Its hard enough thinking up a clever, original and catchy company name. Its made infinitely more difficult by then having to see whether the domain name is available.
The process of coming up with my company name (which is, of course, still under wraps for now!) was an arduous and frustrating experience. I came up with so many gems that shone with brilliance and wit, only to be devastated to find that the domain name was not available. And it would have been fine if I saw some other little company had snapped it up and was doing imaginative and useful things with the domain, but my blood erupted with anger to find that 90% of the domains I wanted were parked and available for sale. When I dared to enquire what they wanted for the honour of using a domain that was lying dormant, they responded with US$10,000! Now, I am sure that would be open to negotiation, but considering my budget for the entire design, development and publicity of my whole site is close to that amount, its close to criminal to request that something that should cost US$10 should cost several orders of magnitude more. I’m all for entrepreneurship and supply/demand, but this trend which seems to be ballooning out of control is affecting the people that need the most assistance, those little people with big dreams who want to have a crack at making something fun and special online. And these sharks are holding domains up for ransom, turning a commodity into a rare jewel.
It means internet entrepreneurs – the good ones that are actually creating something of value – are having to come up with rather ridiculous words to name their business. Twango, Yugma, Stikkit,Rootly, Gpokr, Spurl, Zuula, Zypsy, MoVoxx, Boxxet etc… you see my point. Funnily enough, I don’t think this impact is necessarily a bad thing, I am quite amused by the imaginative results of these constraints – some of the best ideas come as a result of constraints – so I have nothing but praise for beleaguered entrepreneurs who come up with something new and vaguely memorable to name their businesses.
I just wonder where this will end. Eventually some pedantic domain shark will sit with a random word generator and buy up all possible combinations of letters in domain names, and then us little wannabe entrepreneurs will have to scrap our dreams of internet greatness because it will cost more to buy a domain than to hire a team of developers for two months to build the site. Who knows. I am just glad that at long last I came up with a company name whose domain name was also available (aren’t you just gagging to find out what it is now?!)