Picking a domain name for your online business. Easy, right? Not right.
If the name you want hasn’t already been taken by a business similar to yours, then chances are good it’s being squatted on by one of the thousands of “domainers” around the world who do nothing but register domains, sit on them, and sell only when you meet their price.
So what do you do if the domain you want is not available? You could invent one. But this can be hazardous. Consider the site for psychologists titled Therapistfinder. Or the betting site that calls itself Oddsexchange.com. You see where the possibility for confusion exists.
Pickydomains was founded a year ago to help businesses avoid such pitfalls. For $50, the team of 17 domain namers will come up with a list of names. If you don’t find the right fit, you get your 50 bucks back.
But chances are you’ll get a decent moniker. Some of the people at Pickydomains have been coming up with catchy .coms, .nets and .orgs for six years. It has namers from the U.S., Canada, Russia, UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
The service has received raves from Web curmudgeon John Dvorak. “You are too friggin’ cheap to be taken seriously,” he writes in his blog. “A couple of your names if sold by a consulting firm would have fetched $10,000.”
Or more. Pickydomains founder Dmitry Davydov tells of the ex-Ford Motors exec who told him he was a fool to charge so little, recalling the time Ford spun off its autoparts division and spent six months and half a million dollars on the name: Visteon.
Davydov’s advice: don’t overdo it. “Test your idea with a one-page Web site first. See if you get any orders. Most people do it the other way around. They invest money and manpower, only to realize that they can’t get any clients.”
Among Davydov’s favorite inventions are Kindbuyers.com, for socially responsible shoppers; Localation.com, for local information, entertainment and news; and Aquarelief.com, for healing salts from Japan.
What’s the weirdest request he’s had? “That’s a tough one,” he says. “One guy wanted a name that combines the concepts of fire and education. An escort service in Las Vegas wanted a classy name for their strippers.”
Whatever names he came up with, they were no doubt better than the site for writers that decided to call itself Penismighty. It’s no longer in existence.