Strategies for Creating Domain Names - Brainstorming
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This is my least favorite strategy, because it has the danger of becoming selection by committee, and committees are bad. If you want to brainstorm, pick a team leader who has the final say and a list of guidelines which an acceptable name must fall into. Insist on ten names from everybody on the team; your resident introverts will stubbornly dig in and give you one or two nonetheless. Make everybody stay there until you get ten names per person, then send them home with instructions to write another set of names down with detailed reasons for those names.
Take it for granted that majority of the names noted will be taken already, so pay a visit to a names registry for the process of elimination; www.web.com is a good one. They all give you the closest alternatives if the name is already taken. Be patient with your team and allow them to have a say about even the silliest names. Once the final list is compiled, take a vote on it, or better still let the team leader pick a name. If you are in doubt or you don't have a team, you must have a mother, sister, wife, blog writer or golf buddy; ask them what they think. You can even take an online poll in some forum.
This system is good if you work with partners or if you need input from your "customer." Sometimes competitive research can be done into the key word that makes up the category you are going into, but brainstorming could help you come up with some pretty good names. Amazon.com was the result of brainstorming (Jeff Bezos would probably have stopped at abracadabra.com).
But you could get horribly generic results depending on the make up of your team. Ideally your team should be nicely diversified and have all sorts of colorful characters; it and shouldn't be filled with middle aged men whose idea of a fashion statement is a red tie. Some good names that I have come up with as a result of brainstorming include http://www.cheatcc.com/, www.myembleme.com (embleme.com was taken) and www.aery.com. Some mediocre ones include http://www.emulatormania.com/ (http://www.boingboing.com/ was taken). I hope I haven't picked a horrible name yet. Next let's look at personal experience.
I have a programmer friend who has a talent for picking great names. He, myself and another web designer have drawn from over 14 years of video game play, wannabe French and Latin (and even German), Windows shell commands, and in some cases Greek mythology to come up with off the wall and unique names. One name we drew from Age of Empires was http://www.nurabash.com/ (a Persian war lord in the video game). Others include http://www.vastavista.com/ (a vast vista) and http://www.phlameworks.com/ (corrupting flame works). Some illustrations of sites that (obviously) got their names from Windows shell commands include http://www.pingomatic.com/ (from ping).
Any thing can form the basis of a name, your favorite book (such as "avada kedavra" from Harry Potter) , favorite movie (baccarat from the original Casino Royale book), an odd Greek word (primus, pluribus), the doppelganger of one of my editors (nilpo), or even your nickname. Any personal experience can be drawn on to generate a unique name for your domain. If it's too long shorten it and add something else to the end if it can't be pronounced (like pluribus could be turned into plurior or plureme).
It isn't a coincidence that two Stanford graduate students (one of Russian origin) came up with the word google from the Greek word googol (a hundred zeros); all that computer science would have made them lovers of numbers and anything Greek.
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