For so many businesses, getting a good domain name is what will determine the name of their entire business.
Seeing as I’ve bought hundreds, and probably on the way to thousands, of domains over almost 20 years I thought I would codify the process for you.
Earlier this year I consulted with the team at Weavr.Space about their name, before it was chosen - a Virtual Reality social platform launching this week.
As such, I look at sources that include the following:
- Search (stats from Google Adwords
- Search Trends (from Google Trends)
- Social (from Talkwalker)
- Synonyms and ‘Words with…’ (using a Thesaurus and other tools)
- Scouting (for availability)
Let’s get started from the top...
Search: How many people are searching for ‘that thing’?
If I know there are people already looking for ‘a thing’ then it gives me an indication there is an existing online audience. To check it out, head over to the Google Keyword Planner.
As it stands today, for global searches...
Virtual Reality has 550,000 (for that term alone)
Augmented Reality has 135,000
Mixed Reality has 6,600 (up from 5,400 last month)
Merged Reality has 320
What does this say? Well, clearly VR and AR have dominant positions.
Next I visit Google Trends to see if a term ‘on the rise’ in terms of general usage.
Starting at the bottom of the last list:
There was an initial spike in August, you can see the drop back, but climbing a little since then.
The spike was probably due to this:
But we can safely remove it as a term from further exploration now as it is ‘not really happening’.
And then we compare it to Mixed Reality, the second from bottom on the Search list, which looks promising and is certainly getting some attention, probably in good part due to Robert Scoble and the UploadVR crew!
Until we look at it all in the context of Augmented Reality...
And then Virtual Reality...
Of course, this is going to come down to your product/service.
As this client was looking at Augmented and Virtual Reality, it was appropriate to cross over the realms to find a name.
Next, it would be prudent to verify interest and activity on Social Media.
You can do this with a simple hashtag search, but you will need tools to dig into volumes across all channels.
This is where my work with Talkwalker (our social tool of choice) comes in…
As you can see here, #VR is dominating the volume of conversations over the past 30 days, not #VirtualReality - i.e. people know what ‘VR’ is now.
Click in and I find the following:
This shows the volumes of results and related terms - all reaffirming that the word/phrase is ‘the one’ for an industry and that I am not about to name something that has invested meaning from a different vertical i.e. people could be using it in a totally different way (they are not here).
Synonyms and ‘Words with…’
First I want to understand what words are ‘like’ the ones I am choosing as it may give me something to play with:
This may well ‘loosen you up’, and give you some inspiration.
Also, for this case, Weavr is all about Storytelling, so we spent some time looking at the synonyms around that area too.
From there, head over to: https://www.morewords.com/
If you are considering truncating a word which ends in VER to VR, then this will give you a list of natural options.
e.g. take a look at what ends in something of interest e.g. ends-with/ver/
Oculus also talked in terms of Augmented Virtual Reality, WeAVR, which seemed fortuitous.
Once you can see the lay of the land, it is a case of playing with names until you come up with one that fits the overall story for that business or product.
One question you will inevitably ask though is this...
“Do you need to have the dot.com?”
If the outcome is to have the .com then the fact is, so many of the best names have gone.
In fact, even more than that…
There are patterns of names, clusters of memes that are gone.
Take the example of:
We [Something] You.com
That pattern will be replicated time and time again.
You may well find in your niche there are still names available as a .com, and other times you will find people are willing to ‘sell if the price is right’.
For Weavr, the team went with Weavr.space as it allows room to grow.
.Biz rejects consumer
.Club rejects business
I use Godaddy.com to buy and manage my domains.
Hopefully this process will give you some insight into how you can ‘hop on a trend’ when naming a business, and know in this case VR is definitely that trend. Between VR, Machine Learning (AI) and Augmented Reality if people are going for funding it is still a winner to be explicit.
Later on, or if you have confidence in brand strength and reach you may look back and feel you were lazy (Chris Milk moved from VRSE to ‘Within’, but seeing as everyone follows what he does, he can where others couldn’t) - but right now, VR is hot and the names are going fast.