Coming up with a name for your startup can be a traumatizing experience, especially given the current domain shortage. So to help you out, here is a short guide to some the most common naming strategies.
Just try to think up of any made-up combination of letters that still remain more or less intelligible. Having a one-year-old nearby might help.
- The domain name will be available.
- You might end up picking something like Wesabe.
NOTE: some people might use the Eskimo defense to justify their bad name choice. As in: “But Waloobaloo does mean something! It’s “geolocalized social network” in Eskimo!”. This is not a valid point unless the target market happens to be the North Pole.
Siamese Twins Names
Pick two unrelated concepts and mash them together.
- Easy to come up with, makes you sound like a rock band.
- People will forever ask you what it means.
Include a witty pun inside your name.
- Cute and memorable.
- You better make sure the pun is intentional.
You know, that thing your product does? Congratulations, you just found a name.
Example: Visual Website Optimizer
- Good for SEO, plus you never have to explain what you do.
- Might get a little long, and a little boring.
Trendy suffix name
Pick a word that’s vaguely related to what you do, and then at the trendy suffix du jour to it.
- You’ll be the hottest startup of 2010.
- You’d better hurry.
Just use your last name.
- Good for people who lack imagination.
- Doesn’t work if your name is too common, too long, or too foreign.
Random word name
Pick some random word out of the dictionnary.
- After you dominate your entire industry and crush all competitors, people might stop saying your name is dumb.
- You might get into a lot of lawsuits with record labels, fruits, or rivers.
Specific word name
Pick a specific word that actually has something to do with your product.
- Easy to remember, easy to spell, means something.
- The domain name won’t be available, so you’ll have to add some hard-to-remember suffix.
Add “Microsoft” or “Windows” before some common word, and a version number after.
- People might think you’re affiliated with Microsoft.
- See pros.
Sometimes it just happens. The clouds part, a bright light shines down on you, angels start singing, and what they’re singing is the perfect name for your product.
- It’s perfect.
- Somebody else will probably come up with it instead of you.
There you have it. With this advice, you have no excuse for not coming up with a good name for your next project. As long as you remember that your name should be short, memorable, have an available domain, roll of the tongue, and not mean something offensive in chinese, you’ll be just fine.