Session Name: How to Crowdsource Your Next Domain Name
Location: Chicago, IL
Favourite extension: .com
Currently reading: Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Currently watching: La Casa De Papel on Netflix
Describe your company and how long you have been there.
Squadhelp is a crowdsourcing platform that uses a unique combination of creativity, gamification and machine learning to help companies find great names for their business.
It all started in 2011 when I was looking to come up with a name for another venture I was planning to launch. All name ideas that I could come up with were either horrible or already taken. This is when I decided to launch Squadhelp as an experiment of crowdsourcing. It was never meant to be a real business - it was meant to be more of a resource for other entrepreneurs who were also struggling to come up with a good name. However over time, our platform continued to grow organically primarily based on word of mouth. As our naming community started growing and we started getting a lot of positive feedback from customers, we kept innovating and adding more features . After helping 3000 customers, I knew this was a serious opportunity and jumped in full time.
Our platform is now the largest crowdsourcing platform for naming. We have over 70,000 creatives who participate in naming contests and over 15,000 customers across the globe who have used it successfully. We not only offer crowdsourcing, but we also offer end to end validation (such as Audience Testing, Trademark Research) so that companies have all the branding tools they need to pick the best name for their business.
What can attendees look forward to during your session?
Crowdsourcing has many pitfalls. If used incorrectly, it can lead to names like "Boaty McBoatface." In this session, I will speak about how to effectively use crowdsourcing in building a great brand and finding the perfect domain name. The session will focus on crowdsourcing best practices—from a well written naming brief to "Namestorming" with the crowd to validation of ideas using tools such as Audience Testing. We will explore different naming styles, and how to find highly brandable domain names that are still available.
What can attendees do in order to prepare for your session? Are there any questions or scenarios they should consider in advance?
Think about a branding or naming project you were involved with, or a naming project you might be undertaking soon. What were some of the challenges you faced in that project? Would love to hear about those challenges and discuss how crowdsourcing might help overcome them.
What would you like attendees to learn or take away from your session?
After helping over 15,000 customers with their branding projects, we have gathered a number of best practices that can make a naming project successful. I am hoping that the attendees will be able to walk away with those best practices and apply them to their own naming projects.
Can you tell us about how your service or product helps deliver value to your customers?
Squadhelp offers comprehensive set of features and services that go beyond traditional crowdsourcing.
First of all, we have the largest community of most creative namers across the globe.
Second, we have built highly advanced quality scoring algorithms to ensure that our customers get a much higher proportion of high quality, relevant ideas. (Here are some examples: https://www.squadhelp.com/Name-Ideas)
Third, we offer extremely robust validation features to help you find the best name. For example, you can test your top choices with your target customers to see which names resonate the most with your customers. We also offer comprehensive Trademark analysis and Linguistics checks to ensure that you pick the best brands.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I have always loved internet focused businesses. My first job in Chicago was with an internet startup before the .com bubble. Since then, I have worked in internet or eCommerce related businesses. I got involved with the Naming industry in 2011 when I launched Squadhelp after struggling to come up with a name for my eCommerce venture.
What was one of your biggest "A-ha!" moments in life?
There is always a better way of doing things.
In my early days of entrepreneurship, I used to focus on only those business ideas or opportunities which focused on new markets. However, over time, I came to the realization that it is not always about building the next "Uber" or "Facebook". It is about picking an industry that you are passionate about and doing things in a better or different way than your competition.
In case of Naming, there are a number of agencies that offer naming services. However we decided to solve this problem in a different fashion. We decided to bring the collective creativity of the crowd to entrepreneurs who could not afford an agency. Our fundamental belief was that good ideas can come from anyone - and decided to connect companies with the most talented creatives to find great brand names. This allowed us to disrupt the agency model and make naming much more affordable.
If you had 15 extra minutes each day, what would you do with them?
I could say reading, or working but my honest answer would be getting some more sleep! Knowing that I don't have to wake up for another 15 minutes every morning would be the best gift ever!
Where is your favourite place to escape?
There's this biking trail close to our house which runs next to a river. Whenever I get some free time, I love to go there biking. Although with Chicago weather, there aren't many weekends in a year I can do that!
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Fail early. Fail often.
In entrepreneurship, there is lot of stigma about failure. I have worked with few people in my career who used to celebrate failures. I have since realized that if you want to disrupt an industry, or innovate, you should be prepared to fail. In fact, failure can teach you some very important lessons that you can apply to your next phase of journey. Just don't wait too long to fail - if you know that a venture is not working, you should accept it as early as possible, and pivot.
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