Domain Spotlight:

Let’s Take a Look At Asia’s Top 25 Startups This Past Year And Their Domain Names

I’ve been concentrating more and more on putting together a portfolio of domain names that cater to the start-up market.  A market that tends to be made up of everything from hand registers to names under $5000.  My names tend to be in that $2000 to $3000 price range which is an affordable price range for a new company.  I appear to be getting the hang of it as the last 5 names I’ve sold have become new companies or apps.  Lately I’ve been studying the Chinese market, a market that alone will account for billions of users and have a large group of startups.  To get a feel of what names and domains the newest Asian technology and app companies are using, let’s take a look at the domain names of Asia’s Top 25 startups ( in no particular order) .

1. Japanese novelty gifts

2. Videoconferencing

3. Indonesian clothing

4. Sekai camera.   Mobile smart video Location based mobile Applications

6. 40 million user social network

7. Online diagramming and design tool

8. Company’s name is Twitcasting Live.  Twit and stream live video to the web

9. Singapore only geo listing app.  Displays the nearest places of interest.

10. Public funding site

11. Fair trade item marketplace of hand made products

12. Applicant tracking software for human resource departments

13. Quik  Microblogging for enterprise.  Korean language only

14. Company is called Insync so domain is pretty poor one here.  Dropbox for Google users

15. Company is Voicetap and .com is not owned by the company.  Voice and video service that allows user to contact experts in particular fields.

16. Self described as Flickr meets Foursquare

17. Location based software that lets users follow the location of their friends and organize hangouts

18. Visual password for credit cards and ids.  Perhaps the coolest thing I’ve seen in a while.  I’ll be doing a story on this one

19. Travel search site. Fantastic name

20. Product is called 123PassportPhoto and they own the dot com but forward it to this domain.  It’s an online passport photo maker

21. Gamelan is the product but they don’t own any of the major tlds.  It’s a “social music station”

22. Stands for Movie Freak.  Social movie fans app

23. Provides users with the ability to give live support using any device.

24. Product is called Chalkboard but obviously very expensive.  Mobile app that lets companies target local shoppers via geo locationing on their phone

25. Lets companies track their competitors’ online advertising campaigns.

As you can see that the names were mostly random names and those that had dictionary words usually did not own the dot com.   It tells me that the Asian startup community is similar to the American startup community and would rather keep their domain expenses low and purchase names that are more “creative”.  Of the 25 domain names, only a few would have had any value before the start of the company.  It proves yet again that most startups don’t have the cash to buy expensive domain names and go with obscure names.  As even those obscure names disappear it will by interesting to see the approach over the next few years.  I think it leads to my thought above, more sales in the 2 to 5K range for creative, short, names.

Domain Spotlight:

10 Replies to “Let’s Take a Look At Asia’s Top 25 Startups This Past Year And Their Domain Names”

  1. Hey Shane

    First of all, you know I have the utmost respect for you and your contribution to the domaining community, but has all that snow shovelling driven you crazy?
    Most of these domains, with the exception of a few, are so arbitrary that I just dont understand how you could effectively build up “a “portfolio of domain names that cater to the start-up market”, as you say.
    I understand the 5L thing, of course, but surely by not investing in good domains that CLEARLY pertain to a specific niche you could potentially be throwing your smartly earned cash away on these seemingly random word combinations?
    How can you possibly foresee what kooky, mostly nonsensical domain someone might potentially choose for their startup?
    Not calling you out, so don’t tear me a new asshole, just seems high-risk and a bit crazy for someone who’s known for talking sense round here!

    1. Jim that is a good question. No I’m not crazy. What I’m trying to say/prove is that new startups are not willing to pay for keyword generic names. They aren’t willing to spend that kind of money. When I say startup names I mean names that are 5 letters and “cute” , easy to spell, and in some cases, can describe. Like or a recent sale of to an app company. I own names like,, All names that are perfect fit in my opinion. They are choosing random domains because their first choices are often taken with no gateway to see how much they may cost. Buy putting a buy it now price of $3000 I am starting to see many more sales. That or I negotiate a price with a counter that lets them know, I’m not going to ask outlandish prices. The more I learn how they look for names or what they are using the better I can cater to them. In this case you see no pattern and although many are random, I am getting information on what they are choosing and why. You see a chalkboard of nonsense and I see dollar bills.

  2. Interesting post.

    On an IDN front, another very early stage trend with large Asian companies, is rebranding around IDNs. A top 100 Alexa Japan site,, branded its logo around the IDN “毎日.jp” and also bought the IDN 毎日.jp

  3. Gosh! Look at all these successful startup companies that just don’t “get it”!

    Yes, this is said in jest to the thousands of “domainers” that think the most important about an online business is the domain name.

  4. Well i still don’t see why this will raise the prices for such domains to 2-5K range? The current market for decent domains can get you names in that range including some great’s and even’s. Many generics can be bought within $x,xxx range easily and cctlds for even lower.

    1. This would take too long to explain in a comment section. Long story short. All good dot com names are going to rise in value. Most good names will be over $1000 soon. Try and get some before they get there. The end. 🙂

  5. I agree with your evaluation – most startups won’t see the value of a high priced keyword and most of these companies you mentioned wouldn’t benefit from a generic imo. They are trying to build a brand. That being said, some of these names are rediculously hard to spell and remember… short, memorable swapn is way better than Elevyn which will have a fair amount of traffic going to Guess only time will tell whether they made good choices, but if they have a good enough product/site the name eventually seems natural…

  6. Hi Shane,

    Kinda agree with you when I see some of the names that have been very successful. Like:,,, and I can name 100 more. Its the business plan behind the name.

    Have a Great Day

  7. Hi
    I agree with Jim in his considerations.
    I also have a asian portfolio mainly with .com or .in (not .cn) with names that sounds meaningful even for asian countries that also speak english. Names like chinaeconomics. net, chinastockexchange. net, chinaforinvestors. com, domainingchina. com, chinatourisme, com, chinacelebrities. com, emergingchina. net, shivainvestments. com,, civilwar. in, sled, in, explicit. in, indiadomaining. com, chinadomainers. net and some more. The .in domains are valuated more than 2500 and some over $5000. Names related with China must sound popular mainly for investors and potential china domainers.
    Future is favouring names that mean something to those countries mainly for categories like business aned finance maybe the first to be more attractive to them.
    And the most important, not to rush to sell it at any price. Just wait.

  8. I agree this is a sweet spot in the domain market, 4-6 letter .com’s that can be pronounced and have a tech or social use probably have a good chance of selling. The 2k to 5k range is affordable, if you will base your new company brand on it. Thousands more start up companies will be coming in the years ahead, especially with more Asian internet use. And they can’t use IDNs if they want to include the english speaking market. I think domains will pick up at some point because NNNN is getting used up, and numbers are universal. Wouldn’t base my whole portfolio on these kinds of names, but it’s worth having some portion.

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