Naming a startup: don't focus on the domain name

Submitted by John Derry on Tue, 09/02/2014 - 16:57

Is every dot com domain name you can think of occupied by pesky cyber squatters?

Is not being able to find a fabulous brand name holding you back?

Well, conventional wisdom certainly suggests that the name is critical for a startup but when it comes to the domain, there’s a deeply ingrained myth that needs to be debunked.

The myth that an incredible name needs an exactly matching dot com domain name.

Believing in the supremacy of the dot com domain name is a bit of a trap.

Have you tried selecting a brand based on the availability of dot coms?

It’s terribly limiting with few choices left because speculators have already raided dot coms to oblivion.

Thankfully, history shows that great domain names are overrated and you can succeed without one!

So rather than ending up with an awkward, compromised startup name, do what these successful businesses did and pick a first-class name and settle for a related domain name, even if it’s not a dot com.

If a tweaked domain name worked for these folk, it can work for anyone.

These companies all either started with - or still have - a domain name that was different to their name:

  • Square was squareup.com
  • DropBox was getdropbox.com
  • Facebook was thefacebook.com
  • Instagram was instagr.am
  • Twitter was twttr.com
  • Foursquare was playfoursquare.com
  • Basecamp is basecamphq.com
  • Bitly is bit.ly
  • Delicious was del.icio.us