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Ask HN: Please, review wordoid.com, a smart naming webapp (wordoid.com)
106 points by op on May 22, 2009 | hide | past | favorite | 78 comments

Important point on monetization.

I looked for a domain, found one I liked, and clicked "Buy". You sent me to godaddy, who I don't use. I opened up a new tab and bought it with namecheap.

A suggestion: give me a price comparison between multiple registrars, and let me click through to any. That way you get the commission even if I don't use godaddy.

This is similar to what Carl Mercier did with ajaxwhois.com

He talked this year at meshU in Toronto, maybe Wordoid could get some ideas from his experiences?


Thank you for the link!

I've found on my site (a different, but similar one) that it is hard to get paid for referring domain name buying traffic. Only a few of the registrars is reliable, and with Godaddy you get the large majority of the traffic.

NameCheap, for example, doesn't have an affiliate program (last time I looked).

yummyfajitas, this feature is on my task list. There will be either a combobox or a small window with registar suggestions.

I did the same thing. It's an awesome tool that I found useful, but I bought two domain names from namecheap instead of using the godaddy link.

> let me click through to any

Or make a step in the shadow of the darkside and use socialhistory.js to determine the visitor's registrar

I opened up the page and just clicked "go"... seemed like a good place to start. I waited a few seconds and nothing happened.

Then I noticed the little clock at the bottom ticking away. "Okay", I thought, "it's working..." but 30 seconds later it still hadn't done anything (HN effect?). I'd disable the "go" button on click, and move the clock so that it appear right next to it (instant feedback is nice). You can re-enable the "go" button if any of the parameters change.

Also, in the time its taken me to write this it still hasn't generated any results (Mac 10.5, Safari 4). Don't know if it's me or you.

I'm having the same problem in both Firefox and Safari. A better waiting signal would cut down on the frustration of trying to figure out if it's working or just broken. It seems to be doing this for the english-only word searches. If you combine english with any other language, the process speeds up dramatically.

It also seems to be making a web request every second that just returns: {"Results":[]}

Could the sudden popularity and the fact that this page is making a request every second without even hiting go mean that the site is essentially attacking itself?

ironkeith, this most likely is a HN effect (luckily? :) The webapp has been developed with performance in mind, however I've already noticed some glitches to fix.

Well done Oleg but where's the Russian language on the side? =) I don't know if it's in the works or what, because wordoid just generated veter.com for me (which is still available). Would definitely be fun.

I like this site very much!

However, I'd consider it an advantage for Russian speakers to NOT have Russian on the list. As a speaker of another language also not on the list, I wouldn't want any automated competition on coming up with words with that basis. (My other language has been a gold mine for me. ;) )

I plan to add more languages (including Russian) when all the critical issues are settled.

More on this:

The website received about 3500 visitors during 12 hours after I posted this review request here on HN. Thank you guys! Thanks HN! It has been way more than I expected!

There's a bottleneck somewhere in the algorithm that creates wordoids. That's why wordoid.com is irresponsive sometimes. The webserver and the database seem to run smoothly.

Do you mean that when I click "go", the wordoid-generating algorithm is kicked off during the request cycle? Have you considered generating the wordoids asynchronously (offline) and keeping an index of them and their metadata?

Good stuff. Had a quick play and definitely would use it to brainstorm ideas.

One really horrible usability point: when I enter a custom pattern on the right, I can't click enter to submit the form, but instead I have to go across the screen, up, and click the small Go button. Either do it live with AJAX or just add a proper form to refresh the page.

Also, if someone's entering something in the text input, "random wordoids" is not the choice they want. You should probably have a radio list of choices, and select another one when they type something in the box.

And I'll point out that it's spelled "scarce". It's not obvious what that column means even without having to decipher bad spelling.

or perhaps add another submit button on the right, underneath the pattern choices

Yes, that's what I meant by a "proper form" but clearly it wasn't phrased with any level of eloquence.

To build on that: having the form split up is a bad idea. The sidebar serves no purpose really and I recommend all the form functions be collected at the top and bottom of the results.

I'd also rename the Go button to something more sensible like "Search" or "Find". Go has very few good use cases, and even then it's dubious.

Along these lines, I would also recommend a graphical button for the go/search/find. Large, bright and tactile or 3-D (within reason). Make it clear "this is what you push" after filling out the form. Make it inviting.

I really like this idea. I spent several minutes looking through the suggestions and bookmarked it for later.

It didnt work for me at all. Initially didnt write anything in the box, pressed go, nada. Refreshed, punched in test in the box, pressed go. Nothing.

Good point! Thanks for the suggestion, i will fix that.

Wordoid.com is a webapp that helps you come up with a catchy name for your product, company or domain.

It makes up new words that are unlikely to appear in a dictionary. It knows how to create words in several languages: English, Spanish, French and Italian at the moment. It is even able to create words in imaginary "languages", constructed by blending two or more real languages together.

I would appreciate your feedback!

I like it.

Woah, my last name appeared on the second page of results.

I found the distinction between "order" and "buy" unclear, although the color coding helps somewhat. Perhaps "backorder" (what Go Daddy uses) would be clearer? An option to only show available domains could be useful as well. Maybe an option to specify lengths?

I like it... combining English words with a foreign language seems to make for some really interesting combinations.

Seems to be very quick as well which is great. Would be cool if it would check .com .net and .org variants as I wouldn't settle on a name unless all three were available (+ .co.uk as I'm in the UK!).

On another note, while I was playing with it, the name 'effection' came up and effection.com was showing as available. I went to my preferred registrar to buy* and it's actually registered. effection.com was originally registered back in 1999! So you may need to check out your domain look up code.

*no offence to you, but I work for a registrar by day and get staff rates!

Yeah, i saw "carlover.com" in green and thought "you've got to be kidding, i'd buy that in a heartbeat" (I love cars).

Unfortunately, it was kidding.

Wordoid.com checks domain availability by querying a DNS server. This is not completely accurate, since some domains don't have DNS records. The right way is to query a whois server. That's tough, because i don't know of any whois servers that would allow me send bulk queries.

Great idea! Few recommendations:

Move the search box to a more prominent position, either to the top of right column or above the domain name list. Like someone else said, move the "Go" button next to the search box so there's a smooth transition.

I'd remove the box from the main page that lets the user specify "Ends with..." or "Begins with" and instead, once they've searched, give them the option to narrow down the search results (ie only show the ends with/begins options on search result pages).

Don't show domains that people have to buy. You won't get many people to click them and it adds clutter to the results.

Put more results on the page, as it facilitates easier browsing.

In the search results, you don't need a column for the wordoid and another for the domain name. Choose one or the other. I would choose the one that ends with ".com", as it will immediately be clear to new visitors to the site. If you go the other route and just display the word, put up a small notice saying "All words are .com" or something to that effect.

You could also make the list of domains links and have the links point to GoDaddy. (Again, less clutter).

I'm not sure how much the 'Common', 'Scarse', 'Unique' labels help visitors. Consider removing it.

Add an option to filter by length, as a lot of people seek out short names.

I like the site and wish you the best of luck. I created Domain Pigeon, which is very similar to this. If you ever want to chat about ideas or monetization numbers, you can find my contact info in my profile.

Not to be a grammar/spelling nazi, but "scarse" should be spelled "scarce". (I suppose you could say it's just another wordoid though.)

The results are nice.

Thanks for pointing this out! I should have checked it twice...

Very nice, I've been looking for something like this that actually works and isn't trivial. I got some really nice results.

First (nitpick point): You've got a misspelling in the page: scarse instead of "scarce" underneath the bars that show frequency.

The UI on the right is a bit confusing and busy. I suggest removing all the text around each of the options. I might then put them at the top of the screen with the "go" button. Move the descriptive text to a little popup (more info/?/help/whatever) link next to each of the options and shove all the text in there. Something like:

Languagae (more info): []English []Spanish []French []Italian

is going to be nice and clean.

My gut feeling is that most people are not going to read the text right away and they are just going to play with it and see what happens. This is why I suggest a clean UI so they can easily play, and give them ways to discover what the options do. You don't want to put speed bumps in front of users and force them to comprehend everything out of the gate.

Another usability point: I got stuck once I typed a pattern in. I tried to delete the pattern (to go back to random mode), but the site kept using the pattern. I then realized that instead of deleting the pattern, I had to change the dropdown menu to be "Create random wordroids". This leaves the text in the pattern box but does revert to the random setting. I would re-work this with some ajax or something so that it's not so confusing.

Thank you for your extensive feedback, JunkDNA! I will take your suggestions into account while making the webapp better.

The interface is weird. The form fields are on the right and the submit button is at the top left, so you have to move your mouse across the screen for each query.

Yes - people do not read the right bar downwards and then go back to the top to 'Go' - it is a strange workflow.

Move the right column to the left I think.

I agree, the interface is not perfect now, but it will get better over time.

This is a really nice naming app. I've looked at a lot of them and this has produced some of the best names I've ever seen. Congrats!

Yeah, I was a fan of http://domainpigeon.com/ for a while, but that got a bit too restricted for me (as it became more commercial), not to mention a bit unwieldy to browse through. Bookmarked!

The 'Pattern' option on the side of the page is confusing. When you type in a pattern, it isn't apparent that you should click the 'Go' button at the top left of the page. Furthermore, when you type in a pattern and click 'Go', the default is to produce random Wordoids, not Wordoids containing the pattern.

The pagination at the bottom of the list doesn't give any indication of how many Wordoids were generated, which would be nice. Also, as others here have pointed out, the distinction between 'order' and 'buy' is unclear.

Wordoid is incredibly useful, great job!

Well, it appears that the sidebar is confusing and non user-friendly. I will work on this more.

Currently the number of pages is virtually unlimited.


Thanks for a useful resource.

If you change your DNS lookup method, I think you'll have fewer false positives where you list domains as being available, when they actually aren't.

For example: readia.com is not available, but the wordoid site says it is.

If you do a DNS lookup at the .com core servers, rather than your local resolver, you'll get a list of NS servers for the domain - if it's blank there, then you know the entry doesn't exist.

The current problem is occurring because your resolver library is trying to walk the DNS tree all the way to the DNS servers that are supposed to manage the domain. When those servers are down or unresponsive, wordoid is marking the domain as "available" - even when it's not.

Here's an example that I think demonstrates the problem, and a potential way around it:

dig ns readia.com. @a.gtld-servers.net. ... ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 22290

Note that it indicates no error.

For a nonexistant domain the results are different. The NXDomain means "no such domain". dig ns this-really-does-not-exist-at-all-1321.com. @a.gtld-servers.net. ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NXDOMAIN, id: 43679

Of course, you'll need to switch between the relevant gtld-servers so that you're a good network citizen, and cache results. See "dig ns com." for a current list of GTLD servers.

Also, I'd like to echo the comments of other readers - if you place a "go" button near the input form, rather on the top left, it'll improve the user-interface significantly.

Thanks again, and I hope the above helps you.

Oskar Pearson

I was highly amused by searching for wordoids containing 'fuck'.

On a more serious note, I am trying to find a business name with a partner, and would have liked a link to a given page of results, so that I can share them.

Thank you for the idea! I like it. Added to my todo list.

Nice work. This is a useful service and I'm bookmarking it since you've provided some neat naming ideas.

Only gripe, mentioned by others, is that I was a little confused by (a) the custom settings on the side and enabling them properly and (b) I initially missed the pagination/next button at the bottom - probably b/c it's below-the-fold. You should make that clearer, I initially assumed I only got 10 results back. Maybe add a results count at the top of the page and clear next/previous buttons at the top as well as the bottom.

Good luck!

I got way more interesting results by switching to "Almost Natural".

They really are! I personally like the combination of French and Spanish in "Almost Natural" mode.

For some reason, the redirect links are broken for me in Safari. I get the message:

Safari can’t open the page “http://wordoid.com/RegistrarRedirect.aspx?registrar=godaddy&... because it’s an invalid address.

For some reason (doesn't make sense to me) it seems that Safari doesn't like the keyword 'domain' in the query parameters, because changing that to something else actually sends the request.

Nice. Does this use a Markov-like algorithm for word generation?

It does.

doesn't seem to work at all for me - Chrome

tripngroove, could you please elaborate more on this?

It doesn't seem to be working for me. I click on the "Go" and nothing happens.

On second thought, I see the tiny little clock spinning ever so slowly in the corner. I suggest making that a whole lot bigger and more obvious if it routinely takes this long to generate any results.

Must be something to do with my proxy here at work: I'm not getting any results -- even after a couple minutes and tries in different browsers.

This is seriously cool. Great idea. Interface is a bit odd and should use some tweaking, but it didn't take me long to figure out. The look is alright otherwise, and I like the name.

One thing: The purpose of the site appears to be slightly confusing at first. Is this a site specifically for finding a domain name? Does it have a broader purpose? I don't know...

Very nice, good for brainstorming if you have a word or concept in mind. Good job.

(Second the 'went off and bought via my own registrar' though :P)

I like it. It wasn't immediately obvious to me what some of the features did though - the search button and the unique/common graph next to it for example. I'm also a little disapointed it won't generate names in Klingon - after all, it offers to! :)

I use it to show that no language is selected and avoid boring error messages. But may be I will add Klingon some day...

It's nice. It reminds me of domain pigeon, but the words it creates seem a lot more natural.

Anxious to try this out. I just get a blank list of numbers in Safari, Firefox, and Chrome on Mac. Firebug tells me you're making an Ajax request once a second, seems... odd?

Clicking Go! seems to do nothing.

One more point: While it is trying to figure out if a result is unique/scarce/common/rare/..., it says "Searching..." underneath. Wouldn't something like "Analyzing..." be more relevant?

I'd examine relocating the buttons, or adding more to the top. I tended to just use the Go button over and over, instead of moving the cursor down to the Next button.

Great tool. I heart it.

Will be nice to see more languages thrown into the mix. Sometimes you want to get out of english to explore more options. Will definitely use it more.

Brilliant, I love it!

Would be interesting to hear whether you use a purely linguistic approach or some statistical information about "natural" frequencies as well.

Great! Let me filter is by part-of-speech. Just do a rough guess.

For example, I may only want VERB wordoids.

Also, you should measure how easy and unambiguous the SPELLING is.

This rocks - exactly what I've been looking for.

I'm happy you like it!

A feature I would like is to be able to filter out words according to whether they're scarce, rare, unique or common.


NameCheap is working on an affiliate program. We will keep you posted for sure via Twitter, newsletters, and our website.

I like it but it wasn't immediately obvious how to use it. Perhaps have something pointing at the right bar?

Interesting concept, terrible usability.

Useful site! I'd prefer if it generated more than 10 at a time by default.

It would be good if you could filter out already taken names.

Wow, it's like domain pigeon only way better. Awesome.

How so? :)

Doesn't work for me. I click go and nothing happens.

Good results both in English and Italian

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