The Brandable Insider: Creating a List of Strong, Brandable Keywords

Several people have messaged me asking where they can find a list of strong, trendy, brandable keywords. The answer is everywhere and nowhere. No such list exists, that I know of, except in the toolbox of successful brandable domainers. It’s a list that’s subjective and evolves over time. It’s a list that no two domainers will agree on. It’s a list that comes from analysis, observation and experience. It’s the summation of hours spent at sites like NameBio, TechCrunch, DomainSherpa, AngelList, CrunchBase, BrandBucket, Startups-list and BrandRoot. Looking, analyzing, evaluating and deciding the relative value of each word. After a while it becomes intuitive. But in the beginning you need a written list.

For those that don’t have such a list, I’ll get you started. The way I’m going to do that is by showing you sample brands for existing startups in some of the most relevant technology niches of today. Not every keyword listed is a tier one brandable word. But most of them are. So get out your keyboard and create and refine your keyword list!

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The Brandable Insider: Failing at Domain Auctions

Success often starts with failure and I have failed many times this year. Some of my failures have been in auctions. There are many times I’ve bid and lost. Most of the time, that’s a good thing. It demonstrates my ability to limit my bidding and not go past my limit. Or as Mike Mann says: “If you beat me in the domain auction, congrats, you paid too much.” Well I’m not as cocky as Mike Mann but I do think disciplined limits when bidding is a good thing. Whether the person that outbid you “paid too much” or not is debatable. That depends on, if and when, and for how much they sell it.

On the other hand we’ve all had the experience of getting into a bidding war and letting our emotions run away with us. In those situations we go past our price limit and end up paying more than we thought the domain was worth. I’ve also had the experience where, in hindsight, I was too cheap and failed to step up and pay the price the domain was worth.

In looking back at recent auctions I see all of these scenarios at work.
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Brandable Insider: Startup Trends and Industries for 2017

Like it or not brandable domaining is trendy. So what kinds of domains should we be buying and selling this year? What are the trends? According to CIO (Chief Information Officer) dot-com there are several industries that will be dominating the tech landscape in 2017 and beyond. They include everything from virtual reality to recreational marijuana. I’m listing them here along with a description, examples of existing companies and some relevant brands already listed at the BrandBucket platform. This may give some ideas about where we should focus our attention in the coming months and years.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) means making computers behave like humans. Plain and simple. The term was coined in 1956 by John McCarthy at MIT.

* Existing Startups

    – WayBlazer, UnderArmour and Revuze.

* Sample Names from BrandBucket

    – Intellivus, HighIQ, Thinkgenic and IntelNation.

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The Brandable Insider: The Keywords of Y Combinator Startups

When selecting brandable domains for purchase and resale it’s important to know our target market. One technique is to buy names similar to the ones listed at our favorite brandable marketplace. This is a good initial strategy but in order to take our skills to the next level we need to stay in tune with the startup industry’s values and trends.

Last month James Iles wrote a great article analyzing the 1100 domain names of past and present members of the start-up accelerator, Y Combinator (YC). He wrote about the dominance of the dot-com extension, the tendency for short brands and the popularity of individual letters. It’s an enjoyable read and I downloaded the file of 1100 domains using the link at the bottom of the article.

For the purpose of further analysis and discussion I compiled the most popular keywords used by YC companies at the start of their domain name. I divided these keywords into three categories based on my personal assessment of each one’s value.
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The Brandable Insider: 10 hot healthcare startups with great brandable names

“had accident. fell of bike. broke both arms. sorry no blog this week.” That was the message that popped up on Skype when I opened my laptop on Sunday morning. It was from Keith deBoer who is the guy behind the popular Brandable Insider posts here on DNgeek.com. Every Monday I look forward to reading his thoughts and advice on brandable domains while he touches on a broad range of subjects. Keith and I share pretty similar views on what makes a good brandable domain but have quite a different investment strategy which is what makes his posts such a great addition to the blog. He’s also one of the people in our niche who’s always willing to answer questions and give advice. Keith, I wish you a speedy recovery and hope to see you back soon!

Since health tech is blazing hot right now and Keith has a strong focus on acquiring names for this space I thought It would be fitting to look at ten, high-flying startups in the healthcare industry that have a great brandable name with a matching .com domain. The healthcare landscape is rapidly changing and many new technologies are expected to have far-reaching implications in terms of diagnostics, treatments and delivery of care in the future. (more…)

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The Brandable Insider: How to Recognize a Good Invented Domain Name

Invented domains are an alternative to brand names based on keywords. You won’t find them in the dictionary but the good ones are easy to pronounce when you read them and easy to spell when you hear them in a conversation.

They are also short. The average invented company name is five or six letters long. Some are shorter. A few are longer. But very rarely are the good ones more than seven or eight letters.

Now I’ll add a fourth quality to that list of attributes. They feel familiar. The best invented names feel like they are a real word or should be one. For this reason successful startups often select names that contain elements of existing dictionary words, slang terms or common phrases.

You’ll see what I mean when you look at the invented names of these 2016 unicorn companies with matching dot-com domain names:
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Name Ninja says “79% of startups may be using a “risky” domain name”.

I just received an email from domain name buyer broker Bill Sweetman about the technology and startup conference Collision that takes place in Vegas next week. Bill his company, domain name consultancy Name Ninja has analyzed the domain names of 491 startups attending the upcoming startup conference and has published the infographic below that summarizes the results of its analysis. I personally am a strong advocate for short, easy to remember and pronounce names and agree with most of the companies findings but Name Ninja’s view that anything else besides the exact match .com is considered less favorable is slightly controversial as we see a large number of companies without the exact match .com or alternative extensions such as .co or .io raise significant rounds of funding and/or being acquired these days.

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Most popular domain extensions for startups in Q1 2015

When I first started covering newly funded startups and their domain names I didn’t expect the weekly report to become so popular within such a short time.  I really enjoy doing these reports but as its quite time consuming to research, write and publish them it’s been very nice to hear from domain name investors, startups and even TLD registries that they are finding the reports useful and return for them each week.  Since we’re already a quarter into 2015 I wanted to get an overview of the current domain name trends among funded startups so far this year.  Is .Com still king? Is .Net really out of fashion these days? Is .IO really that hot and is .Co still cool?

Let’s find out 🙂 (more…)

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Newly funded startups and their (domain) names – week 11.

It was a big week for newly funded startups as this weeks list includes 56 companies and a combined total of a whopping 1.1 billion dollars raised in both seed and angel funding. Almost 84% of startups launched on with a .com domain, once again underlining the dominance of the 30 years old king of TLDs.  A startup that caught my eye this week is Do, a meeting productive application that launched on the ultra premium 2 letter domain Do.com.  According to Domain Name Wire, the Do.com domain name was previously owned by Microsoft and Salesforce.com before being sold to the current owner.  With a gigantic seed round of $10,400,000, doctor house calls mobile app Pager is this weeks fundraising leader. They own the matching pager.com domain name. Runner up is mySugr, a company that raised 4.8 million to help them make diabetes suck less by providing a range of apps and web services to educate and help children and parents deal with diabetes.

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Newly funded startups and their (domain) names – week 10.

We’re back with our weekly report about newly funded startups and the domain names they choose to launch on. This week we saw 29 startups raise a combined 28+ million dollars in Seed and Angel funding which is again significantly less than two weeks ago when we did our last report.  More than 75% of startups launched on a .com domain name with the remaining companies using a mixture of .co, .me, .io, a ccTLD and even a .net.  Man Crates, a service that lets users ship sealed crates filled with themed collections of gifts for men leads this week’s chart with $3,100,000 in seed funding, uses the matching .com and so does runner up, India based e-commerce startup Customfurnish.com who raised $2,500,000 in Seed money.   (more…)

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