Tech Startup Brands: What’s Hot and What’s Not

“We now live in a world where one-word domains with massively broad use cases and brandable one and two-word domain names have won [the race against product-related domains]. – Morgan Linton, July 2018

In a prior post I talked about 349 recent sales from three brandable marketplaces. I assessed them as a group and analyzed them in terms of length, style and keywords. This week I’m looking for trends in the brand names of 200 tech startups that were recently covered in news reports on TechCrunch.

Let’s see what we can discern from the trends, tendencies and nuances of this random list of 200 names.

Traditional or creative?

For this analysis I again looked at the brand names in three categories: invented (Klaxoon), keyword (OpenPhone) and hybrid (Riskified). I divided the list into brands that did not contain or resemble any dictionary words (invented), brands that consisted exclusively of correctly spelled dictionary words (keyword) and all the rest (hybrid).

The totals were: Invented (18%), Keyword (47%) and Hybrid (35%).

What’s your size?

When I looked at the list from the perspective of domain length, the breakdown went like this:

4 Letters = 6%
5 Letters = 19%
6 Letters = 14%
7 Letters = 16%
8 Letters = 20%
9 Letters = 15%
10 Letters = 7%
11 Letters = 7%
12+ Letters = 6%

No surprises there.

What’s trending?

When I evaluated the content of the hybrid and keyword based domains I noticed there was an absence of popular keywords like chain, cube, cyber, buzz, buy, card, chimp, click, care, data, digital, fit, fuel, local, media, mobile, net, ninja, sale, sell, stat, stack, swipe, style, tap, travel, talk, and wire.

This could easily be due to the small sample size so don’t give too much weight to that observation 🙂

Some keywords that did appear in the list and that came up more than once included Coin and Open, which appeared 4 times each, Bot/Botics, Safe, Team, Vision and Zen which appeared three times each and Air, Code, Hub, Lab/Labs, Space, Up and Work which each appeared twice.

Beyond compare

When I looked at the stats from my prior blog entry “What’s Selling at the Brandable Marketplaces?” I notice many similarities between the two analysis.

The percentage of brands/names for each length (number of letters) are very similar. The style of names are somewhat similar but the startup list favored keyword names over invented names by more than two to one.

Lastly, there was a big discrepancy in the popularity of keywords as almost no keywords appeared on both lists. Go figure.

Here’s a complete list of the 200 brands and the corresponding analysis. You can take a look and make your own conclusions. Keep in mind that quite a few of the startups do not own the exact match domain, dot-com for their brand. Examples include KeepSafe, ModernHealth, OpenPhone etc. So that could also account for differences in the lists ie a wish list brand versus a real life purchase of a domain name.

Till next time… May all your sales be to endusers

13 thoughts on “Tech Startup Brands: What’s Hot and What’s Not”

  1. Great work Keith!

    I note the word “zen” is coming up and this subject is full of zen.

    Brandables – are non descriptives
    Descriptives – are non brandables

    Therefore, one defines the other.

    They exist in the same space, and are part of the “one”. You simply cannot have one without the other.

    For domainers, descriptives are much maligned of late. However, they have the advantage that it is likely a someone will guess it – and possibly buy it, if the price is right.

    Now are probably entering into the realm of small business here, but for many of us, that’s perfectly fine.

    Speaking of small business, not sure why the brandable marketplaces aim for startups but charge small business prices!

  2. There is no “winning the race”. Domain trends gradually change over time and it is entirely unpredictable until after the fact.

  3. Morgan Linton wrote an article about the rising popularity of brandables and the lessening in popularity of product related domains. In the [brackets] sectinof his quote, I characterized it as a race because Morgan said “won.” But he might have used other words. You can click on his name at the top of this page to see his article. It’s a good read.

    In any case thanks to everyone for their comments and appreciation.

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