Venture capitalist makes the argument for picking a good name and owning the matching .com.
Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham has published an essay on his site about why it’s important to get a good company name and its matching .com.
Is it still important in a world of apps? Graham writes:
If you have a US startup called X and you don’t have x.com, you should probably change your name.
The reason is not just that people can’t find you. For companies with mobile apps, especially, having the right domain name is not as critical as it used to be for getting users. The problem with not having the .com of your name is that it signals weakness. Unless you’re so big that your reputation precedes you, a marginal domain suggests you’re a marginal company. Whereas (as Stripe shows) having x.com signals strength even if it has no relation to what you do.
Graham argues that if you named your company x and you don’t own x.com, you should change your name. He points out there are plenty of good names for purchase out there, you just have to give it some effort. If you aren’t good at naming, find someone who is.
The essay finishes with some stats about top Y Combinator companies:
100% of the top 20 YC companies by valuation have the .com of their name. 94% of the top 50 do. But only 66% of companies in the current batch have the .com of their name. Which suggests there are lessons ahead for most of the rest, one way or another.