What’s in a name? The secret of the increasingly odd start-up names

The Daily Mail did an article today on Start ups and what in their opinion are odd naming choices. The article goes to talk about with 252 million domains registered the pickings are slim. Interestingly the article did not make any mention about the new tlds.

The article goes into how one entrepreneur created an algorithm to help with his name choice.

The following is from the article:

The naming of start-ups and products is such big business that companies exist solely for the purpose of finding the perfect name.

Steve Manning, founder and presumably name-designator of Igor, a name-consulting business, says today’s start-ups are going the wrong way about choosing their business names.

‘The primary driver for start-up naming right now is the misguided mission to find the shortest possible, pronounceable [unclaimed] dot-com address,’ Manning told the Wall Street Journal.

He says short URLs aren’t the be-all and end-all and that start-ups are underestimating their potential customers if they assume people won’t respond to a longer business name and website.

Nancy Friedman, a name and tagline developer, agrees.

‘A short name isn’t always the best name,’ she writes at her blog Fritinancy.

‘Your URL doesn’t have to be your name: The web address of Open, a design agency in Manhattan, is notclosed.com. And alternatives to .com abound – .us, .ca, and the many country-code domains that can be employed in creative ways.’

Now to Ms. Friedman’s point that your url does not have to be your name, I don’t know if that is great advice, because when people meet you or hear your company name is X they are going to look for X, the fact that you could not get X and think yadayada is clever might not be the best overall option. If in the example OPEN also owned Open.com or OpenCo.com then operating on NotClosed.com is fine imo.
If you look at data I put together from Brand Bucket it has been about short .coms in their 680 sales. A special shout out to Todd Finlay for contributing to the Brand Bucket data.
4 letter 48 sales
5 letter 145 sales
6 letter 198 sales
7 letter 149 sales
8 letter 92 sales
9 letter 31 sales
10 letter 8 sales
11 letter 4 sales
12 letter 4 sales
13 letter 0 sales

53% of all 4 letters listed sold
32% of all 5 letters listed sold
23% of all 6 letters listed sold

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Deano July 20, 2013, 8:48 pm

    Nice article and summary Raymond, I am not sure how Ms.Friedman has a job. I am out at a tradeshow saying my company name is open and then my url is notclosed.com ?

  • Raymond Hackney July 20, 2013, 9:21 pm

    The other point I think Mr. Manning misses is shorter is also better when it comes to Mobile and things like Twitter, does your company name take up 16 characters out of 140 ? Its a lot, you might not think it is but it is.

    Of course you can have a longer name but I wonder if this strategy is because these people know they cannot get their clients these short names for reg fee and are not advising purchases in the secondary market.

  • todd July 21, 2013, 11:36 am

    Thanks for the shout out Raymond. One first has to question a company that names themselves Igor and then chooses a long ass domain name IgorInternational. There are many naming companies and many if not most go against Mr. Mannings advice. The best advice is to do everything possible to match your business name to your domain name and at the very last resort find another option after you have exhausted every possibility.

  • Howie Crosby July 21, 2013, 11:00 pm

    What a no mention from the Daily Mail that domain names are bad for your health! Amazing!

    I think it would be good to to understand the difference between URL and domain name.

    I agree with Raymond on his second point there, believing the client has been swayed away from the secondary market.


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