There are two types of people starting businesses: one of them knows exactly the type of business they want to start and what it should be called. In fact, they’ve already come up with something catchy and bought the domain five years ago. The other type knows they want to start a business, and they have a general idea of the problem they want to solve, but they have no idea what to call it. If you’re the latter, you’re are going to find this article useful and actionable.
There are pros to not knowing exactly what the name of your business is yet. One is that you haven’t cornered yourself into not being able to expand; you can still choose a name that leaves room for the evolution of your business. The other is that, if you play your cards right, you won’t have to spend too many late nights pacing around the living room trying to land on a catchy startup name.
As we’ve mentioned, there are several ways to come up with a strong name for your company. For example, you could hire a naming agency, crowdsource some options, follow a naming guide to do the work yourself or you could drastically reduce the thinking involved by just scrolling through a bunch of available names on a brandable domain name marketplace.
Here’s how a brandable domain name marketplace works:
The name marketplace curates a list of high quality available premium domains for sale from independent owners who either crafted the name with the sole intention of listing it on a brandable marketplace, are no longer using the name for their company or are tired of parking it and paying yearly renewal fees..
Sellers submit their domains to the marketplace, which usually charges a one-time listing fee and a commission for the sale. For example, BrandBucket charges a $10.00 listing fee and takes a 30% commission on the sale price of the domain. Ultimately the seller is foregoing some revenue for exposure. You can typically search by category, price, date added, type and word length. And don’t be surprised to see domains listed for well above $1,000.
No matter where you are in your naming journey, a marketplace is a good resource to check for a solid domain. Because even if you already have a name in mind, but were only able to secure the .co or .io but not the .com, it could spark new ideas and send you down a new stream of thinking.
In no particular order: here are 4 of our favorite domain name marketplaces:
Squadhelp is the World’s #1 Naming Platform, and features a Marketplace of more than 30,000 premium domains for sale hand-picked by their branding experts.
Squadhelp combines advanced technology with the world’s largest branding community of over 200,000 creatives to deliver the perfect name and premium domain for your brand.
When you first visit the site, you are shown some of the most popular names in the Marketplace. However, as you continue to explore the Marketplace and interact with names that you like, Squadhelp’s AI notices the shared characteristics between these names and starts to get a feel for the types of names you’re looking for. The AI will then begin to only recommend names that it knows you’ll like, allowing you to save tons of time that would be spent looking at irrelevant names.
Are you clicking on short abstract names? Or are you spending time with names that are longer and more prestigious ? The advanced AI will quickly figure out what types of names for sale appeal to you and make recommendations based on your branding needs. It’s possible that Squadhelp’s AI can figure out what you’re looking for before you even know yourself!
Founded in 2007 by Margot Bushnaq, Brandbucket has been around the longest of the four. They specialize in invented names, which, unlike literal names, can have more flexibility. Some of the most successful companies, like Google, Zulily and Zillow leverage invented names to lay claim to words that didn’t previously exist.
Brandbucket uses this to set themselves apart, claiming they offer a curated list based on quality and potential. That said, it’s important to note that trademarks aren’t guaranteed. They recommend you do some digging or seek legal advice to make sure your name isn’t already trademarked. But when you find one you like, they’ll throw in the logo shown on the listing and will hold your payment in escrow until the domain is transferred.
Brandroot prides themselves on providing entrepreneurs with thoughtful names that take emotional, structural and visual aspects into consideration. Founded in 2010 by Michael Rader, and like the other two marketplaces, Brandroot lists names that are owned by individual sellers and also hold your payment in escrow until the domain is transferred.
Note that this can take anywhere from minutes to more than a week. It depends on the payment type, like via credit card or wire transfer, as well as the registrar you choose. If you choose to use the current registrar, the transfer time is usually much quicker. If you go another route, the transfer can take about five days on average.
While all purchases come with a unique logo, purchases over $1,500 also come with a year of trademark certification. And, because they’re a brokering service, they also allow you to make an offer outside of the listing price– it’s all part of Brandroot’s mission to make naming your business easy, quick and affordable.
Complete with logos, Namerific was founded in 2013 by Zane Gocha. To narrow your search, you can filter by industry type, price, or domain length. Once you purchase, they’ll use your preferred registrar of choice to complete the transfer and email you a logo in .psd, .svg, or .ai format.
Don’t love the current logo? Namerific offers minor changes to the layout, color or element size free of charge, as well as additional design services for other requests. Since they don’t trademark their names, you’ll want to make sure the name isn’t already trademarked.
Remember that no matter where you are in your naming journey, domain name marketplaces can be a helpful resource. You might find something unexpected to add to your existing list of company names or be inspired to pursue something different altogether. And then you might even be in a position to list your previously purchased domain name as a seller.
Have you ever purchased a domain on a brandable marketplace? If so, what marketplace did you use? Did anything surprise you? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
Annelise Schoups is a contributor at Rewind & Capture. With a degree in journalism, experience in public relations, and an education in travel, she is passionate about cultivating knowledge and storytelling.