The New Age of Naming
Naming a brand can be one of the most difficult parts of setting up a new company. Finding an appropriate domain for it is another problem entirely…
It’s only natural for businesses to want a web address that matches their brand name – we all want to be easy to find online. The problem is that the majority of companies will only settle for either .com or .co.uk… .co or .org at a push. Some new brands, desperate to maximise their search engine visibility, will even restrict themselves to keyword-focused brand names, finding themselves beaten to the punch in the process.
First of all, we would flat out discourage brands from a keyword-led approach to naming. All this does is create extremely bland names, which then struggle to rise above the noise in any industry. Market leading brands in most cases choose disruptive, recognisable names like Wonga or Zoopla – not ShortTermLoans.com or PropertyFinder.com. That said, disruptive names like these are, by no stretch of the imagination, easy to create and agree upon internally.
Even once you arrive at a completely original name you might still struggle to find an available domain for it, even the most random of domains are being bought up left, right and centre. The best example in our experience was the brand name ‘Chatify’, something which arose out of a naming workshop with a client recently. This was something discussed as an example of a route we could pursue more than anything, but we looked the domain up on the off chance and what do you know, it was already taken. To add insult to injury, the owner of Chatify.com has done nothing more than put up a contact form to get in touch with them and, presumably, pay them thousands. Back to the drawing board, then…? Well, we’d argue that a domain alone shouldn’t discourage you from pursuing a brand name you believe in – frustrating cases of domain parking like this can be resolved if you are willing to negotiate a more reasonable price with the owner.
Long story short, naming is a tricky business – one that, for us at least, shouldn’t be led by keywords and trying to game the search system, but at the same time, shouldn’t be determined solely by whether or not you can get a clean .com or .co.uk domain. Though the majority of our name recommendations in workshops will, in fact, be available on .com or .co.uk, there may well be cases where we suggest an alternative extension – the .agency on our site is a perfect example of how this could look – or recommend adding “group”, “consultancy”, “solutions” or any other number of suffixes or prefixes to stick with a brand name we believe will be the best for your bottom line.
For now, brands should think themselves lucky to only have to pay a standard registration fee when registering their new company name – it seems all but inevitable that soon companies may have to buy desirable names from third parties in exactly the same way we buy clean, convenient domains right now. We might be a few years off that as of writing, but that notion is no way near as farfetched as it once was.