By most accounts the internet is home to around 650 million websites, of which around 200 million are active. About 8,000 new websites go live every hour of every day.
These are big numbers and the continued phenomenal growth means that it’s increasingly difficult to find a unique and unused domain name (think website). So, web entrepreneurs are getting creative with website and company names, with varying degrees of success.
From Wall Street Journal:
The New York cousins who started a digital sing-along storybook business have settled on the name Mibblio.
The Australian founder of a startup connecting big companies to big-data scientists has dubbed his service Kaggle.
The former toy executive behind a two-year-old mobile screen-sharing platform is going with the name Shodogg.
And the Missourian who founded a website giving customers access to local merchants and service providers? He thinks it should be called Zaarly.
Quirky names for startups first surfaced about 20 years ago in Silicon Valley, with the birth of search engines such as Yahoo, which stands for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” and Google, a misspelling of googol,? the almost unfathomably high number represented by a 1 followed by 100 zeroes.
By the early 2000s, the trend had spread to startups outside the Valley, including the Vancouver-based photo-sharing site Flickr and New York-based blogging platform Tumblr, to name just two.
The current crop of startups boasts even wackier spellings. The reason, they say, is that practically every new business—be it a popsicle maker or a furniture retailer—needs its own website. With about 252 million domain names currently registered across the Internet, the short, recognizable dot-com Web addresses, or URLs, have long been taken.
The only practical solution, some entrepreneurs say, is to invent words, like Mibblio, Kaggle, Shodogg and Zaarly, to avoid paying as much as $2 million for a concise, no-nonsense dot-com URL.
The rights to Investing.com, for example, sold for about $2.5 million last year.
Choosing a name that’s a made-up word also helps entrepreneurs steer clear of trademark entanglements.
The challenge is to come up with something that conveys meaning, is memorable,?and isn’t just alphabet soup. Most founders don’t have the budget to hire naming advisers.
Founders tend to favor short names of five to seven letters, because they worry that potential customers might forget longer ones, according to Steve Manning, founder of Igor, a name-consulting company.
Linguistically speaking, there are only a few methods of forming new words. They include misspelling, compounding, blending and scrambling.
At Mibblio, the naming process was “the length of a human gestation period,” says the company’s 28-year-old co-founder David Leiberman, “but only more painful,” adds fellow co-founder Sammy Rubin, 35.
The two men made several trips back to the drawing board; early contenders included Babethoven, Yipsqueak and Canarytales, but none was a perfect fit. One they both loved, Squeakbox, was taken.
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