The Social Business Answer To Getting The Domain You Want

 

Jason Calacanis interviews Jon Ferrara
Jason Calacanis interviews Jon Ferrara This Week In Startups #189

After he and his partner sold their bootstrapped company, Goldmine, for close to $100MM, Jon Ferarra took 8 years off to raise kids. Now he’s back with a new startup called Nimble. It’s an all digital CRM platform with a thick layer of ‘social’. A single seat is free so check it out. Jason expertly extracts in story and detail, the history of Goldmine and Jon’s plans for Nimble. It was refreshing to see a founder with some grey hair for a change and encouraging to hear him liken building his company to a guy building a project car in the garage. I was fortunate to catch Jason’s eye in the chatroom with a direct question about Jon’s domain. Here’s how he got Nimble.com.
Click arrow to play audio. Jon Ferraro on getting Nimble.com

Leah Busque – How RunMyErrand Became TaskRabbit

Leah Busque

From the always excellent Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series at Stanford, this excerpt from a recent talk by Leah Busque describes how RunMyErrand.com became Taskrabbit.com.

We came up with hundreds and hundreds of names, so many names, it was such a grueling exercise. We had naming parties at our house, an we brought our friends over, and we had pizza and beer, and we’re like,  ‘Come up with names!’.

Click arrow to play audio. Leah Busque – Naming TaskRabbit

It’s All In A Name – Tony Conrad with Kevin Rose

Tony Conrad is an entrepreneur and partner in True Ventures. In this excerpt from an interview with Kevin Rose, from Kevin’s awesome Foundation series, Tony shares the details around how he was able to get two fabulous domains, About.Me and Sphere.com.

Tony Conrad and Kevin Rose
Tony Conrad and Kevin Rose

Click arrow to play audio. It’s All In A Name

Notes:
Code name About.Me was incorporated as Pumpkinhead.
Tony sold About.Me to AOL.
About.Me had been reserved by the .Me registry.
Strategic deal making over time. 14 late night calls!
Sphere.com owner loved his domain! ‘Impossible to track down.’
Tech support dude was a Yankees fan.
Equity deal. ‘He made great money.’
‘It’s all in a name.’

Jack Dorsey on Naming Twitter & Square

Jack Dorsey talks with All Things D’s Kara Swisher about inventing Twitter and later, Square

Don’t you love podcasts? Podcasts for me are what I’d always hoped television could be. Whatever your interest, the best of the best are talking about it somewhere. In this case, Jack Dorsey talks with All Things D‘s Kara Swisher about inventing Twitter and later, Square – two giant ideas that are changing the way we see the world. In these excerpts from a great talk at the Commonwealth Club, we hear about the naming process. The takeaway for me is that as genius as Jack is, when it comes to naming, we’re all of us in the same boat. Kara contributes her own ‘domainer’ story as well that will resonate with anyone who’s spent any time in the domainer forums.
Entire interview: YouTube iTunes.

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(Click arrow to play audio) Naming Twitter
(Click arrow to play audio) Naming Square
(Click arrow to play audio) About Square.com
[Update: Square.com now redirects to SquareUp, so it looks like Jack got the domain.]

 

You Have To Go In Covert (To Get Your Domain Name)

Jake Winebaum shares what he paid for Brighter.com with Jason Calacanis.

Once again the always excellent This Week In Startups provides a gem of wisdom around the subject of domain names. Whether buyer or seller this short exchange will help you formulate a strategy. Jason proves he knows of what he speaks with his guess for what Jake Winebaum paid for Brighter.com. Some of you will remember Jake from his Business.com days and the story of how he bought that domain from Marc Ostrofsky. If you don’t know that story I highly recommend you check out Andrew Warner‘s interview with Marc on Mixergy.

Jason-Calacanis-Tyler-Crowley-Jake-Winebaum

(Click arrow to play audio) You have To Go In Covert

 

Re-Branding Walk-Through, Sean Harper of FeeFighters Mixergy Interview

I love Mixergy and Andrew Warner’s interviews. Over the last few years I’ve listened to Andrew interview hundreds of startup entrepreneurs. I’m sharing this particular interview because it’s covers my favorite territory – domains and naming your company. You can find this interview, a transcript, and an audio version at Mixergy.

Sean Harper kept hearing that people didn’t like his company name, which at the time was TransFS.com. They’re a credit card processing price/feature comparison engine that helps you get the best deal for your merchant services. Somewhere around the time Sean heard his father mispronounce the company name, Sean and crew decided to go ahead and begin the painful process of renaming.
If you want to cut directly to the discussion of finding a name and then acquiring the domain, that starts around the 11 min mark. By the 24 min. mark, Sean has acquired the domains and then begins discussing implementing the changeover.

These are my notes. The process Sean describes is helping me formulate a process for an idea I’m working on called CrowdNamer.

FeeFighters.com is a service that helps it’s customers, usually merchants, optimize their credit card processing costs.
Formerly TransFS –Transparent Financial Services
Understanding we had a problem with the name.
They would say things like “How do you spell your name again? What’s your domain name?” Or, “I mentioned you to one of my friends.”
Started keeping track of how often the difficulties around their name came up.
Sean’s father mispronounced the old name.
It was more than a quarter of our customers that were having confusion with our name, when we looked at the data.
“Basically the methodology we followed was one of coming up with lots and lots of ideas and then filtering those ideas according to a methodology. The one we used the most is this methodology called Igor  I-G-O-R, which is a methodology for branding and scoring each name and then keeping a list of the ones that scored the highest.
http://www.igorinternational.com/
Free naming guide:
http://www.igorinternational.com/process/naming-guide-product-company-names.php
I called them Vectors -for naming.
Two word name. One describes, the other more emotional.
A lot of time with the dictionary. Bugged our friends, a lot.
Name brain storm.
Crossword dictionary- synonyms, by number of letters
Paper on the wall, writing all over them, hundreds of names.
Narrowed down in batches.
Ranked them by IGOR
Factors: Memorable, easy to spell, emotional, how close to your value proposition, how descriptive
8 variables.
Y axis all the names they’d thought of
X axis all the criteria
Rank them in a Google spreadsheet, independently of each other
Trying to add an objective framework on top of something fundamentally subjective
Personally loved CostHammer but the rest of the team didn’t like it.
Very exhausting. After a week. All start to sound the same.
Whittled it down to about a dozen names.
Used Survey Monkey to get opinions from friends, advisors etc. using same framework they’d used themselves.
Had people rate 12-15 names by survey with a small section for opinion
Tabulated the numbers.
Scores made clear: best, medium, dogs
Wanted a .com with no hyphen
Weren’t going to pay more than $10k
Some of the names were being used legitimately, some they couldn’t reach the owner,
some owners wanted too much.
Contacting and pricing domains very time consuming, lots of back and forth.
Needed to buy Feefighter.com and Feefighters.com Different owners, took days to contact each.
Ended up paying about $8k total for both names. ($4500 +$3500)
Were very happy (with the price) thought they’d have to go higher.
Had a few names they could have lived with. But going into it, everyone liked FeeFighters.
Had already thought through the whole branding, imaging, process for the top few names.
Sean then goes into details about getting the word out, switching the domain over etc. etc.
Thank you Sean and Andrew for sharing such excellent information.

Kevin Rose on Naming Websites

Update 12/12/11 Hey @KevinRose & @OinkApp people. My social media experiment doesn’t seem to be working. I noticed Oinck.com in the GoDaddy drop a few weeks ago and picked it up for you. I tweeted you a couple times but, well, either you didn’t notice, or you didn’t care.

From Glenn McElhose’s  Random Episode 15 with Kevin Rose and Tim Ferris which was shot mid May 2011. At around the 27 minute mark, Kevin begins to discuss the difficulty he’s having naming a new company. (HatTip to DomainShane)

(Click arrow to play audio) “Dude, this has been my hell for the last month and a half.”

kevinRoseDomains
Tim Ferris & Kevin Rose Discuss Naming Your Website

Notes and quotes.
It’s a combination iphone app slash destination site, meaning that there will actually be a dot com destination for it as well.
I want it to be short, like 4, 5, 6 characters.
Good names now are like, $100k.
Fred Wilson’s post about what you should spend on a great domain name. (‘Finding and Buying a Domain Name‘)
I’m trying to find something for around 20(k), trying to go on the cheap, crazy as (that sounds $20k being cheap!).
I’ve spent a lot of time doing this, so if you’re looking for a domain name, I’ll be glad to share.
Sedo.com > Advanced Search > Dot com > 5 characters max >Order search results by bid (previously declined offers- weeds out low interest domains)
Great names that end in mo, be, ly, es or start with lo. Look for them on GoDaddy.
GoDaddy.com Auctions > Advanced Search (right hand panel) > # of bids- none > Keywords- End with ly (for example) > Characters- Exactly 5 no dashes no numbers (for example) > Type- Select All >  Extension .com
Kevin zips by discussing ‘getting them to agree on price’.
Now you have to do a trademark search (Search Marks)
Now you have to check to see whether the iPhone app is available. (I like uQuery for this).
Easily understood in a crowded bar and easy to spell. Obvious spelling.
He’ll run a name by someone as though it already is an app or site, “Dude, have you tried —, it’s awesome. And they’ll be like, Oh, what’s that? Well what did you think it was?” To gauge other people’s response to how the name might sound, even though you don’t own the name.
Kevin suggests that if you have a great domain that fits the bill, (though he doesn’t mention the niche the product is in) you can send him your suggestion using the Twitter hashtag #krdomain. However, this was shot in May of 2011 so we can probably assume he’s already found it.

Update 9/9/11 Was it Oink.com? Is that what Kevin found? It appears to be a mobile voting and ranking app. Thoughts?
Kevin Rose Tweets Oink.com
Also, Kevin’s video interview site got a facelift and a new domain. Used to be Foundat.io/n is now Foundation.bz
I wasn’t sure so Googled it. “Did you mean: .biz domain
BZ is the country code for Belize.   I guess the .Biz was taken!
Just spotted 12/2/11 Now Foundation.kr! I guess as in Kevin Rose!

 

How Joe Fernandez Got Klout

Again, from the always excellent This Week In Venture Capital, Mark Suster interviews John Frankel, partner of ff Venture Capital. John was an early investor in Klout and in this audio clip, explains how CEO Joe Fernandez impressed John and proved his mettle by getting Klout.com.

(Click arrow to play audio) How Joe Fernandez Got Klout

Mark-Suster-John-Frankel-Klout

Update 10/29/11 Techcrunch adds a few more details to this story.

.TV Was The Brainchild of Bill Gross!

I was surprised to discover that Bill Gross was the original brainchild behind .TV!

Mark Suster Interviews Bill Gross

I spent much of today listening to and learning about Bill Gross, the founder of IdeaLab. Take a look at the list of companies Bill has had a major part in. It’s actually scary how much he’s accomplished! Also very inspring to see how excited he is about eSolar and the potential this company has to change the world. The Stanford talk (audio) (video) is presented as a lecture followed by Q&A. You’ll hear some of his history, especially early history, but then much of his philosophy around building companies. Especially interesting to me was his description of a great team: E for entrepreneur, P for producer, A for administrator and I for integrator. The notion of a team needing a good integrator (someone who enables communication between the team) is not something I’ve heard anywhere else and Bill feels having one is essential.

I also listened to the always excellent Mark Suster, This Week In Venture Capital interview with Bill (audio) (video). Here Bill, at Mark’s encouragement, talks in detail about the evolution of his career and the many successful companies he’s created. I was surprised to discover that Bill Gross was the original brainchild behind .TV!
(Click arrow to play audio) Bill Gross on the idea of Dot TV.

How Much Of Marketing Is The Name?

jason-calacanis-jamie-siminoff-unsubscribe-twist-90

Jason Calacanis interviewed Jamie Siminoff recently on This Week In Startups.
When Jamie’s Simulscribe.com (phone message to email transcription service) changed their URL to
PhoneTag.com
, “…our sales tripled overnight and just kept going.”

JC “Why did you come up with the world’s worst domain name?”
JS “Well I was sort of a cowboy at the time and felt like, it doesn’t matter, the name – just get it out there and if it’s a good product…”
JC “You were wrong.”
JS “Oh I was totally wrong.”

Jason suggests that your name is 50% of your marketing.
Unsubscribe.com was owned by someone who had bought it as a kid in 1994. He had an emotional attachment to it. He’d had many offers for it. Why did he take Jamie’s?
(Click arrow to play audio) A name is a key foundational block to making a great business.