Testing Your Domain Name

Whether you are a domainer or an entrepreneur embarking on their first startup, getting the right domain name matters. I want to first give a tip of the cap for this story to Namepros member Verbster who posted a thread about this interesting article.

The post that appears on CustomerDevLabs.com is close to a year old but the information and usability is as viable today as when first posted.

Justin Wilcox gives a detailed analysis on both testing and getting feedback for a domain he and his partners needed for a new crowd funding start up. The one aspect I don’t agree with is that Mr. Wilcox only refers to domain investors as squatters. In 2013 (time of publication) people in tech should be well aware of  the difference between a squatter and a legitimate domain investor. But anyway, on with the good stuff as he did an excellent job detailing the steps.

Using clever survey questions to quickly test the memorability, spellability and emotional response of potential domain names. Glad we did – almost picked a lousy one.

Problem: Domain Squatters

I’ve found what should be the joyous process of naming a company, quickly devolves into:

Founder A: Are you kidding with me?! How is every good domain taken!?
Founder B: Let’s make up a word. “ooFooVu.com” is availble.
Founder A: Maybe “KillerKittenKites.co?”
Founder B: TwoGirlsOneCup…dot ly is available.

Most of the time we’re left with abysmal choices and forced to argue over which one sucks the least.

Some friends and I who were building a crowdfunding aggregator wanted to avoid all that, so we came up with a way to test our company/domain names with customer data. Here’s how…

Justin outlines 5 steps to follow:

1)Crowd source ideas

2) What to measure

3) Design the experiment

4)Run the experiment

5) Evaluate the results

This is a very detailed article and is not a short read, this is something that I think start ups, venture capitalists and domain investors should bookmark to refer back to when needed, this is a very valuable article for those looking to be thorough in their approach to choosing a domain name.

Read the full article here

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Steve R February 22, 2014, 6:02 pm

    Thanks for the post Morgan. I’ve learned these steps and lessons like many others have; by wasting hundreds of dollars on pigeon shit in the past. In any case, my eyes have learned to focus on more quality names that meet such testing requirements as the article your refer to states. I think this article could definitely help others in their quest as an investor or someone just seeking a great start-up name.

  • Raymond Hackney February 22, 2014, 6:03 pm

    Glad you liked it Steve.

  • Samit February 23, 2014, 1:27 am

    Or you could just hire an expert, in the long run it costs less and gives better results.

    I wonder why people think they become experts in a particular subject by just following one how to, it takes years of experience, current industry knowledge and a keen sense of aesthetics to get one brand correct.

    And as a startup, you should be concentrating on the product / service you’re delivering and leave brand development to experts, just as you would company incorporation, tm filing etc.

  • Tom February 23, 2014, 1:39 am

    I think most start ups have very little belief in so called branding experts. You can see from the article Wilcox has no respect for domain investors.

  • HowieCrosby February 23, 2014, 10:55 am

    Hi Raymond, good post.

    Reading the article, looking at the three names, it’s obvious that the best name is ThingsWeStart.com but how good? I rather like it. It definitely beats the other two.

    Also, if domainers subject themselves to this experiment socially, they will have to expect positive and most likely negative feedback, (due to the nature of the test.) on their posted domains, depending on their skin thickness and portfolio pride, I would think twice about this, especially if all domains get shot down in flames! But sometimes friends can be too kind.

    However, if there is a winner out of the pack via the experiment, then it will be a good learning curve for the newbie/novice, likewise for the former, at least it will stop the domainer from buying la’ PS.

    Furthermore, as mentioned in your post, the forums such as DnForum and NamesPro you will get an honest, possibly positive and sometimes brutally trueful reply, but remember it’s subjective!

    Best to you,


  • Richard February 27, 2014, 5:02 pm

    That is a BRILLIANT idea. I love it.
    I guess the only problem is, sometimes a domain might be memorable because it’s AWFUL but the feelings/emotion questions should detect that.


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