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.
The Stripe story is particularly interesting.
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.
Joseph Peterson says
It matters who says something.
Yes, people within the domain industry have said the same things Paul Graham is saying – that .COM carries so much brand authority that other extensions may appear (in the eyes of both consumers and investors) shoddy by comparison… and that domains still matter for apps in 2015.
Yet when I say this to a startup founder, half the time I’m only half believed. “Whatever this Joseph guy might know about names and domains,” the entrepreneur says inwardly to himself, “Peterson’s no expert on apps, tech startups, or venture capital.”
Now I can point to an expert in those very areas who says what I’m saying. Put that link in the toolkit, eh?
Jean Guillon says
I totally agree here.
Alan Dodd says
He might as well be Billy Graham now as far as “dot-com” domainers are concerned :0)
C.S. Watch says
C.S. Watch says
Why would anyone starting a new company broaaadcast their absence of foresight, funding, and/or free-market success.
You can almost hear Graham’s eyes rolling. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ci739orj7hk