As startups move away from made up words, do they also move away from .COM?

Noun Domain Name

Today Crunchbase wrote an interesting article about the trends they’re seeing when it comes to startup names. It’s safe to say that Crunchbase probably has the most data to mine when it comes to what startups are calling themselves since they maintain the largest startup and funding database in the world.

The trend they’re seeing is what they’re calling “the year of the noun” as startups shift from made up words and move towards words that more closely associate with what they’re doing.

Last time we did this, our broad takeaway was that seed-stage companies were moving away from weird-sounding names like Dogpile or Doostang in favor of more conventional monikers. In recent quarters, it looks like that trend has continued to accelerate.

Call it the year of the noun. Funded startups are increasingly choosing brands made up of recognized words or names that describe what they actually do. For example, there’s a company developing internet browsers called The Browser Company, a clothing rental startup named Wardrobe, and a payment software platform called Banked. And the list goes on.

(Source – Crunchbase)

What’s interesting to note here, even in the examples Crunchbase used is only one of the three companies listed uses a .COM. The Browser Company brands on, Wardrobe is, and Banked has their exact-match .COM,

Recently Elliot from analyzed the startups that went through the most recent batch of Y Combinator and found that it was a 50/50 split between .COM and non .COM.

As many of you know, I run a startup here in San Francisco and most of my social group is in the startup world, I’m also seeing this shift both to nouns and with more comfort than ever before on non .COMs. The reality is, when you’re making up a word or combining two-words to make a catchy name, it’s more likely you can get your .COM for a reasonable price.

On the other hand, when you’re looking at calling your company a noun, like in the case of Wardrobe, the matching .COM often carries a six or seven figure price tag which is less palatable for startups. This means that if this trend persists, we might continue to see more adoption in other TLDs beyond .COM, like we’re seeing in this current YC batch.

As for me as a domain investor, I’m sticking with .COM, and well, as a founder, I’m also sticking with .COM, but I still can’t help but notice what’s going on around me. What do you think, is the shift from made up words to nouns going to accelerate adoption of non .COMs? Or will this just make .COMs more valuable later down the road?

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Morgan Linton was born in Berkeley, California but spent nine years traveling the world as an early employee for digital music startup Sonos. In 2007 Morgan founded Linton Investments, a domain name and branding company that has helped some of the most recognized startups in the world acquire their top choice domain name. In 2012 Morgan left his full-time job to co-found Bold Metrics, a startup building technologies that make it easy for online shoppers to buy clothes that fit and arming retailers with more data than ever before.

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • BullS August 31, 2020, 12:31 pm

    You are SO correct,please rename your domains to and morganlinton.nigeria
    and transfer your dot com to me….
    Magna cum laude
    Graduate of Domain King Academy

  • John August 31, 2020, 12:41 pm

    “As for me as a domain investor, I’m sticking with .COM, and well, as a founder, I’m also sticking with .COM”

    Well since you bring that up again, Morgan, then why couldn’t I persuade you to spend a measly few thousand bucks BIN on the very .com EMD for the industry your startup does business in, even when you had also been publicly posting about how you were thinking of trying to buy the upside down new gTLD version?

    Or will you censor this again claiming it is not truthful? Or better yet – censor it without claiming anything? 😉

  • BullS August 31, 2020, 1:05 pm

    Please shave and wear the MASK!!

  • Yakov August 31, 2020, 1:22 pm

    I do not need Crunchbase. is owned by Warren Buffet, by Mark Cuban. Crunchbase is a weak domain. Research the industry and you will derive insights. Morgan, you are funny. You are diluting feed.

  • Mark Thorpe August 31, 2020, 2:57 pm

    Ends up being .COM in the end, might as well start out with .COM!

  • Ethan August 31, 2020, 6:17 pm

    It seems that .com maximalists are getting miffed.

    But seriously, I’m glad to see a startup using the .company TLD because I’ve invested in a few .company domains. But I don’t like the “The” in their domain name ( I suppose it’s okay to drop the “The” in this case to make their domain name looks better. I have seen a Bulgarian plantation company whose domain name is simply

  • Anonymous August 31, 2020, 6:26 pm

    All companies that I’ve seen that used a gtld eventually go to a .com. Never had I ever gone to a website nor seen in my search results a gtld other than
    I bought 3 exact match domains this year for startups I’m creating and am very satisfied. Good luck though, though I feel only in the domain world you guys are pushing gtlds. In the corporate and startup world, even though some have, it’s a whole different story.

  • Nisha Batel September 1, 2020, 4:16 am

    Nice and wonderful blog, great work.

  • Victor Meeks September 1, 2020, 2:38 pm

    Morgan you been running a startup for 10 years LMAO. Get your company off the ground dude or dump that shit LMAO

  • 168 September 11, 2020, 9:29 am

    Spot on !
    More closely associated with what they do.
    No more endless effort in marketing “what they do” with a domain.
    Would like to see the industry update it’s marketing by dropping the word “Name”.
    Domains have always been a location.
    Cheers to the new gen willing to step out of the box of .com even if some step back in.
    Even though the .com will remain strong the domain industry doesn’t appear to understand the peaks and vallys of all industries.
    IMHO “relevence” will continue to rise as the possibility of an internet divide is coming soon…..


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