Is the Web Ready for Your Startup’s Name?

Cezary Pietrzak | Mashable

At this point, you’re on the final leg of naming your startup. You have a very large spreadsheet of root words and permutations as well as a shortlist of names that you like. Before you make a final decision, though, you should stress-test each name using the criteria below to ensure it holds up. There are always little problems that you don’t foresee, so these steps will help you understand the risks of choosing a particular name. Here are some suggestions:

    • Check availability and price. First, see if the names are available using a tool like Instant Domain Search. Assuming it’s not, compile a list of prices to get a better understanding of the spread between the different options. Prices for some premium domains will be readily available (and almost always negotiable), while for others you may have to inquire directly by emailing the individual listed in the WHOIS database.
    • Say it out loud. Something may look good on paper, but sound very different when you actually say it. Repeat each name a few times and see how you feel about it — you’ll be surprised how quickly your attitude toward a particular name may change.
    • Survey your friends. Get a sanity check from your friends. You can create a poll on Facebook or a more formal survey using a tool like FluidSurveys. Make sure to ask people why they like or dislike a certain name, as this will provide you with more insight than a simple yes/no answer.

SEE ALSO: 16 Tips for Picking the Perfect Startup Name

  • Ask users for feedback. Ask your beta users or someone from your target demographic which names they like most. Remember, names have different connotations to different people, so listen to the feedback of people who will actually be using your product — even if you don’t like their suggestions.
  • Do a Google search. Search the name on Google to see what types of sites show up in first page results. These will be the sites that you’ll compete with for SEO, so avoid names that belong to established businesses, as this may hurt your discoverability.
  • Do a trademark search. Do a search on the USPTO website to see if anyone has trademarked your name. Smaller companies from different industries shouldn’t be a concern, but a if a large tech company already owns the name, your best bet is to bite the bullet and stay away from a lawsuit.

No name will be ever be without risk, but covering most of these points and understanding what you’re getting into will put you in a much better position — especially when justifying your purchase to investors.

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