Lean Domain Search shutsdown Brandable Domains and Domain Name Trends

lean domain searchSome of you that follow this blog might remember that I recommended a great domain generator called Lean Domain Search in my article “4 Awesome Tools for Finding the Perfect Domain Name.”  In the article I had mentioned that Lean Domain Search had a nice brandable domain name generator.  Technically it wasn't a generator as Matt Mazur, the creator behind Lean Domain Search, would release one of the brandable domains name every hour.  A lot of those names were very good and apparently a lot of people were registering these quality brandable domains.  As far as I can tell Matt Mazur shut it down a within the past week or two as the page is returning a 404.

This was what Matt Mazur said about shuttering the brandable domain section of Lean Domain Search in email.

The service was fairly popular but it was very time consuming to keep adding new domain names to the list. I wound up removing it to focus on the keyword-based tool which is what most folks were using anyway 🙂

The brandable domain generator for Lean Domain Search was launched in March, 2013 meaning it was a short lived offering.  I can understand that it would be difficult to release new names if people are registering the domains faster than you can can come up with new ones.  At least that is what I assume was the issue.

On May 16th, 2013 Matt wrote a great blog post about how he finds brandable domain names and the algorithm behind it.  I am glad that he wrote about it since it should help people if you searching for a good brandable domain and haven't been able to think of anything.  (In case you don't know what a brandable domain name is it would be something along the lines of Yahoo, Google, Instagram, etc.)

Matt also seems to have shuttered another one of Lean Domain Search useful offerings, Domain Name Trends.  This was a section that allowed you to research and analyze domain trends in the .COM space.  Matt used Verisign's Zone file to analyze domain name trends and what sort of interesting domains were being registered overall for the week.

domain name trendsI haven't seen an explanation of why the domain trends section was shutdown as well.  I assume it was time consuming and took a lot of work to make sure the reports were accurate and to download the .COM zone file everyday.  I can really only speculate though.

As far as I can tell there are no plans to shutdown Lean Domain Search's domain name generator.  In fact Matt did away with paid subscriptions so anyone can see a the full lists of available domains for keywords entered.  (The site used to work off a freemium model.)  This probably has brought more affiliate revenue from domain name registrars since people are more inclined to buy a domain name they really like on the spot if they see more good domains.

I will keep using Lean Domain Search as I think it is one of the best domain name generators  out there, if not the best.  It is easy-to-use, well laid out, fast and generates good domains you would actually want to use.

Impossibility.org, a Great Domain Name Generator

impossibility.org

Searching for the right and available to register domain name for your new website or online venture can be a frustrating and difficult process.  A lot of good domains are taken and to alleviate this problem a lot of domain name generator tools and sites have popped up over the past few years.  A lot of these domain generators don't work that well and churn out odd word combinations few people would want to register. However, recently I found a great domain generator, Impossibility.org.

Impossibility claims to be “The Best Domain Generator Ever.”  While that is a fairly lofty claim considering there are some pretty good ones out there, I think Impossibility definitely deserves to be on any list for great, good, or useful domain name generators.  I've used a bunch of them and have found few that match the usefulness and quality of Impossibility.org.

The only other comparable domain generator I have seen is Lean Domain Search which I have recommended before on this blog in my post, “4 Awesome Tools to Find the Perfect Domain Name.”  If I had known about Impossibility.org when I wrote that article I would have included it.

The difference with Impossibility.org and Lean Domain Search is the ability to be more specific and drill down words.  You have the option to include adjectives, nouns, or verbs in the beginning or end of the domain name.  You can choose 4, 5, or 6 letter word domains with your keyword.  There is also an “anything” option which will generate a much broader list of domains.   If you are not sure you like the list of domains you can just “Get more” and it will generate more domains.  (Sometimes it just shows you the same ones from before.)

domain name generator

I found a few great domain names while using Impossibility.org for a some website ideas I had the other day.  (I tend to have an idea for a new website every week.)  My usual go to domain name generator is Lean Domain Search but it really was not cutting it.  I needed something more specific and I noticed that several people recommended Impossibility on webmaster and domaining forums.  So I gave it and shot and was pleasantly surprised.

Even though I really like Impossibilty.org, and will surely recommend it in the future, it could use some work.  I think the user interface could use sprucing up.  The keyword you type-in should be a different color than the other words in the domain.  Right now all the text is in white which can make it a bit hard to see your keyword against the other words.  The words that it matches could be in blue or green and the keyword could stay white or something.   One of the reasons I like Lean Domain Search is the user interface and ease-of-use.

Also John Forsythe, the developer, should add different domain registrar affiliate programs to the domain name generator besides GoDaddy and NameCheap.  That way he can capture more revenue and keep the site going.  (These domain generators make money via affiliate links when you buy a domain.)  John knows what he is doing as he spread out the generator across different servers to make it fast.  The last update was back in November 2011 though sooo the frontend of the site could definitely be updated in my opinion.

Typically a domain name generator will throw out a lot of word combinations and domains.  When you are looking for a domain name you want quality over quantity.  It could give you lists all day but if the domains are not good, then it is not worth your time.  Remember a domain is your “frontdoor” to the internet.

To save time and your sanity while searching for a domain name I recommend Impossibility.org and hopefully you will be as happy with it as I am.   Thanks to John Forsythe for making this awesome domain name generator.

.ME Registry accepting applications for Premium Domains

me registry

The .ME Registy has announced that they are accepting applications for their premium domain program.  This is part of the .ME registry trying to promote a wider use of .ME domains which has had some success.  Examples would include About.me, a site where you can post a page about yourself, and Pulse.Me, an news app.  In addition Facebook uses the URL shortener FB.me and Wordpres uses WP.me for their URL shortener.

While there has been some success the .ME domain extension it really only works for catchy words.  I think About.me is probably the best example of this since it is easy to remember and makes sense.  A lot of .ME domains just don't make sense in my opinion.

Like a lot of domain registries the .ME registry reserved premium domains.  This is in an effort to try to ensure that companies and startups can build out the domains into viable products or services rather than just having them sit there and be parked.

The .ME domains part of the premium domain program this year are;

  • Around.ME
  • Fund.ME
  • Find.ME
  • For.ME
  • Hire.ME

While the .ME registry could auction these premium domains names to the highest bidder this is a good explanation of why they are not doing that. 

Why Doesn’t The .Me Registry Sell These Domains?
Our goal is to assign the very best premium domains to the best content. If we sold them outright, large domain portfolio holders who don’t intend to build websites or offer services would likely purchase these domains. We reserved these five domains so that they would be available to be used by companies, businesses and startups that provide a quality product or service. Ultimately, this has far greater value for our domain (.Me).

Let's be honest, money with strong financial and venture capital backing is going to be a factor.  They are looking for great ideas for developing these premium .ME domains which standout though.

Out of those 5 domains I personally like Hire.ME the best since it would be ideal for a microgig competitor to Fiverr.  The domain could also be used to create an Elance and oDesk type of freelancing platform.  Alternatively it could be used for a jobs listing service.  I think in this economy any of those 3 ideas would be great for Hire.ME.

Another one I like is Fund.ME since that could be used for a crowdfunding site such as IndieGoGo and Kickstarter.  Fund.ME is catchy and easy to remember.

I would submit one of these ideas myself but I seriously doubt my application would be taken seriously.  If you want to give it a shot and your name is “Jack Dorsey” than by all means apply to the .ME premium domain program.  The deadline to apply for premium domain program is June 15 th, 2013.

Maybe you can kickstart the .ME domain extension with your awesome idea!

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!

7 Slick Tips for Choosing a Good Domain Name

Someone recently asked me what a good domain name would be for their website.  While pondering this person's needs and the type of site they want, I thought of these “7 Slick Tips for Choosing a Good Domain Name” for your blog, site, or business.

1. Heard it “On the Radio”

Think about how easy it is to say or speak the domain name you are looking at registering.  When you tell people about your website they should be able to find it easily, right?  If the domain has weird or long syllables or it is hard to say you might have trouble telling people about the site “On the Radio.”  This also means pronunciation is important and should be considered.  Usually this means you should avoid domains with hyphens (“-” this symbol if you didn't know) and numbers since those generally don't pass the radio test.   

2. Make it Easy-to-Write

If you were to write down the domain name on a piece of paper, is it easy to spell?  This goes along with my #1 tip and passing the radio test.  Our society is still far away from the paperless office and there is a good chance someone will hear your domain name, then write it down to find the site later.  I write down a domain name I am considering buying just to see how easy (or hard) it is to spell out using a pen and paper.  If it's hard to hear and spell, you might want to consider finding another domain.

3. Make it Short

The shorter a domain is, the easier it will be for someone to type into a browser address bar.  That's why all 3-letter .COM domain combinations have been taken.  Even all 4 letter domain combinations are taken and there are about 450,000 million possible 4 letter combinations.  The reason a lot of these are easy to remember and type-in.

I prefer domains that are 2-3 words and are no longer than 15 letters.  Anything that is longer there are a lot of chances for typos, which means you could potentially lose traffic and visitors.  Depending on your industry or niche these short domains are becoming harder to come by but I still manage to pick-up a good domain name here and there.  Short domains also make it easy to put on business cards and other products like pens.  That's why I choose AdamYamada.com even though it is not my full name.  (Adam Yamada-Hanff is in case you were wondering.)

4. Relevance

I have seen a lot of people choose domains because they might meet the other criteria, but it makes no sense to build a site on a short domain if it has nothing to do with the words being used.  It is best to choose a domain that is relevant to your needs, industry, or niche.  For instance I recently started CarNewsCafe as an auto news blog about “car news.”  The keywords are in the domain and it's clear to a visitor what the site topic is before they click.  We wouldn't have used this site to take about beauty products, but I have seen crazy domain and site shenanigans.  This is usually because someone already owns a domain name or they are just too lazy to find a good one.

5. Use Free Web Tools

Maybe some of you saw my post “4 Awesome Tools to find the Perfect Domain Name.”  One of the tools I highly recommend using is Lean Domain Search which is a domain name generator.  Basically what this means is you type in a word or several words you want in a domain name and it gives you a list of available domain combinations.

Other domain name generators I like and have used in the past include Impossibility and NameMesh.  (I've foudn NameMesh is best for brandable domains, see tip #7.)  There are a lot of other domain generators out there you can try too but these are ones I recommend.

As well you might want to use Archive.org to see if the domain was used for anything else in the past.  Any info you can gather about a domain, for free, is useful.

6. Try to go with a .COM

I say “try” as this is not always possible, but definitely preferably.  Most casual internet users default to a typing in a .COM and that is the most popular domain extension by far.  Did you actually know that early browsers defaulted to going to a .COM domain when typing in words in the address bar?  Don't think registering a .NET or .ORG you want will stop you from building a great website though.  As they say, “Content is King!”  I have SingingDogs.net and thinks it's a good domain name for my needs.  I even considered picking up a good domain name that used to be somewhat active forum, and the extension was a .ORG that had decent traffic.  (Someone registered it while I thought about it for a few hours.)

7. Get Creative

If you feel you have hit a roadblock with choosing a good word domain that is in the English dictionary than I would recommend you consider a brandable domain.  These are quite popular among the start-up and tech crowd these days.  What is a brandable domain name?

Great and short brandable domains include companies like Yahoo, Zynga, Google, Skype, Napster and others.  In these cases companies build-up a great product and a branded word around what they do.  This is nice since it allows for maximum flexibility in terms of services you can offer to customers.  Yahoo and Google are not just search engines or web portals but have a wide range of web apps and services.

Brandables can work well but keep in mind if you don't have a large marketing budget behind you it's hard to market a brandable domain.  You need to educate people about your company or service which can be difficult.  That's why if you go with a brandable it's imperative you use common English modifiers and try to make it easy to pronounce and spell.  Read tip #1 and again.

Choosing a Good Domain Name

These 7 tips are just guidelines and I know I might get comments and emails that say you don't need to follow these.  While, yes, there are plenty of domains that break these rules I wouldn't recommend veering to far from these tips though.

If my advice helped you find a good domain name I recommend you register that great domain with NameSilo or NameCheap.

My friend has a common business name and the COM, NET, BIZ extensions have been registered and have had active sites on built on the domains for awhile.  Her current domain is a .COM but is 30 letters so I recommend picking up the .ORG version, which is available.  Even though it will be hard to compete from an SEO standpoint and people might get confused with the other sites, in my opinion it is a good short domain name that should be memorable.

Disagree or agree?  Love or hate my tips?  Let me know your opinions about this or if you have suggestions or specific tools you use for finding a good domain name, leave a comment below and let me know.

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!

4 Awesome Tools to find the Perfect Domain Name

As the internet keeps growing and with new sites popping up everyday it is becoming increasingly hard to find the elusive ‘perfect domain name' for you business, blog, service, or product.  While it's becoming harder it is still not impossible to find an available good, great, or perfect domain name to register for only $10 to build your website with.

Here are some tools I use for finding domain names.  Some might use other domain finding tool, but overall I have found these are the sites and tools I always keep coming back to use when I need a new domain name.

LeanDomainSearch – Probably one of the easiest and most helpful tools I have seen on the web for finding a good available domain name.  Lean Domain Search is super easy to use and straightforward.  All you do is type in a word or a few words that you want to use in a domain name.  It will generate a list of available .COM domains using those keywords highlighted in green.  Hover over and click one of the domains and it will tell you if that domain is in fact still available and if the Twitter handle for the domain is available (Twitter handles must be less than 20 words or characters though).  I have used Lean Domain Search many times and have found some great gems through it.  Of course a lot of domains it will spin out may not make sense or will just be plain weird word combinations.  Still this is worth a shot if you have been having trouble searching or narrowing down a perfect domain name.  There is also a new brandable domain generator too, which helps you find short brandable domains.  These are not necessarily grammatically correct but would be good if you are a startup or want a catchy memorable domain name.  You can use Lean Domain Search for free but it does limit your searches to 150.  To see the full list of 5,000 domains you can pay $79 for two months or $199 per year ($16.58 a month).  Probably worth every penny but I have never paid for the service.

UPDATE: Lean Domain Search is now completely free to use.  In addition the developer, Matt Mazur, let Automattic acquire Lean Domain Search.  This means the company behind WordPress now owns the domain generator.  Also something to be aware of is before the Automattic acquisition Matt shutdown the brandable domains and domain name trends section he use to have on the website.

perfect domain name

ExpiredDomains.net – One of the best and most comprehensive domain finding sites out there I have found.  This site searches expiring domains that are in the process of deleting from the domain registry and deleted domains.  You can really narrow down specifics of a domain name like no other tool or site I have seen.  For instance if you want to find a domain with the word “tech” you can select whether you want it in the front, back, or anywhere in the domain.  It lets you select domain extensions, character length, pagerank, , DMOZ entry, different languages, and whole lot more.  One thing you should keep in mind is that it searches expiring domain lists and there are a lot of junk domains that people buy and drop.  The best way to utilize ExpiredDomains.net is to really drill down what words you are looking for and to use specific search criteria to narrow down results.  Get to narrow though and you search won't turn up any domains.  ExpiredDomains.net also lets you search through GoDaddy Auctions, NameJet PreRelease and Auctions, Pool Marketplace and Dynadot.  This makes it very valuable all around domain finding tool.  You will have to sing-up for an account, but considering how useful it is I wouldn't worry about it.

NameChk – This is not technically a domain finding tool, but it is extremely useful.  It lets you see what social media handles are available for certain words.  So if owned the domain “example.com” I could try to see if “example” is available on social media bookmarking and networking sites.  Since consistency is important on the internet it is a good idea to see if that domain name you want to use has a Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc. handles locked up or if they are all available.

WhoisRequest.org – My favorite Whois tool.  It will tell you how many times a domain nameservers have been changed, when, and how many times a domain was dropped, if ever.  If the domain was never registered before it will also tell you that. The data goes back to 2002 which should be far enough back for most people.  Most services that let you see a domain's history you have to pay for but WhoisRequest is completely free.  Making it a great tool in my webkit.

FYI Lean Domain Search and ExpiredDomains.net make money when you click through to a domain name registrar and buy a name.  They seem to prefer GoDaddy but I recommend using NameSilo as I have never had a problem with them.  Read my NameSilo Review to get an idea about their services.  They provide free privacy and easy domain registration and management.

If I find any other domain finding tools or sites that lets you zero in on that perfect domain name you are looking for, I will be sure to let all my readers know.  Remember it is possible nowadays to get a that perfect domain name, you are just going to have to spend time finding it.

Know someone who needs to find the “perfect domain name” and can't?  If so, please share this article with them so they don't need to be tearing their hair out.  

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!

Don’t Buy a Spam Domain

Google Webmaster Tools just released another video about buying a spam domain with Matt Cutts.  I think this is a good question and is something that people who are interested in buying any domain name from a private party should be aware before buying.

Here is the question that Matt Cutts answers in the video;

Can I buy a domain name on the secondary market that has a lot of spam on it and still rank? How can I reset the SEO of that domain ? Thousands of root domains coming from spam.

Johan Tavard, Hua Hin, Thailand

In my opinion you should NEVER BUY any domain name that you know has previously been used for spamming purposes.  “You don't want to be the person left holding the bag” commented Matt Cutts in the video.  That is a pretty good analogy as you would have a lot of work to do get the domain off of Googles blacklisted domain list and not be recognized as a spam domain.

You can submit a reconsideration request to Google if you have purposefully (most of the the time people buy domains not knowing) bought a spam domain.  Cutts mentions in the video though it would be kind of a pain to take and document everything so can Google take a reconsideration request seriously from it's long list of blacklisted domains.  (If your current domain name has been marked as spam domain you can also file a Google reconsideration request.)

If Johan could get the spam domain in question for free, then I wouldn't see a problem with it.  He would have a lot of work to do though.  In the video Matt Cutts mentions that the domain in question Johan is interested in purchasing is $5,000 dollars!  I wonder what drugs that blackhat spammer was taking when he quoted that price?

I personally would never buy a domain that has been blacklisted, let alone one for that amount of money.  If you register a brand new domain name you are starting at the ground floor and it is easier to work to make the domain and site into what you want.  (Of course it is still a pain to get ranked and have good SEO on any site.)  Cutts says, “When you start out you are already in that hole” meaning it is going to be hard and a lot of work to get the domain unmarked from being a spam domain.

If you are really interested in the domain that has been used for spamming, I would recommend just waiting until the spammer drops the domain name.  Once it gets dropped and you can hand-register it Google will no longer be on Google's blacklisted domain list.

Anytime your purchase domain names on the secondary market from well-known company or private seller it always a good idea to check the DNS Blacklist to see if any of them are blacklisted domains.