So, I have an idea for a startup and have come up with what I consider to be an excellent name for it, however it contains a cuss word. Specifically "shit ".
While I don't want to divulge the exact details of the business or name just yet the purpose of the business will be to help facilitate transactions between members of the public in a somewhat informal setting so my first intention would not be to target any sort of "business market" but at the same time I don't want to cut myself off from potential clients because I look unprofessional.
So in conclusion, are swearwords always a bad idea for startup company names/domain names?
Would depend on the perspective user/customer base. Does it contain people who would likely be offended, or consider such antics childish? If yes, then it would be advisable not to do it. If you were marketing to me, I wouldn't care much about cuss words in the companies name, or somewhere on your website and other literature. But my dad would. You'd probably never get his money.
Also worth considering - would prospective future business partners, employees and buyers(if that is your exit strategy) be affected by cuss words.
Would the typical user that would find it clever or appropriately provocative also be likely to pay for the service it provides?
Would the typical user willing to pay for the service view it as offensive or a weak-minded attempt at shock-value?
Are you looking for profit or attention? They are not always associative.
e.g. "Shit my dad says" gets a lot of attention. Probably not so profitable.
"Shit my dad says", very successful Twitter account ... probably wouldn't have been as successful if it was "stuff my dad says"
The impact of a profanity can be much more significant.
"we give a shit" has more of an impact then "we care a lot"
So, no it isn't always bad. Doesn't mean it's great, but it's not always a bad idea. I personally enjoy swearing quite a bit ;)
Generally, I would say it's a bad idea unless you are targeting a very specific demographic that would appreciate such language. As for myself, I might not be offended, but I'd have a hard time taking your company seriously, and an even harder time giving you referrals.
I'd avoid it if you can, I think the cons far outweigh the pros on this one.
If trademarking your company name is important, then you should know that in many countries you can't trademark a name that includes profanity.