Here at the Limulus Systems headquarters we are once again working on product names, and once again having some difficulties. Readers with a good memory will remember that we went through this process when we were considering a digital scrapbooking application. We’re back at it for our social media aggregator and it’s no easier this time.
As discussed previously, names are important. They are the means by which customers come to know and trust your product. They should be memorable, easy to say, unique, and ideally meaningful to your product. For our purposes, the name also has to be available on the web, and that’s where it gets tricky. Try finding a name that hasn’t been taken in the dot.com world! It isn’t easy.
Our working name has been Magpie. I like that one – magpies go around and pick up shiny little objects to fill their nests, collecting things they like on a whim, like our users might do with their photos in the application. It’s a good word, easy to say, relatively meaningful, and lends itself to a nice logo. However, it recently came to light that Magpie may not be the best name. I knew that magpie.com was not available, taken by a blogger who had a note at the bottom of his web page stating “This domain is NOT for sale!” OK, I could live with that, because you could still use combination names like magpiesomething.com. How about magpiesoftware.com? Nope, taken by a software consulting company. Magpiesocial.com? Not that one either, used by a company that manages social media for businesses. Not only that, but various misspellings of the name are also taken. What to do? The bigger problem is that not only are the domain names taken, but I might run afoul of these other companies by using a similar name. Even though our name refers to a product, and theirs is a company name, it still could be confusing for customers.
LIke everything else, the process would be easier if we had more money, since in some cases, it might be possible to buy existing domain names. Researching other names, I would occasionally find that a name was taken, but not being actively used on the web. Were they bought up by cyber-squatters hoping for a windfall? Possibly. Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of extra money lying around for domain names, so we need something novel. At this point, a made-up or nonsense name would probably work best, if we could come up with something. It worked for Google and Facebook, why shouldn’t it work for us?