Short Domain Search

short domain searchJohn Forsythe, the creator of Impossibility.org, has just launched a new free domain search tool called Short Domain Search.  The goal of Short Domain Search is to help people find a quality short one word domain name for their new website or startup.

UPDATE – John has sold Short Domain Search to a domaining company.  He informed me that, “they're better positioned to profit from the traffic than I was (hence the sale).”  The Short Domain Search service and site is still active and useful for those looking for short domains for a web project and business.  They've added many features to it since I wrote this article.

This tool is different from Impossibility.org in that the focus is on short single world domains.  Virtually all of the good short single world .COM domains are taken and go for big bucks nowadays.  Short Domain Search focuses on mostly country code top level domains (ccTLD) which includes .CC, .CO, .IO, .NU, .ME, .BZ, .TV, and .US.   The only global top level domain (gTLD) that it includes is .BIZ.

John explained, “The extensions [were] chosen based on two factors: 1. The domains are easy to check for availability (sadly, not all TLDs are easy to check for various reasons), and 2. I started with TLDs that Google says can be geotargetted.  In other words, can work the same as .com, and show up for all users, not just for the particular country the domain represents.”

His reasoning for including these specific domain extensions for Short Domain Search makes sense since in Google Webmaster Support they have a list of ccTLDs they consider are ok for global use.  Although back in February of this year Matt Cutts shot a Google Webmaster Help video saying he isn't so crazy about domain hacks and vanity domains that use ccTLDs.  Regarding startup domains he specially mentioned .IO which is for domain extension for the Indian Ocean.  The .IO extension is popular with startups these days since in computer talk I/O stands for input-output.  Kinda geeky.

How Short Domain Search works is that the server has a group of 2948 hand-picked words it searches for.  All the words are short between 3-5 letters.  As soon as a domain becomes available (expires) it gets added to the list. Once someone buys a domain name, it will be automatically removed within a few minutes, “The list updates every 60 seconds, and all the domains are checked at least once every 10 minutes, so the list should be very fresh.” commented John.

Short Domain Search allows you to sort domains by length, alphabetically, or by extension.  If you only want to see domains available from a specific extension type in a “dot” plus the domain extension in the search bar.  For example if I want to check .IO domains I would type “.io” for all the available short .IO domains.  (Don't capitalize “.io” or it will not work.)

Playing around with Short Domain Search I think it is a good tool for startups that are searching for an extremely short domain name and are not concerned about using a ccTLD.  For those that are super tech-savy using a non-COM seems to be all the rage nowadays.  While I did find some good short domains I would personally prefer a .NET, .ORG, or .INFO over a short ccTLD.  I do own a few .US domains though.

In my opinion it can't hurt to try these 4 tools and Impossibility first.  You would be surprised by some of the quality 2-word .COM domains you can find still and other gTLDs.  Hey, ShortDomainSearch.net was still available to register.

John informed me he has plans to expand the domain extension offering for Short Domain Search.  “I plan to add more extensions in the future, particularly as some of the crazy new ones come online (like .app).”

Since the tool is called Short Domain Search John wants to concentrate on short domain names for now.  “I wanted to make it easy for people to find short, single word domain names. I think most people don't realize there's still lots of good ones left.” said John about his new domain tool.

If you have any questions or recommendations for Short Domain Search you can email – John AT blamcast.net.

Lean Domain Search is now Free

lean domain searchIf anyone is disappointed that Lean Domain Search shutdown their brandable domain and domain name trends section recently you can at least be happy that the domain name generator is now completely free to use.

Some people might be thinking, “Hey wasn't Lean Domain Search free to use before?”  While technically it was free but it would only show you a partial list of the available domain names with your keyword (or keywords).  I believe it originally only showed you about 150-300 domain names depending on what keyword you used.  Now you can see a list of 4,000-5,000 domains (depending on your keyword) to find the perfect domain name for your needs.

The old model that Lean Domain Search worked off of was what is known as freemium.  That means the service is free to use but for premium services you have to pay.  In the case with Lean Domain Search you would have to pay to see the full list of domain names.  The subscription pricing was $79 for two months or $199 per year which worked out to $16.58 a month.

That wasn't too expensive considering how good a domain generator Matt Mazur, the creator of Lean Domain Search, built.  Especially since you got a big list of available domain names you could register and start using immediately.

However one of the issues with freemium models is that it is hard to convince someone to pay for a service even when you are providing them good features.  I assume one of the reasons Matt Mazur decided to show people the full list of available domain names was not too many people were signing-up for the paid subscriptions.  There is a better chance of him making money if people can see a wide range of domain names and register one they like.

Lean Domain Search uses affiliate links from domain registrars.  If you click through and buy a domain name Matt gets a little money from that sale.  This is a win-win since you found a good domain name to register and Matt gets some cash for his efforts.

Whether the Matt will bring back the paid subscriptions for Lean Domain Search and this is a temporary switch for the domain generator I am not sure.  I would imagine it is permanent as it would annoy users to go from a paid model, to a free model, and then back to paid model again.

The only other comparable domain name generator I have seen is Impossibility.org.  This allows you to be a little more specific if you want a shorter domain name and searching for verbs, nouns, or adjectives.  I'd check that out if you are having trouble finding a good domain name for your new website.

Still I think Lean Domain Search should is an excellent place to find a great available domain name.  I am glad to see the change to a free model to but that means it will be that much harder for me to find a good domain name.

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!