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06|26|2007 10:52 pm EDT

MarketWatch on branding and generic Domains

by Frank Michlick in Categories: Domain Aftermarket

Scott Austin writes about Domain Names in his Commentary on Market Watch (from DowJones VentureWire): What’s in a Domain Name? Commentary: Web start-ups scraping bottom of brand barrel.

Scott writes about Web 2.0 start-ups and their domain names:

Internet start-ups seem to be having as much trouble acquiring names as they do venture financing.

Nowadays, these start-ups are built on the cheap, employing shoestring budgets by leasing inexpensive computer servers and using low-cost software. The last thing they want to spend big money on is a name. A Web identity is imperative, but these firms don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to hire a naming specialist, to say nothing of the cost of acquiring a cybersquatted domain.

Unfortunately Scott is making the common mistake that any commercial domain registrant automatically is a cybersquatter. Too bad. Here are some of his examples for bad company names:

  • TapTap (a hot-or-not type site)
  • Wesabe (personal-finance site)

The fact is, many Internet start-ups have viable technology but lack a good name. They have to settle for their 100th choice.

A quick look in VentureSource, a venture-capital database owned by Dow Jones & Co. unit VentureOne, shows 95 venture-backed Internet companies created since the start of last year. About half of those companies used made-up words as their names.

So what names does Scott consider good names worth spending the extra money on, good generics!

That makes all the more interesting last week’s news about two reincarnated Web sites, HealthCare.com and Education.com. The companies formed around a domain name and secured venture capital, a rare instance these days. HealthCare.com announced Tuesday at the Dow Jones Healthcare Innovations Conference that it had raised $6.1 million in venture money to develop a Web platform for health information. Last year its founders purchased the valuable domain name, which had bounced around but never really been capitalized on.

On Thursday, Education.com launched a one-stop online shop for education resources after starting with just a name: Bay Area venture-capital firms Azure Capital Partners and TeleSoft Partners acquired Knowledge Adventure from Vivendi Universal in 2004. Along with the education-software company came a roster of domain names in the education category — including Education.com.

Generic domains, especially those with existing type-in traffic and a high descriptive component are an amazing starting point for branding, especially since you do not have to start from scratch.

[Thanks Dan]

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6 Comments

Snoopy

June 27, 2007 @ 12:37 am EDT

Healthcare.com is a site being run by a well known domainer, Matias de Tezanos (was one of the two who sold a bunch of names to Marchex recently)

http://www.healthcare.com/about-us/executive-team.php

Thanks for pointing this out, Snoopy. It’s great to see domainers stay on board when taking their domains/business to the next level.

/Frank

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