Session Name: The Name Game: Discover Unique Naming Strategies and Hacks
Number of years in the domain industry: 22 years — First ten years as a web developer, and the next 12+ purely working the domain side.
Favourite extension: No favourite. I am agnostic when it comes to TLDs. Each has a scenario that makes them an important consideration for branding or usage.
Now watching: MARS
Your mentor: Monte Cahn
Describe your company and how long you have been there?
Name Your Startup is a creation of my partner Cate Colgan and myself. We launched this company in August 2016. Our purpose is to help startup businesses choosing wisely when selecting a domain name for branding. We provide consultation and buyer brokerage services.
Can you tell us about how your service or product helps deliver value to your customers.
Launching a new business is difficult, even if it is an online company. Most startups will fold in the first year of operation. Name Your Startup can help increase the probability of success by influencing or helping these startups acquire the best domain name for branding their new business. We consider their business goal, the competitive landscape, their marketing budget, and in-house marketing expertise before advising them on a particular direction. If they need assistance acquiring a domain — new or currently owned — we manage the entire process, so their team can stay focused on other critical success factors necessary for their business.
What are your thoughts on the new TLDs?
1. New TLDs are more descriptive and give some advantage in search engines when the user’s search term matches the TLD. That is a big plus, especially for startups.
2. New TLDs are lesser known, and thus there is some user aversion to clicking on links using them. That concern will fade away over time and with more usage.
3. Biggest concern for startups branding on the new TLDs is that some companies will box-in their brand with too narrow of a descriptive TLD.
What kinds of changes do you foresee within the industry in the next year? 5 years?
1. We will see remarkable growth in intelligent voice-controlled devices with internet access. Domains that are easy to remember and that pass the radio test will be the strongest performers in this changing world.
2. Our reliance on search engines will also grow, as they provide the logical bridging between voice-controlled systems and the websites that they will interface.
What's something most people don't know about you?
I am an avid basketball player — I play ball about 7 hours per week. I am a good shooter and ball handler, and I am sneaky fast for my age. I had considered joining a men's league for people my age, but I prefer playing against younger competitors just to watch their jaw drop when I smoke them on the court.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I operated one of the first website development companies back in the mid 1990s. I registered domains for my business and my clients, but the registrations were for development or brand protections. In 2004 I joined Moniker and worked for Monte Cahn, which opened my eyes to a whole new way of looking at domain names.
What advice can you offer those who are just getting their start in the domain industry?
1. Play it safe. Focus on acquiring domains with keywords that have demand now and for the foreseeable future.
2. Don't be afraid of the new TLDs. Understand that the new TLDs are more descriptive and that can help a website using the domain to get ranked higher in search engine results. However, don't choose TLDs that might be too narrowly defined, as that will limit "field of play" for the business using the domain for branding.
3. Only acquire domains that are easy to spell, remember, and pass the radio test.
4. If you invest in future domains, be careful. Do your homework and don't go overboard with spending. Technology domains do not often produce big payoffs as the companies in those industries will try to brand away from the generic keyword domains.
How does your career compare to what you envisioned in your youth?
I am not an astronaut, but I do work in a space (cyberspace) of sorts. As a kid, I wanted to do a lot of different things once I grew up. In my professional career, I have been a technician, engineer, salesman, manager, and business owner. Each of those roles had me working with people from every imaginable industry, so I feel that my childhood dreams somewhat came true.
Where is your favourite place to escape?
I grew up on a mountain, so that would be my go to place when I needed time alone. I now live in Florida and we do not have any mountains, so I instead get away to the Everglades to get in touch with nature and reconnect with my inner-self.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
My Mom advised me to "put myself in the other person's shoes." I think she gave me that advice to help minimize conflict with my siblings, but the advice stuck in my head and is now a part of the fabric of my soul. On a personal level, that advice has helped me manage conflict with others and on a professional level it has helped with sales, service, or whatever I do.
What object would you put in a time capsule that best represents who you are today?
I would insert my personal journal, as it reflects me as I see myself.
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