2010 Crunchies Awards Winners – Domain Names Edition

For the purposes of this little experiment I scored all names- company, personal, and game, similarly- from a branding perspective.
Obviously a CEO or VC doesn’t have to care whether he’s got the exact match .com and Twitter handle, but it is safe to assume they’d probably want them, and if they had them, it would make it easy to find them. I didn’t include Facebook, because honestly, I don’t fully get Facebook from a branding perspective yet.
I’d also note that the app/game space seems to be an ecosystem unto itself and plenty of business is getting done without the matching domain name, although again, I bet they wish they had them.

Exact match company name, dot com, and Twitter handle scores an A.
Bonus (+) factors:
Short, easy to spell, clever in a way that remains brandable but didn’t cost you an arm and a leg (Hipmunk.com is currently my favorite example.)
Score a penalty for:
Alternative tlds (.org etc. where you don’t own the .com as well).
Domain hacks (using the tld to the right of the dot to complete the word).
Domain and Twitter handle not matching.

The logic? IMO hearing the company discussed in a podcast or radio interview, you should be able to navigate directly to the site without having to Google. Ideally it’s memorable enough to tell a friend about it the next day.

Domain is exact match .com unless noted. (winner) etc. refers to how the company did in the 2010 Crunchies Awards.

Best Internet Application

A Chartbeat Twitter: @chartbeat

A Greplin Twitter: @Greplin

B Pandora (winner) Twitter: @pandora_radio

A Rdio (runnerup) Twitter: @Rdio

B Ujam Twitter: @Ujam_com

Best Social App

B Cityville Domain: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=291549705119 Cityville.com also resolves to the Facebook page. Twitter: @zCityVille

A Dailybooth (winner) Twitter: @dailybooth

A Foursquare Twitter: @foursquare

A GroupMe Twitter: @GroupMe

A Twitter (runnerup) Twitter: @twitter

Best Social Commerce App

A Blippy Twitter: @blippy

A Groupon (winner) Twitter: @Groupon

B Jetsetter Twitter @jetsetterdotcom

A LivingSocial Twitter: @LivingSocial

A One Kings Lane Twitter: @onekingslane

A ShopKick (runnerup) Twitter: @shopkick

Best Mobile App

BBump Domain hack: bu.mp Twitter: @bumptech

A Chomp Twitter: @chomp

B Google Mobile Maps for Android (winner) Domain: google.com/mobile/android Twitter: @googleapps

A Hashable Twitter: @hashable

B Instagram (runnerup) Domain hack: instagr.am instagram.com is parked and is owned by someone in Korea with a Sedo email address. Twitter: @instagram

Best Location Based Service

B+ Facebook Places (runnerup) Domain: facebook.com/places Twitter: @facebook @facebookplaces is a suspended account

A Foursquare (winner) Twitter: @foursquare

A Gowalla Twitter: @gowalla

A SimpleGeo Twitter: @SimpleGeo

A+ Uber Twitter: @Uber

Best New Device

B+ Boxee Domain: Boxee.tv Boxee.com is a webmail company Twitter: @boxee

B Google Chrome Notebook Domain: google.com/chromeos Twitter: @googlechrome

BiPad (winner) DOMAIN: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_ipad/family/ipad Apple does not appear to own ipad.com Twitter: @iPad but not used.

B iPhone 4 Apple do own iphone.com (though not iphone4, 5 or 6.com -they’re parked at Fabulous with private Whois) Twitter: @iphone is a suspended account. @iphone4 is somebody trying to win a prize.

B Kno Twitter: @GoodtoKNO (but they’re going to want to get @kno for more than the obvious reasons)

B+ Xbox Kinect (runnerup) Domain: xbox.com kinect.com points to Bing Twitter: @xbox (but not @kinect)

Best Technology Achievement

B Blekko Yes, Blekko does own blekko.com Twitter: @blekko (scores a B in my book but seems to be working out for them 😉

Google Self-driving Cars (winner)

A+ Hunch Twitter: @hunch

B Palantir Domain: Palantir.com Twitter: palantirtech (Palantir.net has @palentir)

A Qwiki (runnerup) Twitter: @Qwiki

BWord Lens Domain: QuestVisual.com (There’s a blog at WordLens.com) Twitter: @wordlens (But curiously not used)

Best Design

A 1000memories Twitter: @1000Memories

B about.me (runnerup) They are branding with the dot me, i.e. They are About.me wherever seen. Twitter: @aboutdotme

B+ Airbnb (They do own AirBandB.com as well) Twitter: @airbnb

A Flipboard Twitter: @Flipboard

A Gogobot (winner) Twitter: @gogobot

A Qwiki Twitter: @Qwiki

Best Touch Interface

A Flipboard (winner) Twitter: @Flipboard

A Fotopedia Heritage iPad app (runnerup) Twitter: @Fotopedia

B Osmos Domain: HemisphereGames.com Twitter: @HemisphereGames See Also

BPulse News Reader Links to itunes. Company is AlphonsoLabs.com Twitter: @pulsepad

B Sencha Touch Domain: Sencha.com but may or may not own SenchaTouch.com (If they do it should be pointed, private GoDaddy reg. for both) Twitter: @SenchaInc @Senchatouch is theirs but links to the other.

B Swype Domain: SwypeInc.com (SwipeInc.com is for sale at HugeDomains for $2495) Twitter: @Swype

Best Bootstrapped Startup

C Addmired (iMob) (winner) Company name for iphone game Gangstaz Domain: ogapponline.com Twitter: @OG_app

B Beluga Domain: BelugaPods.com Twitter: @belugapods

B Easel Domain:EaselLearning.com Twitter: @easellearning

A Fast Society Twitter: @fastsociety

A Instapaper (runnerup) Twitter: @instapaper

A Techmeme Twitter:@Techmeme

Best Enterprise

A 37 Signals Twitter: @37signals

A Buddy Media (winner) Twitter: @BuddyMedia

B CloudApp Domain: GetCloudApp.com Twitter: @getcloudapp

A inDinero Twitter: @indinero

A Millennial Media (runnerup) Twitter: @MillennialMedia

A Salesforce Twitter: @salesforce

Best International

C Crivo Domain: Crivo.com.br Doesn’t resolve without www, Crivo.com is parked. Twitter: ?

B+ PCH International Domain: PchIntl.com (also PchInternational.com) PchInt.com is a Frank Schilling domain. Twitter: @pchintl

A Soluto (runnerup) Twitter: @Soluto

A+ ViKi (winner) Twitter: @Viki

BVNL Domain: Vnl.in Twitter: @vnl_india

B Wonga Twitter: @WongaWoman @WongaMan (but not @wonga)

Best Clean Tech

A Coolerado Twitter: @Coolerado

BKopernik (runnerup) Domain: TheKopernik.org TheKopernik.com doesn’t resolve, is owned by someone in Bali and was created almost a full year after the .org Twitter: @thekopernik

BMicroGreen Domain: MicroGreenInc.com MicroGreen.com is parked with a for sale form. Twitter: @MicroGREENAdAir

A Puralytics Twitter: @Puralytics (You’re welcome!)

B Smith Electric Vehicles

A SolarCity (winner) Twitter: @solarcity

Best Time Sink Application

BAngry Birds (runnerup) Domain: ShopAngryBirds.com Twitter: @RovioMobile

B Cityville (winner) Cityville.com also resolves to the Facebook page. Twitter: @zCityVille

A Netflix streaming Twitter: @netflix @Netflixhelps

A Quora Twitter: @quora

A StumbleUpon Twitter: @StumbleUpon

Angel of the Year

A Jeff Clavier, SoftTech VC Domain: SoftTechVc.com Twitter: @softtechvc @jeffclavier (Interestingly JeffClavier.com doesn’t resolve and is owned by Top Business Names of Grand Caymen).

A Ron Conway, SV Angel (runnerup) Domain: SVAngel.com Twitter: @svangel @RonConway RonConway.com is for sale at Epik for $3981 USD!

B Michael Dearing, Harrison Metal Capital Domain: HarrisonMetal.com Twitter: @mcgd

B Chris Dixon, Founder Collective Domain: FounderCollective.com CDixon.org Twitter: @cdixon

B Mike Maples, FLOODGATE Domain:Floodgate.com Twitter:@m2jr

A Paul Graham, Y Combinator (winner) Domain: YCombinator.com PaulGraham.com Twitter: @ycombinator

VC of the Year (individual)

B Marc Andreessen & Ben Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz Domain: a16z.com MarcAndreesen.com is parked at Godaddy with private Whois.

B Roelof Botha, Sequoia Capital Domain: SequoiaCap.com Twitter: @roelofbotha

B Jim Breyer, Accel Partners Domain: Accel.com Twitter: @jimihendrixlive

B John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins Domain: kpcb.com KleinerPerkins.com Twitter: @johndoerr

C Yuri Milner, DST (winner) Domain: DST-Global.com (but there’s nothing there). Twitter: ?

B+ Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures (runnerup) Domain: AVC.com UnionSquareVentures.com Twitter: @fredwilson

Founder of the Year

B+ Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Domain: Wikileaks.org Twitter: @wikileaks

B+ Dennis Crowley, Foursquare Domain: DennisCrowley.com Twitter: @dens

BJack Dorsey, Square (runnerup) Domain: SquareUp.com Twitter: @jack @square

A Kevin and Julia Hartz, Eventbrite Domain: EventBrite.com (also EventBright.co) Twitter: @eventbrite @kevinhartz @juliahartz

B David Karp, Tumblr Domain: Tumblr.com DavidsLog.com Twitter: @davidkarp (Tumbler.com makes glasses you drink out of)

B Mark Pincus, Zynga (winner) Domain: Zynga.com Twitter: @markpinc @zynga (Zinga.com makes filters and mechanical parts in Reedsburg WI)

CEO of the Year

BDick Costolo, Twitter Twitter: @DickC

B Reed Hastings, Netflix Domain: Netflix.com (Also own NetFlicks.com) Twitter: ?

B Drew Houston, Dropbox Twitter:@drewhouston

B Andrew Mason, Groupon (winner) Twitter: @andrewmason

B Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook (runnerup) Twitter: @finkd

Best New Startup or Product of 2010

A Flipboard

A GroupMe

B Instagram

A Quora (winner)

C Square (runnerup) Domain: SquareUp.com

A Uber

Best Overall Startup or Product of 2010

A Facebook

A Groupon (runnerup)

A Quora

A Twitter (winner)

A Zynga

Domains For SEO- Do They Still Matter? Kelvin Newman’s Take

A fun podcast I never miss is the Internet Marketing Insider from SiteVisibility.com. Great insights from the internet marketing trenches featuring Kelvin Newman and Andy White. I borrowed this clip from their recent Want a Sticky Website episode because it deals with a subject I know to be near and dear to domainers. Especially if you’re interested in selling domains to end users for SEO purposes, you need to stay on top of what’s working. I’m not sure I agree with everything Kelvin is saying in this clip, but I’m glad to have his perspective. Check in out.

(Click arrow to play audio clip) Domains-SEO-Micro-Mini-Sites.

Naming Your Company – A Venture Capitalist Tells You How

TWiVC-04-Mark-Suster-Dave-Travers-Mike-Bracco

Mark Suster is a 2x entrepreneur turned Venture Capitalist. He joined GRP Partners in 2007 as a General Partner after selling his company to Salesforce.com. He focuses on early-stage technology companies. He is also the host of This Week In Venture Capital, a new show on Jason Calacanis’s ThisWeekIn.com network of web shows. In the chat room recently I had the opportunity to post a question both he and his guest, fellow VC, David Travers spent a few minutes answering.

(Click arrow to play audio clip) Naming your company.

1. Choose a name that doesn’t box you into a corner. (i.e. As a startup your focus may change over time.)
2. Make sure your website matches your company name.
3. Is your name pronounceable in other languages.
4. Don’t pick a name that sounds like bunch of other companies, ie. don’t use the word ‘blue’ or ‘labs’ or ‘360’. (Or a word that ends with ‘ly’)
5. It does take some capital but for $10-15k (a lot of money for company with no funding, but once you’ve raised a little bit of seed capital) you can get a reasonable name.
6. The money you save marketing an easy to remember name will more than make up for the $10-15k you spend to buy the name.
7, If you’re using the hyphenated or the not exact match domain, expecting to purchase the parked version you really want later on, remember that the price will be correlated to your success.
8. You can make a deal with the domain owner. $5k plus 2% of the company.  Or a payment stream tied to success with installments towards an agreed upon price in the future. If you don’t pay the agreed upon amount by a certain time, the domain remains the sellers. Get creative.

Especially interesting to me is the idea of not naming your company too tightly around the focus of your initial startup intentions. I really like a name that is a close fit with a company’s product or service. It makes marketing easier and less expensive. Also it’s been shown that online ad campaigns are much more effective when the company/url matches what the person was searching for. Mark uses the example of a company he’s working with who purchased Bedrock.com. They also discuss the name WildFire.com. These are great names with obvious metaphoric significance that lend themselves to branding but also leave enough room for the company to shift focus if need be.