As startups move away from made up words, do they also move away from .COM?

Today Crunchbase wrote an interesting article about the trends they’re seeing when it comes to startup names. It’s safe to say that Crunchbase probably has the most data to mine when it comes to what startups are calling themselves since they maintain the largest startup and funding database in the world.

The trend they’re seeing is what they’re calling “the year of the noun” as startups shift from made up words and move towards words that more closely associate with what they’re doing.

Last time we did this, our broad takeaway was that seed-stage companies were moving away from weird-sounding names like Dogpile or Doostang in favor of more conventional monikers. In recent quarters, it looks like that trend has continued to accelerate.

Call it the year of the noun. Funded startups are increasingly choosing brands made up of recognized words or names that describe what they actually do. For example, there’s a company developing internet browsers called The Browser Company, a clothing rental startup named Wardrobe, and a payment software platform called Banked. And the list goes on.(Source – Crunchbase)

What’s interesting to note here, even in the examples Crunchbase used is only one of the three companies listed uses a .COM. The Browser Company brands on, Wardrobe is, and Banked has their exact-match .COM,

Recently Elliot from analyzed the startups that went through the most recent batch of Y Combinator and found that it was a 50/50 split between .COM and non .COM.

As many of you know, I run a startup here in San Francisco and most of my social group is in the startup world, I’m also seeing this shift both to nouns and with more comfort than ever before on non .COMs. The reality is, when you’re making up a word or combining two-words to make a catchy name, it’s more likely you can get your .COM for a reasonable price.

On the other hand, when you’re looking at calling your company a noun, like in the case of Wardrobe, the matching .COM often carries a six or seven figure price tag which is less palatable for startups. This means that if this trend persists, we might continue to see more adoption in other TLDs beyond .COM, like we’re seeing in this current YC batch.

As for me as a domain investor, I’m sticking with .COM, and well, as a founder, I’m also sticking with .COM, but I still can’t help but notice what’s going on around me. What do you think, is the shift from made up words to nouns going to accelerate adoption of non .COMs? Or will this just make .COMs more valuable later down the road?

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton