Domain Spotlight:

Let’s Take a Look at the Top 50 Startups and Their Domains

I often feel that domainers put way too much emphasis on a domain name and it’s relation to a company’s success.   I am a businessman first and a domain investor second.  A domain to me is merely a tool to reach potential customers for my business.  I can really get a feel of the importance of domains by looking at new tech/Internet startups.  Startups meaning newly created companies or companies with limited operating history.  These companies were created in the recent era of the Internet and chose names based availability is today’s domain climate.  Like any company, their internet presence is a huge part of their persona and we can get a feel what today’s companies feel is the value of name and the domain that accompanies.   Here is a look at the top 50 startups according to LouisGray. Here’s and my comments and opinions about their domains

  1. Foursquare Notice to see they didn’t go with the number 4 but that’s because it was registered 6 years before this name
  2. Spotify
  3. Automattic I don’t know the exact history but I would venture a guess that they changed the name of the company because that particular domain was available.  (they are the wordpress founders)
  4. Posterous
  5. Blippy
  6. SlideShare
  7. Tumblr Again, would have been tumbler if they had any money to buy the domain
  8. TweetDeck
  9. Square Some think they should have purchased but I like this better
  10. Quora
  11. CinchCast:
  12. Sports Blog Nation
  13. Proves publicity and functionality can overcome an unusual tld
  14. my6sense Perhaps my least favorite of the group
  15. Thing Labs
  16. Plancast
  17. Seesmic
  18. Lunch Great generic put to use
  19. Gowalla
  20. DropBox As easy to remember as any of the names and perfect name to match its function
  21. Lazyfeed
  22. Hunch
  23. Ecademy
  24. Xobni
  25. Tweetmeme
  26. Feedly
  27. Klout
  28. The people of are seeking a million for their because they know their name gets mad traffic because of the tv ending
  29. Amplify
  30. OneRiot
  31. Lijit
  32. Echo The worst domain of the group.  I understand was probably taken but of all the names that’s what they went with?
  33. MyLikes I’m sure they would much rather have had
  34. Outbrain
  35. DailyBooth
  36. Gist
  37. Soluto
  38. Tungle Me must be so proud, of course they would rather have
  39. Qwotebook Trying to be too cool here.  Tons of traffic lost to quotebook.
  40. Regator
  41. Untitled Startup I guess this is as generic of startup name as you can get
  42. Twazzup
  43. The Cadmus
  44. Branchr Here’s that r thing again
  45. and a copy cat
  46. BlockChalk
  47. FitBit
  48. RockMelt
  49. Live Intent
  50. Fabulis My nomination for second worst domain.  I can only imagine how many times they have to spell this out to people

What I get out of this list and their domains is this.  Most of the companies would rather put their money towards company development rather than a domain name.  Some have even gone as far as picking a company name based on available hand registered domains.   Developing a top startup is rarely done with a generic name but rather a name that is individual, original, and can be branded.  I used to think a name should tell customers what you do but after looking at startups over the last 10 years, many of the best companies have names that give you no hint of their business.  Long and short, a name is a name and as long as customers enjoy your business, they will find your site, whatever the name is……or at least that seems to be their approach

Domain Spotlight:

7 Replies to “Let’s Take a Look at the Top 50 Startups and Their Domains”

  1. I see a number of complaints at Twitter how domainers (referred to as domain squatters) stifle economic growth as startups cannot acquire good domains for their business. Starting a new business involves many cost far and above that of a decent (not necessarily premium) domain. Regardless your post illustrates that many companies just prefer to brand a reg fee name and spend their money on development.

  2. Hi Shane:

    I am not convinced that the route many of these companies are taking with regard to naming themselves is the most efficient.

    Yahoo, eBay and Amazon are easy to remember and catchy names. Even Google and Twitter have an ease to them.

    How many dozens and dozens of these startups are going to languish, as many have for over a decade because they chose a difficult name to say, spell and remember?

    I totally support your assertion that the product developmet and implementation is paramount, however, many of these businesses will have a difficult branding road ahead of them. Twazzup or Twassup or Branchr or Brancher or Branchur need to realize the difficulty in branding a bunch of letters thrown together.

    Just my opinion.

  3. Very interesting, and true observation. As has been mentioned in many articles, Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Stumbleupon etc could all use names from my portfolio, yet they are successful; go figure!

  4. Interesting List.’s’s Not a single .net or .org.
    Speaks to the value and strength of .com, when they would rather use a hacked up .com over a decent .net. I love the names amplify and Obviously Lunch and Hunch are great. MyLikes nice as well. The worst are lijit, xobni and as you said fabulis, wtf is that. Really, how much could or .me cost? Those r marketing knitemarez.

  5. Hi Shane, I got a plant domain name today and thought of you don’t approve this post just figured I would mention I have it available in my store… cheap for you since its what you do.

  6. What I don’t get is when a company calls themselves one thing but have a different url.
    But we’re looking at companies who did make it despite lousy domain names. Another way to wonder about this is how much better off a company is when they start out with a great domain. Instant credibility! VCs like it. The domain itself can be an asset. Case in point:

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