Naming Top Trumps – Your Business Name Beats an Available URL Any Day

We know that creating a brand name isn’t easy. There is much, much more to the process than picking a name that you like for your business and running with it. One of the more infuriating aspects of business naming is finding that all important url. Having a free and available .com to showcase your brand will likely make or break your company…

Or will it?

Dot Com availability is one of the biggest preconceptions about brand naming and not only can it drive you to frustration, it can actually hinder your brand.

Here are a couple of recent examples we’ve encountered to highlight why the brand name itself  is the most important aspect of a brand, not the url. :

Example 1: We agreed to undertake a brand naming project for a client who was launching a small, but cool online retail store. We had an initial naming consultation to discover more about the brand, the client’s thoughts on it, potential direction and more as is the norm when taking on a new client for brand naming.

We ask many questions when beginning a brand naming project in order to challenge you to think deeply about your brand in order so that we can provide the best naming service possible. One thing that this particular client insisted on was absolutely having the .com available. In fact, the lead on the project replied when questioned on this:

“I must have the .com” available.

But why? What are the reasons for this? What is the absolute perfect brand name exists but you have to clarify it with ‘online’ or’ the something store’ is that such a big deal? The answer should be no, it isn’t a big deal. And what about .net or .co.uk? Or something contemporary like .ly for instance? All are worthwhile domain extensions so you shouldn’t get caught up on the .com all the time.

This particular start-up ‘s budget wasn’t the largest so sometimes you have to be clever with urls and although we came up with great names (some with a very modest url purchase price and may free ones) there was too much of a disconnect between us. Getting hung up on having the .com can hinder a brand before it even starts. So don’t fall into this trap.

People are used to the internet now. The dot com is no longer the king. Companies like bit.ly, American Apparel (AmericanApparel.net) or last.fm are doing mighty well don’t you think? Domain extensions like .co and .net are perfectly acceptable.

People focus on the brand name, not the url and so should you. You can also be quite clever when it comes to domain availability like the brand Del.iciou.us did for instance and to much success. Don’t forget too that there are many, many more ways to reach your website than there once were. How often do you actually type a url into a search bar? Search engines, app links, QR codes, Social Media links all lead to websites without ever having to type in a url. Companies like Uber (Ubercab.com) and even Facebook (TheFacebook.com) didn’t start off with owning their first choice .com so don’t worry about it as much as the brand name itself.

Example 2: Our second example involves a recent brand consultancy exercise we ran for a new tech start-up based in Brazil. They approached us and the first thing we noticed was a somewhat peculiar brand name to which they replied “Yes, we know. But the .com wasn’t available.”

Fortunately, we were on hand to point this out and we helped them to secure a great url for their now better sounding company name after undergoing a name tweaking for them. The bottom line is, don’t force a name just to get a url. It just isn’t worth it.

We hope that those examples have highlighted the point but just to make it clear: Having an available URL is not as important as your brand name. There are numerous names out there waiting for brands to claim them and although it is more difficult than it was perhaps before to name a company and secure a great domain name it is more than possible.  If you need a little extra help naming your business or brand from a professional naming agency then we’d be happy to oblige.

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