yours and what was it you were thinking of doing with them?

I will start below...

I've got a ton, but hold hope that I'll polish them off and finish them some day. As for the domains I'd be happy to get rid of, here they are:

Whatdeliversto.me and whatdeliverstome.com -- both intended to compete with GrubHub, but never happened.

Typemotion.com -- was a blogging platform that was actually pretty good. Got acquired for a small sum of money, then the buyers folded and gave the domain back. It's an odd story, but I've always liked the domain.

Governaut.com -- was a blog for awhile when I was a federal contractor. Had a site set up to act as a social network for other federal contractors and discuss common IT situations, work constraints, etc. Never got around to doing more than just the blog though, and never got traction.

Vaginawear.com -- bought while I was drunk. I remember there was a really good idea behind it, but that idea was nowhere to be found after I sobered up.

AppDiem.com -- Groupon for mobile apps. We were partnering with mobile developers to release on-sale apps, a new one each day for each target platform. Shuttered a year a more ago.

babylum.com -- Was designed to be just like leandomainsearch, as a side project. Then leandomainsearch launched,a nd babylum was no longer needed.

Then, there's the 'porn' domains. This was another drunk idea that I realized I didn't have the gumption to actually do when I was sober, and since I couldn't be expected to be drunk through the entire development process, eventually just realized that I'd not do anything with it. These domains are gold though (in a porny sort of way.) - getnakedgetmoney.com, getnakedgetpaid.com, getnakedwinmoney.com -- I think the domains explain the business models.

Curious - how come AppDiem didn't take off? Something like that around early 2011 really could've taken off and helped with the app discovery problem. I know now there's a ton of players in the space but still!

Bad timing, lack of persistence; We were working with a few app developers and had targeted releases scheduled for a month after launch day while we were trying to recruit new developers to keep the pipeline full for the next month. The day before we launched, Amazon released its Android market and started giving away one app for free a day.

Most of the developers we were scheduled to release ended up bailing to go to Amazon. I was the developer, and by launch day most of the heavy lifting was done (only took a couple weeks to build as I recall), but my partner was the marketing guy, and had all the relationships.

Right after we heard about Amazon's thing, he had some personal crises arise and ended up bailing. I don't fault him for it, as he had some decidedly real real-life family drama, but I wasn't even remotely equipped to handle the failure as I didn't know who had bailed or how to fix it.

Shoot, sorry to hear that; at the very least you have tackled a pretty challenging problem.

No doubt that discovery is something that really could've changed the app space dynamics. Something similar happened at the place I used to work - a lot of top devs were reached out to by Amazon and they initially disallowed in app advertising. The developers complied and it caused a slight panic.

In the UK the female body decoration the 'vajazzle' has become a talking point because of the TV show 'The Only Way is Essex'. I would guess someone trying to sell vajazzles would be in the market for your Vaginawear.com domain, so there might be some money in it while the fad is ongoing.

It's of course possible. I'm accepting all offers in the 7 figure range. ;-)

In all honesty though, I had little idea that was an actual thing. I figured it was just, y'know, parody of bedazzle. Maybe it's just me, but I can't see that being anything other than roll on the floor hilarious, and definitely not enticing.

To each their own I suppose.


This was going to be a file sharing service for businesses like design consultancies, it would enable them to Swap files with their clients and Send files to others.


This has been planned for many things, a blog about design and UX, the over arching name of a group of other websites, a web design and development consultancy.


This was going to be a project management tool for engineering and design firms, using the idea of issue trackers from software development and applying it to physical product development.


This is the project I have gotten furthest with, it was back in about 2007 I think, it was a social news aggregator along the same sort of lines a friendfeed.com. I actually launched this one but never attracted many users. I think I finally shut it down in about 2010.

cloudjs.co.uk (I thought I had the dot com but don’t seem to any more):

This was going to be what we now call a “platform as a service “, it never got further than me buying the domain name and researching SpiderMonkey (this was before V8).

If you are interested in any of them let me know, email is in my profile.

I actually remember coming across flutterbox & seeing it as a "track what your friends are up to" type service.

IIRC it was built in Django & supported about 10-11 services inc. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Digg etc

Wow, so few people ever used it im suppressed you remember it. You are correct, it was built with Django and did support about 10 services.

The mejor flaw with the service was that you needed to get all you friends signed up to it as well in order to get them to enter all their accounts.

It was fun to make and I lernt allot building it...

CivicAssociation.net -- Bought it a couple of years ago; I was stunned it wasn't already taken. I envisioned it as a site that would allow civic associations to offer a core set of useful features (collecting dues online, email announcement lists, etc.). Had to abandon the project because I lacked the time to do it right.

ConstantAds.com -- A high-concept online advertising platform. It sold ads that never expired, with no pay-per-click or pay-per-impression costs. You paid a single fee up front, and then the ad was rotated among other ads in its category, relative to the amount paid.

FEREM.org -- Domain name was an acronym for Fund Ethical Research and Experimental Medicine. It was intended to provide a list of research and advocacy organizations and describe their positions on certain ethical issues. Never did much with it.

ParishNetwork.org -- A social network for members of Catholic parishes.

Truyoo.com -- Identify verification service that allowed sites that publish user content to weed out the trolls. Unfortunately, I never worked out a payment model that appealed to both publishers and users ... and Facebook's platform served the same purpose without requiring any sort of payment.

SearchGetaways.org -- Sort of like a Kayak for vacation rental listings.

RungJump.com -- People could write detailed descriptions of their jobs, and then potential job seekers could purchase access to those descriptions to get an inside look at a particular workplace. Payment model never worked out, and I found that it was more difficult than I thought it would be to get people to dish about their jobs.

Swap4Web.com -- The intent was to allow small businesses to swap goods or services in exchange for web hosting and web design services. Upon further reflection, I realized that there was only a small segment of the market that had goods or services that I actually wanted, and I didn't want to go through the hassle of reselling them.

* dejunk.co.uk - for getting rid of my crap (hated freecycle and still think there's a better way)

* badnewsbunny.com - delivering bad news for people through a hand-puppet. Still think this one would be a laugh, but a lot of bad things happened around the time I started it, so don't want to touch it.

>>* badnewsbunny.com - delivering bad news for people through a hand-puppet. Still think this one would be a laugh, but a lot of bad things happened around the time I started it, so don't want to touch it.

One of the most ironic things I think I've heard on this site.

Makepizzahappen.com - one click pizza ordering system. Set it up once with your CC info, topping preferences, optionally rank local pizza places by preference, then next time you're drunk, want pizza and don't know who's open, just click the giant make pizza happen button

Foodmyface.com - more generalized food ordering system, development payed for by the proceeds from makepizzahappen of course. Similar to how Jimmy Johns online ordering works, but for any restaurants that deliver.

Ohshitmyshit.com - not even sure. A place for posting awesome stuff? A place for posing about your broken stuff? A place for posting disturbing pictures of poop in the hopes that a medical professional will see them and tell you what is wrong with you?

breastpump.com - Breast Pump and Nursing supplies for mothers. Medela is currently getting sued for anti-competitive pricing and supplier behavior. If they get forced to behave by the courts and I can get supplied, game on!

Wow this name alone is easily worth tens of thousands, probably more!

digitalinfo.com - reg'd in 1998 hoping to sell information products, still holding onto it!

brandvocates.com - brand + advocates = brandvocates :) great for a social media agency, again didn't get past idea stage

productapi.com - self-explanatory, was going to be somewhat of a amazon-style API of products, but with a "ship" function, grabbed this when I was working with drop-shippers and thought that there had to be a better way

affiliateapi.com - wanted to make a skimlinks-style platform, ended up (recently) with a open-sourced JS-library for GoDaddy affiliate links

giftify.com - send a virtual gift through FB, and the real one arrives at the recipient's door (launched shortly after the FB platform became available, shipped approx 20 orders)

dealreel.com - curate your own list of daily deals from Groupon, etc. and publish it for your friends and followers, wanted to address the fact most deals are crap and there are a select few power users that do look at every deal, wanted to put them to work to find worthwhile deals for the masses, Yipit is doing something cool w.r.t this idea based on normalized sales data: http://blog.yipit.com/2011/08/05/introducing-trending-daily-...

dnsrecipes.com - central wiki w/API listing all the cloud services out there and the DNS settings required to make them work, essentially helping non-techies tie their Google Apps, Tumblr, UServoice, etc. services to their domain in a consistent and visual way, still want to do this at some point as my buddies bug me all the time to do this shit work

logocaster.com - auto-generates an infinite canvas of logo variations (much like the entries page on 99designs) and let's a user refine their logo design based on parameters like color, font-face, emotion, etc.

autowatermark.com - automatically watermark images uploaded to social networks, sadly this is not possible via FB's API or others :(

I'm probably as guilty as any fellow HN'ers of being trigger happy on domain registration when struck by a moment of inspiration. I am happy to see some of the great & fun domains & ideas popping up in this post.

* invoices.io - Simpler, cheaper Harvest.

* hippo.io - Reminders that actually worked with you instead of beating you over the head.

* fubar.io - An error tracking service that didn't suck.

* sharing.io - Sharing buttons as a service. We maintain them for you so you don't have to worry about having a MySpace button on your site in 2012.

* keys.io - Hosted software key authentication.

* tele.io - Hosted, simple phone trees for small businesses.

I actually have a lot of code for hippo, fubar, and tele. Sad I never pushed them through.

Willing to sell any of these domains, btw. Don't need them now. E-mail's in my profile.

Those must be expensive to hold on to. Usually .io goes for $99/year.

Yeah they're like $80 from the registrar I use. :( Going to let some of them go after this year.

I still have quite a few but it's still my intention to build on them. I tend to let the ones that are hopeless expire, but the one I wonder about is wheresmyflight.com. When I was traveling a lot, I noticed that the flight status and plane locations were much more accurate on the airline's freight websites. If Twilio had been around I probably would have created the application, but sending SMS and voice messages wasn't really practical at the time.

fluffcut.com - I was going to build a tool that would go through your twitter and facebook streams and pull out only posts with links or other content

fanatastic.com - A sports site, something like digg or reddit focused specifically on sports. I was going to allow users to pick their favorite teams and then have a feed of info about that. The social aspect would be interesting, ie: both Cowboys and Redskins fans would see the same story and comments which could create either interesting or volatile comments. Eventually I was going to offer interactive chat about games as they are happening.

mygdnews.com - first domain I picked up for the fanatastic.com idea myidid.com - a task management software, basically a done list with todo list features. I've actually got a better idea for a domain name for this that's available and may actually work on this during my vacation. It's a tool I have a personal need for.

twnote and choip.me - were to similar Twitter based tools. Basically commenting for tweets.

and some that I have worked on but are not startups (yet, if ever based on current life)

unscatter.com - It's seen several iterations. Currently it's a current information search. Basically brings up information from blekko, twitter, facebook and g+ for search terms with results ordered by date rather than relevance.

chatfor.us (and chtfr.us) - real time chat engine. Currently focused on Twitter ( it works ) but my goal is to eventually allow more authentication sources. For those times when you want to have that quick chat with someone but don't exactly want to establish that relationship by adding them to IM, following them on Twitter or Facebook, etc etc.


Pinterest for pies. (Just kidding. I don't remember why I bought it, but I did.)

hehe - you could branch out into offering different computations of π


I was going to build TV apps to get in on the coming disruption of television. Still waiting to see where TV goes.


A content aggregator for stuff in you Dropbox. Basically a way for digital creatives to share their work.


An algorithm API marketplace. Programmers expose algorithms and other programmers pay per request to use them in their apps.

If any of these excite you, drop me a line.

yukup.com - Aggregation of common thread-based sources (HN, reddit, google groups/mailing lists, etc) and have nice live updates in-browser w/ unread message support

umwut.com - A new kind of commenting site (not just link sharing) where rooms can be created. The great thing was the live system that was very intuitive to jump around many new comments in many threads very easily.

forsook.org (and forsook-lang.org/com) - A language/parser framework that transpiles to Java. The key is that you can easily add pieces basically allowing you to create your own language by checking checkboxes (still in the works).

sqlchop.com - Basically a free version of transaction-log-based CDC because I got tired of paying Attunity.

yocalist.com - A HTML5/Canvas based karaoke system that anyone can easily use and allows you to overlay your own lyrics onto embedded videos from other sites (e.g. youtube)

panoptech.com - search tool that sat in your system tray watching keyboard input and doing background searches so that it would have results immediately ready for you anytime you wanted them. circa 1999, no one cared about privacy issues back then :)

feedcache.com/feedcache.net - QOS for RSS. Idea was to cache every RSS feed and their associated enclosures, etc. and make them available via API so that application developers had certainty that they could retrieve the content from the feed when they needed it. circa 2003/2004ish. Internet infrastructure sorta caught up to the idea pretty quickly and we also realized that it was too hard to compete by just providing QOS on content that a) didn't belong to us and b) was freely (usually) elsewhere.

I literally have hundreds of others, and these two are my favorites...

* slated.to - bought this before the iPad came out, thinking that it could be an app site for tablets. For example: slated.to/ipad, slated.to/android, slated.to/windows8

* see.io - some kind of visual sharing site, maybe? Or a dating site for CIOs ;)

* join.as - no idea even when I bought it...

I'd sell any of these if someone's interested.

Shutdownstartup.com - Was intended as a mini-social network. Intended to encourage developers temporarily out of a job during the last few almost-was US government shutdowns to create startups together. Then, to everyone's surprise, the government didn't actually shutdown...

AskAllOf.us - a platform for you to share comments you made on other blogs that needed answers. Sort of a hybrid of Disqus and Quora. Never did anything with it, I'd sell it if anyone wants it.

1orZero.com - think Hot or Not, but a much simpler scale. Would you or wouldn't you...

We built a website for this exact purpose - sharing the domain names you bought but ended up not using. Posted a Show HN the day before this thread appeared. Feel free to have a look!

Link: http://friendsdomains.com

buddy-fund.com - A way for users to sell their Facebook wall to advertisers. We should have done a little more research into the idea, it's against the ToS surprise, surprise.

clanbo.com - (The name is awful, I didn't come up with it) It was a free game server hosting service which also provided premium accounts. It got quite a bit of traffic and made me a little money back when I was 16 but the effort to return ratio is pretty low and in such a competitive area it would be hard to make it into anything worthwhile.

These two domains and sites are available for sell if anyone is interested. Full source can be provided on both. Clanbo.com fully functional and ready to host both TS2 and TS3 servers.

I did thingsdonelater.com for a while, but not long after i started it, had something going, and was planning a revamp to something far more usable, twello.com came out and kind of stole what i had been thinking of out from under me.

Kapsl.com - This has been everything from a todo list, ticket tracker, and team planner down to an analytics package. I believe this domain name is cursed because I can't seem to finish any of the projects I start with it.

FriendInMyBed.com - Adult social networking...

AnswerBeak.com - search

CherishSteveJobs.com - self explanatory

WhyDoYouLike.Me - he he

Integrate WhyDoYouLike.Me with Facebook, get rich, buy island.

Ah, you know me a little to well.......Working on it.

whisperYELL.com The idea is similar to Klout but instead of measuring online influence it was to be geared toward online privacy. People would be able to measure how much of their information is out there and depending if they want to be noticed (Yell) or go primarily unnoticed (whisper) the site would track their rating on a scale and provide suggestions to move in either direction.

I stopped right before I began development because I decided to partner with a friend on another idea called felpme.com

tinyact.com: an ad network where advertisers would pay for micro actions performed by users on their site (like downloding a pdf, staying on the site for a period of time, coming back a number of times, etc);

graffly.com: a Groupon for affiliate marketing offers;

crosscookie.com: a service where SaaS could exchange cookie information about their paying members and use that information to target display advertising on ad exchanges;

peeknpoke.com: a service where you could write an essay/blogpost and ask friends to review it;

Most of these are offline now.

I have novemberwest.com, which I bought to do a webcomic. I currently blog there. I still want to do a webcomic. Time will tell. But I think I have already owned it for three years.

- poetwee.com - poetry, twitter style. All driven through Twitter and various hashtags for votes, comments.

- uneducation.net - a network for learning things a more disorganised way.

As a Brit, poetwee reads as 'poet wee', where 'wee' is a colloquial term for urine.

MyShitIsOnFire.com -- A website explaining how to put out various kinds of fires. Also sells cheeky shirts/prints/etc, to match the associated comics.

quickbite.in - for a restaurant search/recommendation system for Indian market. I don't see myself doing this anymore. I'm waiting for someone who can make good use of it and can pay me a decent amount.

guzloo.com - Didn't buy it for any particular use. I purchased it because I found the name short & funny. As of now, it is hosting a useless unmaintained php site that I made on a weekend.

purplelynx.us: monitoring social streams and prioritizing the links that your network is sharing (purple = visited). Built a proof of concept and it is a neat feature, but not the experience I was hoping for.

howiuse.it: Was going to build a site for sharing tips on how to use software. i.e. how I use evernote for a paperless office, etc.

notifybyphone.com - Phone alert system using Twilio storesapp.com - eCommerce platform, had launched in beta and customers, eventually closed. sitesapp.com - CMS sister service to storesapp.com fingerlakeswineregion.org - Free app listing wineries and attractions.

Willing to sell domains as well, I have finally found focus. :)

* ga.am - URL shortener (easy typing in t9 phone keyboards)

* lectur.as - News aggregator

* visteme.com - dressings

* betterlater.com - read it later url bookmarking

agha.st - no idea, just wanted to snap it up pleasedontcall.us - IT sob stories 55-0.org - eventually a simple site for gay rights awareness, after the Argentina 55 to 0 vote in favor of the Gender Identity Law (it's a progressive law; I know it sounds like it could be either).

webtimetable.com simple timetable webapp in the cloud

postiquette.com simple social media updating webapp (similar to ping)

printive.com online pdf generator service

podsender.com podcast hosting and streaming service

substitweet.com for a twitter service (still on my todo list)

P.S. If you have some cool ideas for any of those, drop me a note, I could sell some.

* intense.ly - for something intense, I guess?

* picscri.be - for some sort of picture-based app. also picscribe.com.

SteamCorps.com - fancied a Steampunk based RPG for iOS. About 5years into reg fees now :)

dronedelivery.com - a bit futuristic and never intended to be developed by myself.

SocialCinema.com. Collaborative video that did not see the light of day.

faevor.com/net/org. A site for establishing and trading promises and favors between friends. (Inspired by the whole "favor trading" schtick the fae tend to have in mythology.)

buzy.co A place that will have meny services for business (and buzy) people. Like a summary of books, of daily news, personal assistants, reservation and booking services.

upgradr.com - greasemonkey for IE => silly idea

digestr.com - some crazy idea similar to Yahoo pipes

zedhub.com - don't even remember what it was supposed to be ;)

myjerry.org - was supposed to be a web platform for building next gen apps but all contributors backed out with time.

resu.me - Different approach to building resumes

caree.rs - Hiring platform for companies

talkto.me - Chat

I don't know if I should still hold on to these or sell.

electronicsciences.com -- Either a social network of electronics hobbyists, or an online circuit simulator.

brewmasterapp.com - A mobile/online homebrewing (beer) app. Lots of data, but never finished building it.

thumbkissing.com for some silly touch app :)

medicaresetaside.us for medicare cms system

examinationundearoath.us cms to manage examinations

Re: thumbkissing.com - thats one of Pair's (YC Company) best features[1]

There are a few other's in this space as well you should contact Pair or one of them in this space, and see if they might want to acquire it :)

[1] http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/23/pair-is-a-path-for-the-two-...

yrecruit.com - replacing recruitment consultants with one click candidate sourcing

betzap.com - crowdsourced betting tips

thebulletlist.com - was supposed to be mind-mapping before mind-mapping software existed

failchat.com / chatfail.com

yet another humor site.

blurre.com: photo related site

vendorvote.com: angie's list for b2b

mansworstenemy.com: dictators & oil spills

how-to-make-an-iphone-app.com receiptapp.org bettermindsaustralia.org

howtoroot.com - detailed how to's on rooting android phones.

you should turn this into an app for how to coordinate fan chants at sporting events

at duke basketball games they pass out a paper detailing all the chants they're going to do

The How to Root app - eveyone chant (whatever) now!

You may find a better market for this one in Australia.

placehub.com: local news platform/aggregator service.

coho.me - "CoHome" Yammer for households/families.

forfew.com -- social sharing/rewards program


I have always wanted to build this where people can create interactive resumes and not just old style boring word document resume. Got some ideas but never formalized so far. I still own the domain though :)


Weight loss contests using withings scales and their apis

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