When it comes to building a brand, a good domain name can go a long way. In the early days of a startup, budget is limited, so spending six-figures on a one-word .COM isn’t an option. This leads to a choice, do you pick a different name or stick with that one word in .CO, .ME, .IO or another popular TLD?
First I’ll tell you, I don’t think there’s one answer that applies to everyone, it really depends on what you do. If you are building a service for developers, .IO could be a perfect fit. Companies like Intercom.io, Keen.io and many more have raised tens of millions of dollars so it’s clear not having the .COM didn’t hold them back in their business.
At the same time, huge, consumer-facing companies like Apple need Apple.com, period. Of course not all companies start with that kind of a budget, sure later on down the road they might be able to spend the big bucks on a big juicy one-word .COM, but for now they’ll have to start with something else.
For many startups this is where the two-word .COM comes in. With prices ranging from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars (and sometimes even hundreds of thousands of dollars) they have been and still are some of the most solid, reliable domains you can go with when building a global online brand. The advantage of a two-word .COM is clear for B2C startups, you can tell people your company name and they can instantly get to your site. If your business is driven by your website, this is likely your go-to and your stay-with domain name.
Now there is one small caveat here. There are two categories of two-word .COMs:
- Company names that themselves are two-words
- Two-word .COMs that are really one-word .COMs in disguise. The second category is two-word .COMs formed by adding the word “online” to the end or putting “get” in front of the actual name of your company. In my opinion these don’t have the same value when it comes to consumer recognition since you have to tell people – my company is called “blah” but them to your site they have to go to GetBlah.com.
If you want to reap the rewards that come with having a brand name people can easily remember, spell, and access online stick with those in category #1. Just think of the brands you know and love – Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Best Buy, the list goes on – some of the most well-known companies in the world have a two-word name, and the options are almost endless when it comes to possible combinations.
You don’t need a six-figure budget to buy a great two-word .COM but yes, two-word .COMs still can sell for six-figures any day. If you think you can offer someone $500 for an amazing two-word .COM, don’t be offended when you don’t hear back. Two-word .COM’s are more valuable than ever, here’s an example of some two-word .COM sales that have taken place so far this year:
OrganicBaby.com – $168,000 (sold less than two weeks ago)
ForexBrokers.com – $150,000
NeverFail.com – $150,000
TotalCare.com – $120,000
NewsNow.com – $88,000
ClearTax.com – $80,000
OrangeBank.com – $36,000
VoiceLessons.com – $32,000
and the list goes on, and yes you can still get a great two-word .COM for $5,000 – it might not be your first choice but plenty of two-word .COMs sell in the sub $10,000 range. Domains like MindShow.com which sold for $4,500 or BeeProducts.com which sold for $4,000 the options and prices are almost infinite when it comes to two-word .COMs. As a startup founder it’s your job to find the best name you can for the budget that you have, and to balance that choice with the value a name will bring to you.
What I can tell you is the two-word .COM is more alive and well than it has ever been, and in a sea of new domain name extensions this trusty hero looks like it’s here to stay.