Automattic buys Lean Domain Search and acquihires Matt Mazur

matt mazurAutomattic, the company behind WordPress, recently bought Lean Domain Search to add to the WordPress.com blogging platform.  The news was announced via the Lean Domain Search blog a couple days ago by Matt Mazur, who started and built the domain name generator.

You might remember that last month I wrote that Lean Domain Search shuttered the Brandable Domain Generator and Domain Name Trends offerings.  In addition Matt Mazur moved the website from a freemium model to being completely free.

This news makes sense as I assume Automattic mainly wants Matt to focus on integrating Lean Domain Search with their products and helping improve the WordPress blog platform.  The acquisition is being pegged as an “acquihire” which refers to when tech firms buy companies not necessarily for the products but the team that built it.  Typically in an acquihire the larger tech company will shutdown the original product and integrate it with whatever offering they want or need.

While a few of Lean Domain Search's useful offeings have been shutdown as far as I can tell Automattic has no plans to shutter Lean Domain Search and the plan is to integrate the platform with WordPress.com.  Currently users of WordPress.com can buy a domain name for $13 a and can map to their subdomain blog on WordPress to their domain.  There is no domain generating tool on the free blogging platform but that will obviously change in the next few months.

It's not clear whether Automattic bought Lightstone Software along with Preceden, a timeline maker that is another one of Matt's offerings. As far as I can tell there are no plans to shutter Preceden.  There is no word on whether Precden will be integrated with Worpdress or what Matt has planned for the timeline maker.  (I sent Matt an email to clarify but have not heard back.)

In my opinion this was a smart move for Automattic and Worpress as finding a good domain name can prevent a lot of people from starting a blog or website.  (I know since I get emails about it all the time.)  Automattic can get the benefit of people using Lean Domain Search on Worpdress.com and collect affiliate revenue when people use the site.  Since WordPress is 10 years old now they seem to be making more decisions like a tech giant.  It will be interesting to see what other acquisitions Automattic will make in the future.

While the news is impressive for a service that was built by a single guy, unfortunately impressing Matt Mazur's family with news that you are making news proved to be challenging.

Congrats to Matt and I am sure he will be a valuable asset to Automattic and the WordPress team.

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.

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!