Last year I made a startling discovery: most people I know—myself included—tend to see themselves as the source of the best domain names that the world has ever seen. My experience, however, has convinced me that there is only a tiny, yet very valuable grain of truth in that perception. In the next several posts I will share a simple analytical approach to generating domain names.
The main idea behind the education marketplace that our company is creating was conceived three years ago during one of those very satisfying “aha!” moments when waves of ideas came up in my head one after another in a continuous storm until I formed a complete picture of what might be. Back then I was a first-year MBA student at Wharton and the Lauder Institute, which is where I refined the idea further over several months. However, there was no official name for the marketplace until I registered the domain name.
As many people faced with the task would do, I scribbled down a long list of names for the website that I thought might be good. I also asked three of my friends to generate similar lists for me. People love donning on their “expert in domain names” hat, so asking for help is really worth it. In one day we collectively generated over four hundred domain names.
I soon discovered a big problem: the absolute majority of the domain names from those lists had already been registered—speculators and cybersquatters rein in this market. Domain names that are obviously cool usually cost a fortune: for example, a good friend of mine paid $500K for a domain name a few months earlier for his online store in Brazil. In my particular case, every time I asked speculators to sell a domain they would usually demand a ridiculous price right away regardless of what the domain was. One such speculator from Toronto wanted over $40K for a four-letter domain name, and that was a “bargain” offer which paled in comparison with some other quotes I received.
Further analysis of the situation revealed an unfortunate trend: 100% of these quotes were light years above my reach. If I were to pay for all the “cool” domain names from my lists, I would end up paying over $2 million. This revelation rang a very loud alarm bell: if the quotes I received were fair market prices, it would mean that my friends and I generated $2 million worth of ideas in just a day. This was hard to believe.
My next post on Sunday, May 14 will detail my solution. Stay tuned, post comments and questions, like us on Facebook, Tweet about us, sign up for our launch.