Don't Handcuff Your Business or Product Name to Domain Availability

name_kid 'Weird' business names may be en vogue -- you know, the ones that are missing vowels or are a mash-up of two opposing words. But do they really make your business memorable? Or do they simply raise a quizzical eyebrow before they are forgotten?

Let's be honest: Many of those 'weird' names aren't the result of brilliant creativity. Rather, they are the result of a compromise by frustrated entrepreneurs who tried to secure a 'dot-com' (.com) domain. It's a classic case of allowing the domain-name cart to lead the business-name horse.

When the domain isn't available, it's often a scramble to find the next-best thing. Or the next-next best thing. Or anything that's available. As this panicked spiral happens, the essence of what you wish to convey about your business gets lost in a cloud of 'dot-com' obsession. Then you're stuck with "Gr8 Mowments Flowrs" when you really wanted to be "Great Moments Flowers" or "SkweeezMee" when you were hoping for "Squeezie."

Seriously, this happens all the time.

There's no need to compromise what you truly wish to convey in your business name just because the 'dot-com' is taken -- of course, assuming trademark concerns aren't in play.

Why? More than 500 (and counting) new domain options provide choice to what can reside to the right of that second dot. These options open up the Internet naming landscape like never before, and can alleviate that dreaded domain name anxiety, especially for new businesses.

It's all part of an Internet naming expansion spearheaded by The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN -- essentially the 'UN of the Internet' when it comes to domain names. It’s since released options as diverse as ‘dot-guru’ (.guru), ‘dot-coffee’ (.coffee), ‘dot-club’ (.club) and ‘dot-world’ (.world). By 2016, there will be more than 1,300 domain options available to the public.

For those who thought that the Internet was exclusive to the likes of 'dot-com' (.com), 'dot-net' (.net) and 'dot-org' (.org) -- this is likely mind-blowing news. Especially so if you settled on a cringe-worthy business name solely because its ‘dot-com’ domain was available.

For those who learned of these new choices as they began rolling out in late 2013, or accidentally stumbled upon them while trying to secure a ‘dot-com’ domain, it’s not only provided relief but an ability to better clarify what their respective businesses are actually about.

  • Suyog Mody named his coffee business ‘Driftaway Coffee.’ The ‘dot-com’ version wasn’t an option, so he purchased ‘driftawaycoffee. co’ before learning that ‘’ was an option. He’s since snapped that up and uses it as his primary business website because it’s shorter and defines his business.
  • Katy Lengacher named her photography business Icarus Photo, but couldn’t secure the corresponding ‘dot-com’ so settled for a ‘dot-net’ domain. When she learned that ‘’ was available, she snapped that up as her primary website because it better classified her photography business.
  • Chris Harris is launching a series of extreme obstacle course races for kids called ‘The Blitz.’ The ‘dot-com’ wasn’t available, but he learned that ‘dot-events’ (.events) was – and preferred it because the word identified his business as an events company.
  • Lori Harlig was redoing the website for her catering business, Amici Catering. When she learned that ‘dot-catering’ (.catering) was a newly released option, she ditched her old domain, ‘amicicateringaz. com,’ for one that is much shorter and to the point: ‘’

These businesses are among those pioneering the use of new "not-com" domain options.  They didn’t allow ‘dot-com’ availability dictate their online name, and are subsequently adding meaning to their digital identity -- the kind that ‘com’ just doesn’t convey.

So to the ‘dot-com’ owners for “Gr8 Mowments Flowrs” and “SkweezMee” – if you indeed exist – know that there is opportunity to rethink that name.