Wednesday, December 26, 2007

3 Rules For Naming Your Internet Company

I seriously thought this headline on GigaOm was a joke: "Update: Like Gaboogie, Foonz Losing Its Voice Too." It turns out Goboogie is changing its name to Lypp, while the Foonz team will be focusing on Utterz.

This has to stop.

Here are 8 rules for naming your internet company.
  1. Use real words.
    The companies I've worked with over the last few years all follow this rule: rubyredlabs.com, valleyschwag.com, getsatisfaction.com, pivotallabs.com, 17feet.com. (The first two were named by Thor, but under our Lennon/McCartney agreement we shared credit for all concepts. We're still arguing over who gets to be John.) Of course, it would have been nice to get "Rubyred.com" or "Satisfaction.com" but of course they were taken. Still, I think it's better to have a long name with multiple real words that a short name that is unpronounceable and stupid.

  2. Forget about ".com".
    This is the hardest one for most people, and the main reason I'm writing this post. We are simply out of dot com names, and we need to start using some other TLD's. Specifically, I think we need to make ".TV" cool, and this will happen by having some successful companies with .TV names. If YouTube.com had been Youtube.tv there would be no stigma attached to .TV domains, and we would all be buying our names using the auction process (which I'll get to in a minute) and domain piracy would go away, as would Lypp and Utterz.

  3. Buy a premium .TV domain using the official process.
    I'll assume you're naming a video sharing company, since we need 3000 more of those. Here's a secret: when they created .tv, Network Solutions pre-registered every real word domain name and now they're selling them for profit, anywhere from $100/yr for 0124.tv to $500,000/yr for business.tv. When I first heard this I thought it sucked, but after a few minutes of browsing the domain list I changed my mind. Why? For $1000 I could get "whatever.tv" or "taco.tv", both of which are way better than gaboogie.com. If the company is doing well then $1000 a year shouldn't be a problem, and if it fails then the domain goes back into the pool to be leased by another legitimate company.

2 Comments:

Anonymous techustle said...

Aloha Jon,

I understand your point of view and agree with most of your points. But I would like to counter that sometimes silly or off the wall names such as Utterz or Lypp offer a uniqueness. Such uniqueness will hopefully lead to people remembering the names.

As for TLDs, .com(s) still provide a sense of authority/validity to the end users. Versus a .tv. where most end users will instantly think some sort of online video related site.

Just think if you could create or purchase any TLD you wanted. Minus of course the TLDs currently available. By offering new TLDs that are not limited to a two to three character limitation, the prices for current domain names would plummet. Why would I buy supermotowheels.com for $10000 when I can just get www.supermoto.wheels and be done with it.

Overall good post.

PS-You have a typo in your sentence before you break down the 3 rules. Instead of 3 you typed a 8.

7:20 AM, December 27, 2007  
Blogger C1arky said...

Great post, Jon! There is some debate about the wordfullness of "schwag" tho!

9:16 AM, December 30, 2007  

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