Naming Your Startup? Don't Stress About the Domain Name
Aaron Patzer built his company Mint.com into a $170 million business in just two years. How did he do it? In part, he has credited the company’s short and memorable domain name, Mint.com.
"Trust is a complex thing. There are some people you will never convince, and who to this day won’t buy anything online. A few things really help. One is the domain name. Mint.com is quality, it’s a place where money is made, it’s short and spelled unambiguously. It’s a very good brand name for what we’re doing. We spent three months, hundreds of hours, and more money than I care to comment on for that domain - but it was worth it," he explained in an interview.
"Offhand, who do you trust more: Mint.com or MoneyAnalyzr.com? (I made that name up, but it shocks me how little most Web 2.0 companies pay attention to their name - they misspell, have long/cheap domain names, and lose trust because of it)," he added.
Patzer is not alone with his fixation on a high quality domain name. Many entrepreneurs when they’re deciding what to name their new business, put a lot of weight on what domain name they can acquire. But their isn’t unanimous agreement in the startup community about the importance of the right web address. Check out this tweet from serial entrepreneur and investor Chris Dixon:
Names are underrated, but domains names are (increasingly) overrated. Square, Dropbox, http://t.co/yj7KfdLR all started with temp domains.-; Chris Dixon (@cdixon) July 13, 2012
The tweet was highlighted in a post offering advice on naming your startup on the Buffer Blog recently. In it, founder Joel Gascoigne agrees with Dixon and suggests you "take a look at all these successful startups which either had a temporary domain name, or which still have a different domain name to their name," before offering this list:
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
Pocket is getpocket.com
Bitly was/is bit.ly
Delicious was del.icio.us
Freckle is letsfreckle.com
His conclusion: "Pick a great name, then add something to get a domain name. It really doesn’t matter all that much."
Do you agree?
JESSICA STILLMAN | Columnist
Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer based in London with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist.