How do you come up with a decent .com domain name?


It seems every common word or short sequence is owned or parked. Does anyone have any advice for the best way to come up with a decent .com domain name?

We are going to launch an HTML5, cloud hosted app for the social retail of books through forums, communities and mobile apps. Its features include the option to pay-per pages/chapter, offline reading and touch UI support.

However, we're still not 100% on a name. We resorted to words we would like to associate with our app, for example we 'light up' pages the viewer has bought. Then taking a word like light we found synonyms/translations which sound good and fired them at a domain registrars search with various prefixes/suffixes.

Would love to hear:

1) Your recommended methods of coming up with a name

2) How you tested your domain name

Branding Domain Name

asked Feb 28 '11 at 23:57
26 points

3 Answers


How I choose a domain name:

  • Pick some words I like (Books + forum = bookforum, bookergy, bookable, bookspeak etc)
  • Jot them all down in a Google Spreadsheet and check domain availability
  • Move my favorites that are available to the top
Types of Domains In my opinion - You're better off with picking a made up word/phrase instead of a real word. The reason is because when you're starting a new service, chances are it's going to change, so you don't want to be locked by your name.

For example - If you named your company "Olib's Pizzas", but quickly realized there's no money in pizzas and more money in milkshakes and you want to switch, you're going to have more work to do and money to spend than if you just named your company name "Olib's"

  • Make up a word or phrase (e.g. HubSpot, Microsoft)
  • Choose a mascot or pick a theme (e.g. HipMunk, BreadPig )

I've also read a great blog post by Noah Kagan about why "Mint" was a great name for a financial services company, because short domains are trusted more, and therefore Mint was more trusted than Wesabe.

Test the domain name Remember Test: The best way to test your domain/company name is to tell someone it at the beginning of a conversation, then ask them 20 minutes later what your company name was. If they remember, you probably have a good one.

Grandma Test: Tell someone old your company name, and see if they can actually remember it. If it passes the Grandma test, your have a really good name.

Spelling Test: The last test is to call someone on the phone and ask them to spell out your domain name. If they spell it wrong (Twittr -> Twitter) then you probably need to pick an easier one.

answered Mar 1 '11 at 01:22
Andy Cook
2,309 points
  • Thanks Andy, I agree with your comment about a slightly abstract name. On top of pigeon holing yourself I think a name which means something specific can also build up preconceptions in visitors minds before they visit the site. If you're doing something different it can work against you. Interesting comment in the mint article about short expensive domains instilling trust in new visitors. I think trust is one of the most important aspects to get across in your landing page and a name could do that before you get there. – Olib 13 years ago


Try using the tools at DomainHole (use beta code DOMAINS).

If you have a keyword in mind, you can easily find english 2 word domains using the expired search tool or the name spinner.

answered May 9 '11 at 00:54
Brad Pineau
161 points


I believe there are very few single syllable domain names left unless you want to use some outrageous spelling.

You may have decided to pursue the branding option from the start, but it worth reminding others that there are still many opportunities for SEO domain names for your product/service. A tool such as Market-Samurai can help you identify keywords/phrases with relatively high traffic and low competition.

As for the branded domain options, it is far too easy to get lost in the crowd. Consider using other countries' top level domains to get something sexy like Google ( and others ( have done.

I personally think that you should commit to a few ideas, buy the domains, and then create an online survey to ask people (preferably your target market) which one they like the most.

Your approach otherwise is good. I believe, for example, Google is a misspelling - another alternative to the foreign would approach.

My personal opinion is that "VALO" is GOOD, "BOX"...not so much. There are several strong "box" brands out there like and DropBox so using that would be the equivalent of starting a social network or similar site call HandBook or FacePad.

I hope these ideas give you some inspiration.

answered Mar 1 '11 at 01:08
Nikolay Piryankov
683 points
  • Thanks for the feedback, it is a good point about SEO, I'll put some thought into it. I'm still not convinced about other top level domains. The guys were forever struggling with .net. Whenever I say one I generally have to say that's howgreat dot R U. This often defeats the point in a clever snappy domain name (for word of mouth anyway). Your comment about the word 'BOX' is interesting. One of the reasons we picked it was because other trusted brands in the cloud space use it. We're not in the same market but thought it would help instill a sense of familiarity. – Olib 13 years ago

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Branding Domain Name