Archive for the ‘Geekout’ category

Domain Names

May 5, 2008

Originally I thought I would keep the posts on this blog a little more personal, and start a new blog for my geeky tech ramblings. However, I’m too lazy to start a new blog, so for now I’m going with the mashup approach.

Geek post #1 is all about registering a domain name, the bane of my existance the past week.

My buddy and I have decided to try our luck at building a public consumer website.  I’m pretty stoked about the new idea and I think the development will be a lot of fun. However, we both got fairly pissed off when it came to registering a domain name for the new site. I remember back in university I had a friend who bought a couple domain names and squatted on them hoping somebody would pay big bucks to snap them up. This was back in 2000 when things were crazy and domain squatting was all the rage. I thought those days had ended, but it seems I was wrong. In my search for a domain name I came across a huge number of squatters. Compared to 2000, there’s also a lot more legite domains out there. Everybody and their dog has a domain name now, which makes it extremely hard to find a free piece of virtual land to setup shop.

Some things I learned, or reconfirmed:

  • All single word domain names are taken.
  • Most syllables that end in a top level domain name are taken (ie: something like del.icio.us). This surprised me, but I guess that idea got popular rather quickly.
  • Most foreign words that are easy for English speaker so say are taken. I tried a bunch of Japanese words and had no luck.
  • You can’t register an Italian domain name (.it) without being a citizen or operate a business from Italy.

Eventually I couldn’t think of anymore domain names to try, so I started getting help. Ariane helped out a lot, both with new ideas, and letting me know which domain names sucked 😉 Parveen gave the great suggestion of picking your favourite adjective and noun and combining them to get your domain name.

I tried out several tools to aid my search. The first was a scrabble word finder that allowed me to search for words containing specific word fragments. The second was a site that listed out a bunch of Japanese words. Lots of Japanese words roll off the tounge nicely and are easy to spell. Unfortunately all the good ones are taken! The last tool, and the one that came up with the winning domain name was Nameboy. It is specifically designed to help you come up with available domain names. Not only do the search results tell you if the domain is taken, but you can enter multiple words and it will list off a whole wack load of possible combinations.

During one of the many times the search pissed me off and I was on the verge of giving up, I stumbed upon this blog post. The author was in Japan and noticed that ad billboards were no longer advertising a company’s domain name, but rather suggesting keywords that can be plugged into google to find the company’s website. As it’s very difficult to get a good domain name, period, let alone one that fits nicely with your company’s product/service. I thought this was a cool workaround. Get any domain name and make sure it shows up at the top of a google search for your company name or specific keywords. Obviously this is risky, and easier said than done. However, not only does it remove the importance of your domain name, but it also forces you to concentrate on your search engine ranking, which I think is of extreme importance. If you’re not showing up at the top of a search for your company name, then you have a lot more problems than your crappy domain name!

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