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CHOOSING A DOMAIN NAME
 

Don't Compromise As You Choose Your Domain Name.

Never forget that Domain names are the real estate of the 21st century. Right from the start of your Domain name consideration, you should look at Domains as you look at investment in real estate. Domain name value follows location, exclusivity, market changes, entitlement, and therefore, resultant variations in value. Then, the time will come when you must protect your investment and protect yourself? A memorable name for your organization, product, or service is hard to precisely define, but you know it when you see it. Coming up with a good name is easier than creating a product or service, but you wouldn’t think so based on the atrocities out there. Spend the time and effort to come up with a good name. . . . .  it makes positioning easier. Here are some tips for the process:

Is is good, if practical, to have the first letters in your Domain name be letters that occur early in the alphabet. Someday your organization’s, product’s, or service’s Domain name will appear in an alphabetical list. It is better to be at the top of the list than to be at the bottom. For example, at a trade show with a thousand exhibitors, do you want to be in the first third or last third of the show’s directory? Also remember to avoid words that begin with X or Z because they are difficult to spell out after hearing them. For example, if you heard “Xylinx,” would you think that it’s spelled “Xylinx” or “Zylinx”?

Avoid Numbers. They are bad ideas for names because people won’t remember whether to use numerals (123) or to spell out the number (One Two Three).

Pick a Name with a “Verb Potential.” In a perfect world, your name enters the mainstream vernacular and becomes a verb. For example, people “Xerox” documents - as opposed to photocopy them. More recently, people “google” words instead of “searching for them on the internet.” Names that work as verbs are short (no more than two or three syllables) and not tongue twisters. AWOA (a word on acronyms): Avoid multiple-word names unless the first word solid verb potential (for example, “Google Technology Corporation” would still be fine) or the acronym spells out something clever. For example, the name Hawaiian Islands Ministry, a parachurch organization that trains pastors and ministers, becomes “HIM” - a clever homonym with “hymn” and a play on “Him,” that is, God.

Sound Different (as opposed to “think different”). The name should sound like nothing else. For (a bad example: Claris, Clarins, Claritin, and Claria. It’s hard to remember which name refers to software, cosmetics, antihistamines, or line marketing. Even if you did remember, it’s likely that you would associate all four words with one category, and that can’t be good in three of four instances.

Sound Logical. In addition to sounding different, your names should also sound logical. That is, they should “match” what you do. A good example of this is the most clever examples of naming that you’ll come across. Take Geodude and Lickitung, for example. Ask your kids to show you the cards of the characters Beautifly, Delcatty, Flygon, and Huntail, and you’ll see what I mean about logical names and good positioning.

Avoid the Trendy. With hindsight, we made two mistakes naming Garage Technology Ventures when we started in in 1997. First, we initially called the company, garage.com.” Unfortunately, dotcom acquired negative connotations when the Internet tide went out because it came to stand for companies run by people without business acumen in markets without business models. The second mistake was lowercasing the “g” in garage.com. It was silly act of pseudohumility, but those were silly times. The problem with the lowercase “g” was that it was hard to pick it out in blocks of text. The visual cue that the word was a proper noun wasn’t there - you’d think that someone named guy (sic) would know this. Also, no one could really figure out what to do when a sentence started with “garage.com” - should it be capitalized or not? The bottom line, in hindsight, is that you should come up with a name that will endure for decades, and save your cleverness for the features of your products and services. On the other hand, consider the name Krispy Kreme. It doesn’t start with a letter early in the alphabet, and both “crispy” and “cream” are spelled incorrectly. Furthermore, the company’s donuts are neither crispy nor creamy. What this proves is that if you have a truly great product; it can overcome anything. One last example: I saw a great name for a company in a restroom at the Calgary International Airport. The company sells billboard advertising space in restrooms, and its name was Flushmedia. Brilliant.                                         - excerpted from Guy Kawasaki

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Last updated 10/15/2010    dSkinner Online