Naming a Startup

Domain Name Extensions

Naming a startup should not be difficult. While the days of getting a good domain name for $8 are over, a decent startup name, and corresponding domain name can be had for $1k – $2k. Starting out with a strong name is important as it is a) a pain to change it later and b) powerful for making the startup idea more concrete when selling, recruiting, etc.

Here are a few tips for naming a startup:

  • Keep the name short, preferably 10 characters or less
  • Look for one industry relevant word and a catchy word to go with it (e.g. PlacePunch) or a made up word that is pseudo relevant (e.g. Clickscape)
  • Require a .com domain name and plan to spend $1k – $2k to buy an existing domain (e.g. using if you can’t find an unregistered domain name (buying an existing name can help with SEO if it has been registered for an extended period of time)
  • Do a simple trademark search on to make sure it or something similar (like a plural form) isn’t already registered
  • Check for the Twitter and Facebook name availability

Naming a startup can be a long, drawn out effort. Don’t do it. Make it a simple process with a spreadsheet and quickly narrow down five viable options. Take the options to your friends for feedback (not consensus!), make a decision, and move on.

What else? What other things do you like to do when naming a startup?

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