How to Get a Great Dotcom Name: Tesla Leads the Way

In addition to the familiar .com, .net and .org domains, close to 1400 new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDS) have been green-lighted. The new gTLDs are meant to alleviate the perceived real estate shortage in the .com world.

Many startups as well as existing business see the new domains as a way to get a better name for their companies, given what they see as lack of availability of .com names. The fact is a lot of great .com real estate is readily available but not yet leveraged, due to the wrongly held belief that your company name has to match your domain exactly.

This myth has been propagated by Silicon Valley engineers pretending to know something about branding when in reality the dictum “You don’t own your brand if you don’t own the exact .com” sprang from ego and ignorance. It’s based solely upon the ability of companies with great names to register a matching domain back in 1995. This “thinking” is what brought us the current crop of ridiculously name startups such as Spokely, Hurdly, Knowly, Qwerly, Quikkly, Kasually, Optimizely, Adnauseumly. None of these names have any value from a marketing, branding or advertising perspective. The only reason they were chosen is because the unmodified .com was obtainable. The poor results speak for themselves.

Do these new gTLDs represent an opportunity for companies to register a wider variety of powerful brand names?

History says, “no”. Think about it – .biz has been around for 13 years and is still not embraced by the business community, nor is .co, which has been available for 4 years.

So far there are approximately 300 domains delegated and almost 900 more are on the way. Which of these are you going to bet your business on?

Of the new gTLDs that have been delegated, .guru appears to be in the top three in terms of registrations, but labeling yourself or your company a “guru” is likely to been seen as sophomoric as it seems, especially if thousands of other are doing it. And let’s face it, a guru doesn’t label themself a guru, wannabe gurus do.

It’s not the end of the road for .com, not by a long shot and Elon Musk’s Tesla has shown the way. Tesla, a pure Internet play, was unable to obtain Tesla.com. The herd in the world of startups would have insisted Mr. Musk could not go forward with the name Tesla without owning Tesla.com – they would have demanded it be changed to something like Electicarly.com or whatever domain was registrable. Tesla correctly went forward with a modified domain, TeslaMotors.com. In this case the modifier “motors” was chosen, but the possible modifiers are nearly infinite. Here is a list of the 5,000 most common .com modifiers.

So why does not owning Tesla.com not hurt Tesla? It’s THE GOOGLE, people. The world finds what it’s looking for on THE GOOGLE.

When we were swirling in the vortex of the existential hell of “a Naming Agency naming itself” a dozen years ago, Igor.com was not for sale. Rather than change our name to Nameify or Namenently or register Igor.biz we went with a modifier and registered IgorInternational.com.

We’ve demonstrated what we believe in naming a business and choosing a domain – pick a great name then find a modifier to register a .com.

But it’s not just us. Ask yourself, “What would Elon Musk do?”

Further reading, via Forbes: “Seven Things To Think About Before You Register That New Domain”

“Coin” Forgoes Matching Dotcom, Grabs Great Name Instead

“Coin” is simply one card to replace all the credit cards, bank cards, et al in your wallet. It’s linked to your smartphone via Bluetooth so you can manage all the particulars including security.

The name is iconic, definitive, memorable, viral, a deep well for marketing & advertising, lends itself to endless wordplay in the press / Twittersphere, etc.

Most remarkably it is a name that came to be even though the company could not acquire Coin.com. They did it anyway.

Coin realized that the name was too important to have it be decided by dotcom availability – they reside at onlycoin.com, which won’t hurt them one bit.

Had they bought into the ridiculous herd mentality that it’s better to have a lesser name as long as it matches the dotcom address we would instead be reviewing a marketing, branding & advertising albatross like Coinly or Coinify or Coinacopia or LoinCoin. Or worse.

What To Do When Terrorists Claim Your Company’s Name

From Today’s “MARKETPLACE” On NPR:

What do you do when your brand gets adopted by a terrorist organization? That’s the question faced by businesses with ISIS in their names–the English-language acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The most extreme strategy is to simply change the name. Mobile payment app Isis has announced it will change its name to Softcard.

But so far, this is the exception. There are 49 corporations in New York State alone with “Isis” in the name, from Isis Fitness to Isis Nails.

Patricia Luzi is the founder of Isis Essentials, selling organic oils and other products. She’s not afraid of a terrorist homophone.

“Isis is an Egyptian goddess and has been for thousands of years,” she says. “I am not affected at all.”

According to Steve Manning, founder of naming agency Igor, most Isis-branded businesses have nothing to fear because there is little chance of confusion with a violent sect of Sunni fundamentalists.

“But if your business isn’t doing well or if you’ve got a bad reputation, it’s the perfect excuse to make a change,” he adds.

This is what Manning believes was the true motivation of the mobile wallet app that is now called Softcard.

“The irony being this mobile wallet was a huge initiative that never got any traction,” Manning says. “Had it, they wouldn’t have changed the name.”

It wasn’t so much protecting a successful brand, as abandoning a failed one.