Business Names Trending Back to Conventional
For several years, perhaps even decades startups went through a phase of very creative and even odd naming methods. Misspelled and made up words were the naming norm, many of which are now household brands. Several of these words are even used in everyday conversation by millions of people - for example if someone asks for a Kleenex, you know they mean facial tissue and chances are they won’t be holding out only for a Kleenex brand tissue if they need one. And of course, now there is Google - tens of millions of people daily tell someone they will “Google it” which is understood as looking something up online...but they most likely will actually be using Google for their search.
However, over the last couple of years, studies have shown that startup and business naming is reverting back to a more conventional style. As pointed out in the Crunchbase article Startup Names Are Getting Less Silly by Joanna Glasner, recently funded startups are more often naming their brands after better recognized words. Crunchbase is a great source of data for startup information so they certainly have a good insight on naming trends as well. As pointed out in the article, words that are straightforward or evocative seem to be the most popular types of new brands being launched. Straightforward names are popular because they describe the service or desired outcome of what you should expect from that brand. Evocative words do what they sound like they do - evoke an emotion or feeling.
It should be pointed out that in Joanna’s article she mentions that these more simple monikers are becoming popular again because “...startups are less concerned about getting a dot-com domain with their exact brand name”. This may be partially true as many startups are more focused on growing their product or service from the outset and will settle for their name in .io, .co, .net or a .com with a keyword in front of or behind the brand name. It should be noted that we are also seeing rapid acceleration of straightforward and evocative one word .coms being purchased and branded on as well. In many cases, once companies reach a certain point they realize they had better rebrand or upgrade to a premium .com if they are to become the company their shareholders want them to be. One example of this is a domain we recently brokered the sale of, Prove.com which was a big rebrand from a company operating on a more creative misspelling; Payfone.com. Click here to read about just a handful of the many .com domain upgrades we’ve observed already this year.
It is interesting to see the trend start to sway back towards conventional monikers for startups and businesses. Overall, they do make for more intuitive brands and as a general rule of thumb for domain names - shorter is better. However, I’m sure we will continue to see a lot of funny sounding names coming out of the woodwork as well. It’s only natural that as more and more words get branded on that people will have to come up with creative alternatives. Some will stick and rise up to become part of our lexicon, but it will take a lot more marketing dollars to make that happen than it would to acquire a premium one word .com, build on it and almost instantly have a brand with mindshare the masses recognize.