Branding With Available Domains – An Incubator

I recently reached out to a popular podcaster (Brandon from Automate My Small Business, awesome podcast!) when I discovered a valuable keyword domain dropping in his niche. We were able to acquire the domain in auction. I hope to blog in the future about our experiments to discover how best to put it to work. In the meantime he mentioned to me that he and a partner were in the midst of developing a new business. Basically, the company would capitalize on their design and marketing experience to help inventors bring their products to market. They had both decided that they liked ‘Mind To Market’, but the domain was gone, and would I care to help them look for a name? But of course!

Let’s refresh, from my last post… I’m looking for a name that invokes the spirit of the experience the company hopes to create; Passes the ‘radio’ test (could type it in your browser after hearing in a podcast); Is ‘easy to remember’; Has the exact-match Twitter handle; No Trademarks; And is available for $8 on GoDaddy!

My sandbox: ideas, invention, imagine, engineer, incubate, tinker, prototype, innovate, iterate, lab, garage, market.
Very broad! Also challenging in that we’re not building a ‘better mousetrap’ here. The concept is easily understood and communicated, but there aren’t a lot people doing this as a business, so you face the additional challenge of trying to communicate what it is you do in the name.

I looked around for inspiration and found a couple of amazing stories. The Russians Used a Pencil tells the story of how two guys built a physical product – an iPhone tripod, from idea to market in five months. They used Kickstarter to fund and market it! They used 3d printing to prototype!

And there’s Quirky! This is so amazing! Founder Ben Kaufman turned the experience of creating hit iPod accessories into a business built around the process of discovering new hit products. The Quirky community comes up with the ideas, vets them, evangelizes them, and buys them! Ben tells the story here.

Alright! Creative juices flowing and a clear picture of our naming goal. Let’s get busy with the tools. Market Samurai for keyword, niche value, and competition. A whole lot of Thesaurus.com, MoreWords.com, TheFreeDictionary.com. Throw in a little Rhymezone.com. my Excel column combination spreadsheet, and voila. Over 1200 possible candidates. Run through the GoDaddy bulk checker and… Hmm, a smattering of acceptable candidates. Now the Twitter check and… a pretty miserable collection of leftovers.

The Lean Inventor
cc by fostersartofchilling

With one exception. I mentioned I listen to a lot of podcasts. Over the last few months I’ve tracked down at least a half dozen Eric Ries interviews. Eric has worked very hard getting the word out about his book. There’s a startup education in these interviews.
This Week in Venture Capital #65 with Eric Ries, Author of ‘The Lean Startup”   mp3 audio
Eric Ries of The Lean Startup on This Week in Startups #199  mp3 audio
Eric Ries (BestSeller) – On Mixergy mp3 audio
Eric Ries (LeanStartup) – On Mixergy mp3 audio
Evangelizing for the Lean Startup – Eric Ries (Author) Stanford mp3 audio
There’s actually quite a few others, but that will get you started. At this point I’m well versed in the notion of ‘lean’, which derives from the idea of ‘lean manufacturing’ pioneered especially by Toyota in the 90s.
Eric applied it to startups and called his book, “The Lean Startup”. The idea so perfectly captured the idea I was going for, and it was available.

So did they like it? Yes, but not as much as a name they’d found in the meantime. I’m having trouble remembering it 😉 (I know there was an animal in the logo!) I’ll post a link when they launch and you can tell us what you think.

Update 4/14/12 One of the names I looked into for this project just dropped.
MakeItToMarket.com @MakeItToMarket Like it?  Update 12/10/12 Or perhaps this is closer to what you had in mind.
Make It To Market

How To Find A Killer Available Domain Name – Code School

Coding is being called ‘the new literacy’. If you love to code, think you can teach it, and have a twist on how to do it better, let’s get started. First, you’ll need a name.

ibm-1620-by-twid.jpg
IBM 1620 by Twid

I’ve tried most of the online tutorials. I broke my brain getting Ruby 1.92 on my Mac. I have Eclipse set up for PHP and Python. But so far I end up bailing out of the book, tutorial, video course. They’re not working for my brain! That’s why I was so excited to hear about Codecademy. Codecademy is a Y Combinator startup. They’re a couple of young guys with a great idea who seem to have caught a wave. The thing is, now four months and $2.5 million invested, they have all of three courses that took me an hour to complete. Yes they’re good, but…  Meanwhile the press just keeps on coming! (Isn’t this a startup no no – getting all this press before they really have a product?)

The namer/domainer in me couldn’t help but notice… Look at the spelling, codEcademy. Not codeAcademy. Not only that but CodeAcademy.org is a Chicago startup that has an CodEcademy CodeAcademyintense immersion how-to-code course in Chicago. Oh oh. What? CodeAcademy.com now forwards to CodEcademy.com. They somehow acquired it in the last month or so (I’d like to know that story). When I first looked, there was a forum there. IMO it would be hard to trademark Code Academy, I think (too generic), but looking around today I found that the CodeAcademy.org people seem to be in the process of obtaining one for ‘CA Code Academy’. The plot thickens- and gets murky, and maybe they should merge now before too many lawyers get involved. (Might a Domain Diligence Report from DomainNoob have saved a lot of trouble and headache?)
[Update 6/21/12: The lawyers have spoken! Andrew Allemann of DomainNameWire puts it succinctly: “The panel ruled that it (Code Academy) didn’t show it had any trademark in the term “Code Academy”. It was a victory for Codecademy, but the fight may have devalued both names. In making its argument, Codecademy suggested that Code Academy is merely descriptive. That could come back to haunt it as it tries to fight off cybersquatters in the future.” Here’s the actual WIPO ruling.]
[Update 10/6/12: Again from Andrew Allemann. Codecademy rcenetly bought CodeClass.com for $1,000.]

Anyway, the media attention Codecademy is getting should serve as a siren song for entrepreneurs. Coding is being called ‘the new literacy’. If you love to code, and think you’re a better teacher, or have a twist on how to do it, let’s get started. First, you’ll need a name.

My basic toolkit?
MarketSamurai for keyword/value/competition research. Thesaurus.com. MoreWords.com which is great for searching words that end with or start with. And my weird brain.

First, a look at keywords.
Initial keyword research indicates that ‘code’, as a verb, isn’t as popular as ‘program’.
‘Learn’ helps a keyword phrase score for larger click payouts, i.e. makes it more ‘valuable’.
Ads don’t really start to pop up until you drill down past ‘program’ to specific languages.
Running my list of keywords through the GoDaddy Bulk Checker. Hey! A couple of keepers.
LearningHowToProgram.com, Market Samurai tells me, is potentially the most valuable of the available keyword domains. LearnToCodeOnline.com This strikes me as the best of the availables in terms of branding a keyword domain. OnlineCodeSchool. Like this one too. Also CodeSchoolOnline.com.
Not bad! But they’re all more than 15 letters, so the exact-match Twitter handle is off the table. I’d still buy them. While the definitive word is still out on domains and SEO, they could be useful for focused mini-sites and Adwords experiments.

Then a look at what the competition is doing for “Learn to code online”.
Top Scoring Organic: lcwo.net (Morse code!), codeschool.com, & w3schools.com
Mostly you’re getting articles about learning, rather than actual places to learn. The articles lead to online Berkeley, MIT, Mozilla and Google’s Code University.
Paid (that mention coding specifically, not just online learning): www.polymathlectures.org, programming.justanswer.com

CodeSchool.com is by far the best url we’ve seen so far. Kind of ideal. They’re a subscription based video/tutorial/community ‘learn by doing’ site with a very popular free tutorial Rails For Zombies (interesting, which came first?). While we’re here, we should mention Treehouse, (TeamTreehouse.com), which launched recently (with help from VC money) and is gaining a lot of traction. They have a two-tiered subscription model. And of course there’s Lynda.com which has 69,000 tutorials for $25 a month!

Next up in our naming process is keyword combos. This is where I match the word ‘code’ with my collected list of internet destination words like ‘hub’, ‘works’, ‘planet’ etc. Very hit or miss, but in this case–it’s picked clean! Nothing worth mentioning available. Just as well, they’re not very good.

On to the brainstorming session. This is where I dig into the thesaurus to create brandable made-up names, portmanteaus, domain hacks, and word tricks. I’m playing in a ‘learn how to program code’ sandbox.

Let’s go over the criteria: Evokes the spirit of the experience your product hopes to create; Passes the ‘radio’ test (could type it in your browser after hearing in a podcast); Is ‘easy to remember’ (this often simply translates into ‘short’); Exact-match Twitter handle; No Trademarks. And again, in our case, $8 on GoDaddy!

And the winners are…

Acodemic.com @Acodemic

Codsy.com @CodsyCom

 

I really like Acodemic. Codsy is a little bit trendy (Artsy, Etsy) but it’s five letters! Try and forget it. You can spell a five letter domain out loud (radio test).  Pity about the Twitter, but five letter Twitter handles are pretty much a thing of the past. I also picked up three of the keyword domains, for SEO and Adwords experiments. CodeSchoolOnline.com, OnlineCodeSchool.com, and LearnToCodeOnline.com.

So what do you think? What would be a fair price for this package of domains? Think you can do better? I’d be happy to list your newly-registered domains in this post.  I do think I got a little bit lucky with this niche–not picked quite as clean as most. For comparison, here’s something just in today from TeachMe.comTwitter. (Will be interesting to see if Bill manages to get the Twitter as well.)
Is there a niche you’d like me to do a case study on?

[Update 4/12 I’m a couple of weeks into the Udacity CS101 class (free and now open enrollment). It’s awesome! See Also: O’Reilly School of Technology, (article, school), Bloc, Hitchiker’s Guide To Python, HackerSchool, really liking InventWithPython and LearnCodeTheHardWay.]

 

P2PCar.com MowFo.com

I look at a lot of names, usually around ideas of my own, but often around a trend that’s breaking. Here’s a couple of names I found irresistible today. ‘Collaborative consumption’ is a buzz word around the phenomenon of sharing things rather than owning them outright. It’s estimated, for example, that the average electric drill will see a total of 12 minutes use in its lifetime. “What you really need is the hole, not the drill.” (Rachel Botsman, Collaborative Consumption at TED) People are starting to figure out how to share locally. Cars, for instance, sitting in garages while you’re at work, or in the driveway when you’re home for the weekend have become a target for peer to peer sharing. It’s kind of obvious the minute you think of it. There seems to be quite a lot of activity in the startup community around sharing cars. I was surprised to find that my first choice for a name, P2PCar.com, was available. I hope that, as new companies come into the space, one will be happy to find that a great name is available for a reasonable price.

p2pCar.jpg

As for MowFo? I saw that it dropped recently. I put it in my interesting list. And then I tried to forget about it. But I couldn’t. I just kept picturing a gardening truck driving by me with MowFo.com on the side. Or wouldn’t it be a great name for a grass cutting Roomba?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Commons License  credit: hagwall

Normalizr Normalizr.com Making Podcasts Sound Good

How obvious is this? Maybe it’s out there already? Adding it to my bright ideas with a domain name and a Twitter handle list.  A cloud based, enterprise level, podcast audio and video normalization and enhancement service.

  • Optimize your audio or the audio of your video file for volume and balance, i.e. all voices in discussion are at the same volume level.
  • Optimize your video file for brightness and remove excess camera jitters.

Not rocket science. Scoop up the podcast RSS feed, make it really nice to listen to and watch and re post it to RSS. I think clever programmers could automate this. Hey, are you a clever programmer? This project needs co-founders.

Normalizr

How To Make Money Online. No… Really. My Interview With Eric Borgos of ImpulseCorp.com

As anyone who has stumbled upon his ImpulseCorp.com blog knows, Eric Borgos has a treasure trove
of domaining/webmastering experience dating back to the very early days of the internet. Since selling
his Bored.com site in 2008 for $4.5 million, Eric has found time to share some of his experiences. Eric
graciously accepted my request for an interview.
Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure… Eric Borgos.

[display_podcast]

The DomainNoob podcast will not be a weekly episodic, more like an
occasional documentary. I welcome interview suggestions and introductions.
Because it’s so new, DomainNoob is not listed in the iTunes store. If you want to subscribe you’ll have
to…. iTunes >Advanced> Subscribe to Podcast > then enter the feed url which is:
https://www.domainnoob.com/blog/?feed=podcast

Podcast Notes: Eric Borgos
http://www.impulsecorp.com/
http://www.nameshopping.com/
http://bored.com/ (Record created on: 1997-05-24) sold for $4.5 million.
Early entrepreneurial efforts (as a kid). Baseball cards, coins, silver, Penny Stocks.
College years.
Early domaining, (Ye Olde Drop Catch).
Webmastering directory type ‘mall’ sites.
What was working in the late 90s.
Affiliate links > ad networks.
Bored.com [links to 1998 screenshot] directory of sites with fun stuff to do.
Copying other sites- why send the traffic away?
CoolVideos.com  vs. bored.com/coolvideos
Link-network vs. brand.
Site plays audio backwards.
Type in a phone number and a text message and the site calls the number and announces the message.
How fun sites get built.
Freelancers, overseas programmers.
http://www.scriptlance.com/
http://www.guru.com/index.aspx
Traffic, costs, profit.
Selling Bored.com, the psychology of the sale.
Two bidders are better than 1.
Tax advantages to selling vs. salary.
Capital gains vs. income.
AdoptMe.com for kids. Free virtual pet. > Plush toys for sale in stores with unique code identifiers.
GetFlowers.com CheapFlowers.com + Running two brick and mortar flower stores!
SEO value of hub site approach?
Selling domains.
9000 domain names > parking.
TrafficZ.com DDC.com TrafficValet.com
To renew or not to renew?
Mini-sites vs. parking income.
Auto-content sites.
Domain sale process – negotiation.
http://estibot.com/ http://dnjournal.com/
Paypal vs. https://escrow.com/index.asp
Still registering domains?
Revenue, profit, expenses, sales.
http://www.nameshopping.com/
http://www.dumb.com/
Keeping it interesting.

What’d I miss? Help me build a list of  questions to ask Eric in a follow-up interview.
.com vs. .net
ppc to drive traffic to his sites?

Cat Scanners – CatScanners.com

Domain name for sale. CatScanners.com.
Buy it now $3999. Immediate transfer to your Godaddy account.
These things are expensive! Great deal for a vendor.
Google search: 607,000 for cat scanners, 66,500 for “cat scanners”.

cat scanner ct scanner

contact

Future Of .TV – I Thought They Were Kidding!

Talk is from PopTech.com.

I like the .tv extension. It certainly hasn’t done as well as I’d hoped. But I thought all the hoopla about Tuvalu sinking was an exaggeration. Maybe not. This excerpt from a talk by Mark Lynas on global warming would certainly seem to indicate there IS trouble ahead for .tv (not to mention the rest of the planet).

Listen to Mark Lynas PopTech 2005 –  On Tuvalu

Tuvalu Environment Ministry
Tuvalu woman doing her laundry.
Tuvalu Laundry Day
Tuvalu Meteorological Office
Tuvalu Meteorological Office

So maybe these domains are overpriced?
WorkAtHomeBusiness.tv
FlightInstruction.tv

See also: GoDaddy Wants You To Know: Tuvalu Is Sinking

.

AnaheimPlumbing.com

Domain Name For Sale:
AnaheimPlumbing.com
Buy It Now $5999
Terms available.
Anaheim Plumbing
Traffic: March-52 April-55 May-51
That’s “type-in” traffic, meaning, people looking for a plumber in Anaheim are
typing AnaheimPlumbing.com into their browser address bar expecting to find
the solution to their plumbing problem. How many jobs would it take to pay for
that domain name? A great domain name generates trust. If you’re a plumber
setting up shop in Anaheim, this domain will give you the jump on your competition.
If you’re already established, it will lock up your advantage. What a great investment.
It’s also tax-decuctible.
Why generic domain names are a better way to brand your business.