The Name Game

24 04 2011

One of the biggest challenges any budding entrepreneur has these days is finding a suitable name for the enterprise. But as I tell my students, friends and clients, it is never as easy as just dreaming up an interesting collection of letters and words. The domain name (or a reasonable variant) must also be available for purchase. And that’s where a creative brainstorming session can turn into brainfreezing nightmare.

Because just about all of the good ones have already been taken.

For years I have urged folks to start their naming parties by first opening up GoDaddy, NetworkSolutions or any of the other vendors of domain names. Every new idea must be vetted there first, because a dead-end there is a kiss of death. Never mind that most vendors also provide suggestions in case your coveted dotcom is already taken (which it probably is). You know…things like a .info ending, or a “my” prefix.” But even these tend to have been gobbled up by other companies or squatters hoping to sell the name to you for a king’s ransom.

But now there is Panabee, of the best online tools for finding domain names.

While no domain name search engine is perfect, Panabee comes the closest. It not only offers the usual mixed greens of alternate TLDs (e.g., .org, .biz, etc.) and predictable prefixes, it also tosses in alternate spellings (dropped last vowel, added vowels and consonants, trendy prefixes and suffixes, and the oh-so-cool 2-letter extensions from other countries (like the ever-popular .me extension from Montenegro).

At minimum, it gives start-ups a chance. At most, it gives you something on which to hang your hat. And fortunes.

In this era of Instagr.am (that’s the Armenian country code), Flickr (you can keep that last vowel), bit.ly (Libya…no kidding), and Plnnr.com (we don’t need to stinking vowels!), Panabee offers a glimmer of hope for 2nd-generation start-ups. Heck, it’s really not that much different from trying to say something in 6 letters for a vanity license plate.

The Gold Rush was over a decade ago for traditionally-spelled words and phrases, so it has required us all to think far outside the bounds of grammar school spelling. My 3rd-grade teacher would probably cringe, but that’s the domain in which we live. Bank those vowels and spend ’em later.

Dr “GtOvr.It” Gerlich


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