Name five startups off the top of your head. Did you name Twitter? Instagram? Yo? Ever wonder why startups have weird names?
For the most part, all the cheap and simple domain names are already taken. In 2012, Investing.com, sold for an impressive $2.45 million. Entrepreneurs starting out simply don’t have that kind of money. Considering the cost of rebranding, getting your name right the first time is a big deal. But with domains as cheap as $.99, entrepreneurs have to get creative to come up with a name that isn’t already for sale. Also, it helps if your name hints at what your company actually does. Choosing the perfect name is a combination of creativity, branding, and a little luck. So let’s take a look at the current startup name trends.
Top reasons why startups have weird names
The .com was taken.
Some startups forget .com altogether and use new top-level domains, such as .co, .info, .net. Now they can pick a normal name (so not technically weird) and play with the domain, e.g. http://backstit.ch/. The downside to this method is that you lose some traffic to visitors who instinctively type .com. However, if you’re able to later purchase the .com name, you might even end up embracing it like LaunchRock does redirecting users to .co.
For social media usernames, you’ll need to add on words to come up with something unique. To keep your brand in line, think about adding words to your name, e.g. @grazedotcom, @thecookieapp, @eatbeetbox, that help clarify what type of business you’re in. If you’re at a loss, try adding on the, get, or tweets.
Who needs vowels?
It’s made for link shorteners.
With a name that ends in -ly, you can easily take advantage of link shorteners. One example of this is Bit.ly, which allows users to creates short and sweet links, like http://bit.ly/1rCW7Pz. They’re great for getting rid of that annoying … at the end of posted links on Twitter, and they also double as a tracking tool for marketers.
It’s a portmanteau.
By combining two words into one, you end up with a shorter name that plays off of two definitions. For example, Wedit, a do-it-yourself videography rental company, derives its name from wedding and edit. Seelio, a student portfolio site, means see portfolio. On Pinterest, you pin things of interest.
But most importantly, if you’re wondering if your startup has too weird of a name, ask yourself this: if you printed a bunch of t-shirts, would your friends wear it?
What’s your favorite weird startup name?