Two-word .COMs are still a strong choice for startups

domains-for-startups

When it comes to building a brand, a good domain name can go a long way. In the early days of a startup, budget is limited, so spending six-figures on a one-word .COM isn’t an option. This leads to a choice, do you pick a different name or stick with that one word in .CO, .ME, .IO or another popular TLD?

First I’ll tell you, I don’t think there’s one answer that applies to everyone, it really depends on what you do. If you are building a service for developers, .IO could be a perfect fit. Companies like Intercom.io, Keen.io and many more have raised tens of millions of dollars so it’s clear not having the .COM didn’t hold them back in their business.

intercom-raises-50m

At the same time, huge, consumer-facing companies like Apple need Apple.com, period. Of course not all companies start with that kind of a budget, sure later on down the road they might be able to spend the big bucks on a big juicy one-word .COM, but for now they’ll have to start with something else.

For many startups this is where the two-word .COM comes in. With prices ranging from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars (and sometimes even hundreds of thousands of dollars) they have been and still are some of the most solid, reliable domains you can go with when building a global online brand. The advantage of a two-word .COM is clear for B2C startups, you can tell people your company name and they can instantly get to your site. If your business is driven by your website, this is likely your go-to and your stay-with domain name.

Now there is one small caveat here. There are two categories of two-word .COMs:

  1. Company names that themselves are two-words
  2. Two-word .COMs that are really one-word .COMs in disguise. The second category is two-word .COMs formed by adding the word “online” to the end or putting “get” in front of the actual name of your company. In my opinion these don’t have the same value when it comes to consumer recognition since you have to tell people – my company is called “blah” but them to your site they have to go to GetBlah.com.

If you want to reap the rewards that come with having a brand name people can easily remember, spell, and access online stick with those in category #1. Just think of the brands you know and love – Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Best Buy, the list goes on – some of the most well-known companies in the world have a two-word name, and the options are almost endless when it comes to possible combinations.

land-rover

You don’t need a six-figure budget to buy a great two-word .COM but yes, two-word .COMs still can sell for six-figures any day. If you think you can offer someone $500 for an amazing two-word .COM, don’t be offended when you don’t hear back. Two-word .COM’s are more valuable than ever, here’s an example of some two-word .COM sales that have taken place so far this year:

OrganicBaby.com – $168,000 (sold less than two weeks ago)

ForexBrokers.com – $150,000

NeverFail.com – $150,000

TotalCare.com – $120,000

NewsNow.com – $88,000

ClearTax.com – $80,000

OrangeBank.com – $36,000

VoiceLessons.com – $32,000

and the list goes on, and yes you can still get a great two-word .COM for $5,000 – it might not be your first choice but plenty of two-word .COMs sell in the sub $10,000 range. Domains like MindShow.com which sold for $4,500 or BeeProducts.com which sold for $4,000 the options and prices are almost infinite when it comes to two-word .COMs. As a startup founder it’s your job to find the best name you can for the budget that you have, and to balance that choice with the value a name will bring to you.

What I can tell you is the two-word .COM is more alive and well than it has ever been, and in a sea of new domain name extensions this trusty hero looks like it’s here to stay.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Doron Vermaat July 29, 2016, 2:36 am

    Two-keyword domains make for some amazing brands. Think of startups like Delivery Hero, Snapchat, Flipkart, Dropbox, Hellofresh, Github, MailChimp, Skyscanner, Buzzfeed and so many other leading startups that are using a two-keyword brand.

    As an investor I pretty much solely focus on acquiring names in this category.

    Reply
  • Joe July 29, 2016, 5:36 pm

    In just five tweets a company of Venture Capital of Los Angeles contacted me by like what I write in my Tweets Strategy Psychology Keywords etc, and domain names of two words in your email to imply that wish to know interested in investing my new Startup capital of innovation

    I answer thanks but investors domain name. Com what you interest for $ 50,000 for each total $ 500,000 they wish for only $ 100 that is paid $ 1.000 interesting lesson for Venture Capital ..

    I have to lie, not because they have already lied to me many years others.

    Reply
  • Potential Domain Sales August 4, 2016, 7:21 am

    Couldn’t agree more on the importance of two-word .com for brands/startups, as their business name.

    However, that does not necessarily mean domain investors should not buy and flip great three-word .com domains rich in keywords.

    Why? Companies are regularly buying up “search terms” three-word domains that relates to their service or market. Most of which are not used to build a new website, but to redirect traffic to their main site.

    It’s a great way for these companies to stay competitive, and make sure their competition does not get access to the potential names.

    To conclude, companies are mostly buying great two-word .coms to use as their official domain brand. But are also buying great three-word .coms to redirect traffic, etc.

    Reply
  • John August 7, 2016, 7:45 am

    Morgan-very informative post so thank you. I think it would be of real interest if you or perhaps Doron would mention the best avenue to sell these names. What broker ( im assuming) sold OrganicBaby.com for $168.000? Also-is one brokerage house better than another for these types of names? I think these names can equate to Chinese “pinyin” names in that the 1 pin ( very short) are now so expensive that companies will pay high prices for a great 3 or even 4 pin name.

    Reply

Leave a Comment