Let’s Take a Look at the Top 50 Startups and Their Domains

By - August 28, 2010 - 7 Comments

I often feel that domainers put way too much emphasis on a domain name and it’s relation to a company’s success.   I am a businessman first and a domain investor second.  A domain to me is merely a tool to reach potential customers for my business.  I can really get a feel of the importance of domains by looking at new tech/Internet startups.  Startups meaning newly created companies or companies with limited operating history.  These companies were created in the recent era of the Internet and chose names based availability is today’s domain climate.  Like any company, their internet presence is a huge part of their persona and we can get a feel what today’s companies feel is the value of name and the domain that accompanies.   Here is a look at the top 50 startups according to LouisGray. Here’s and my comments and opinions about their domains

  1. Foursquare http://www.foursquare.com Notice to see they didn’t go with the number 4 but that’s because it was registered 6 years before this name
  2. Spotify http://www.spotify.com
  3. Automattic http://automattic.com/ I don’t know the exact history but I would venture a guess that they changed the name of the company because that particular domain was available.  (they are the wordpress founders)
  4. Posterous http://www.posterous.com
  5. Blippy http://www.blippy.com
  6. SlideShare http://www.slideshare.com
  7. Tumblr http://www.tumblr.com Again, would have been tumbler if they had any money to buy the domain
  8. TweetDeck http://www.tweetdeck.com
  9. Square http://squareup.com/ Some think they should have purchased square.com but I like this better
  10. Quora http://www.quora.com
  11. CinchCast: http://cinchcast.com/
  12. Sports Blog Nation http://www.sbnation.com
  13. Bit.ly http://www.bit.ly Proves publicity and functionality can overcome an unusual tld
  14. my6sense http://www.my6sense.com Perhaps my least favorite of the group
  15. Thing Labs http://brizzly.com/
  16. Plancast http://www.plancast.com
  17. Seesmic     http://www.seesmic.com
  18. Lunch http://www.lunch.com Great generic put to use
  19. Gowalla http://www.gowalla.com
  20. DropBox http://www.dropbox.com As easy to remember as any of the names and perfect name to match its function
  21. Lazyfeed http://www.lazyfeed.com
  22. Hunch http://www.hunch.com
  23. Ecademy http://www.ecademy.com
  24. Xobni http://www.xobni.com
  25. Tweetmeme http://www.tweetmeme.com
  26. Feedly http://www.feedly.com
  27. Klout http://www.klout.com
  28. Justin.tv http://www.justin.tv The people of JustinTV.com are seeking a million for their because they know their name gets mad traffic because of the tv ending
  29. Amplify http://www.amplify.com
  30. OneRiot http://www.oneriot.com
  31. Lijit http://www.lijit.com
  32. Echo http://aboutecho.com/ The worst domain of the group.  I understand echo.com was probably taken but of all the names that’s what they went with?
  33. MyLikes http://www.mylikes.com I’m sure they would much rather have had likes.com
  34. Outbrain http://www.outbrain.com
  35. DailyBooth http://dailybooth.com/
  36. Gist http://www.gist.com
  37. Soluto http://www.soluto.com
  38. Tungle http://www.tungle.me Me must be so proud, of course they would rather have tungle.com
  39. Qwotebook http://www.qwotebook.com Trying to be too cool here.  Tons of traffic lost to quotebook.
  40. Regator http://www.regator.com
  41. Untitled Startup http://www.untitledstartup.com/ I guess this is as generic of startup name as you can get
  42. Twazzup http://www.twazzup.com/
  43. The Cadmus http://thecadmus.com/
  44. Branchr http://www.branchr.com Here’s that r thing again
  45. Graphic.ly http://www.graphic.ly/ and a bit.ly copy cat
  46. BlockChalk http://blockchalk.com/
  47. FitBit http://www.fitbit.com/
  48. RockMelt http://www.rockmelt.com/
  49. Live Intent http://www.liveintent.com/
  50. Fabulis http://www.fabulis.com My nomination for second worst domain.  I can only imagine how many times they have to spell this out to people

What I get out of this list and their domains is this.  Most of the companies would rather put their money towards company development rather than a domain name.  Some have even gone as far as picking a company name based on available hand registered domains.   Developing a top startup is rarely done with a generic name but rather a name that is individual, original, and can be branded.  I used to think a name should tell customers what you do but after looking at startups over the last 10 years, many of the best companies have names that give you no hint of their business.  Long and short, a name is a name and as long as customers enjoy your business, they will find your site, whatever the name is……or at least that seems to be their approach

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7 Responses to Let’s Take a Look at the Top 50 Startups and Their Domains

  1. Samir says:

    Automattic – more likely they chose that name because easier to trademark

  2. I see a number of complaints at Twitter how domainers (referred to as domain squatters) stifle economic growth as startups cannot acquire good domains for their business. Starting a new business involves many cost far and above that of a decent (not necessarily premium) domain. Regardless your post illustrates that many companies just prefer to brand a reg fee name and spend their money on development.

  3. mark says:

    Hi Shane:

    I am not convinced that the route many of these companies are taking with regard to naming themselves is the most efficient.

    Yahoo, eBay and Amazon are easy to remember and catchy names. Even Google and Twitter have an ease to them.

    How many dozens and dozens of these startups are going to languish, as many have for over a decade because they chose a difficult name to say, spell and remember?

    I totally support your assertion that the product developmet and implementation is paramount, however, many of these businesses will have a difficult branding road ahead of them. Twazzup or Twassup or Branchr or Brancher or Branchur need to realize the difficulty in branding a bunch of letters thrown together.

    Just my opinion.

  4. Uzoma says:

    Very interesting, and true observation. As has been mentioned in many articles, Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Stumbleupon etc could all use names from my portfolio, yet they are successful; go figure!

  5. Mike says:

    Interesting List. 46.com’s 2.ly’s 1.me 1.tv. Not a single .net or .org.
    Speaks to the value and strength of .com, when they would rather use a hacked up .com over a decent .net. I love the names amplify and gist.com Obviously Lunch and Hunch are great. MyLikes nice as well. The worst are lijit, xobni and as you said fabulis, wtf is that. Really, how much could fabulous.tv or .me cost? Those r marketing knitemarez.

  6. Domain Sales says:

    Hi Shane, I got a plant domain name today and thought of you TropicalHousePlant.com don’t approve this post just figured I would mention I have it available in my store SellMeOne.com… cheap for you since its what you do.
    Greg

  7. What I don’t get is when a company calls themselves one thing but have a different url.
    Square SquareUp.com
    Aardvark Vark.com
    Unvarnished.com GetUnvarnished.com
    JooJoo TheJooJoo.com
    But we’re looking at companies who did make it despite lousy domain names. Another way to wonder about this is how much better off a company is when they start out with a great domain. Instant credibility! VCs like it. The domain itself can be an asset. Case in point: http://www.domainnoob.com/blog/2010/08/startup-social-proof-number-one-your-domain-name/

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