Only 4 hours?
I spent two days with a client entering a very popular industry. I told him to leave me alone for a day, and be prepared to spend all of day 2 "brainstorming" with me and his key people in a room with no phone. I put my very best keyword/semantic analysis to work, read about 300 web pages, compiled a list of candidates, keywords and sets of relateds, and built a page of hyperlinks to the tools and registrar pages. then I prepared a form for the needed info:
Anyway day 2 was brainstorming.... I love to facilitate bs sessions (haha that's Brain Storming but I know what you were thinking ;-)
They are quite fun if you can get people to relax, and that requires different tricks for different personalities... anyway....
In the end we got 8 domains that are really quite good, all of them natural and common and easy and on target. It is really surprising but they were out there. About half were abondoned and the other half new, plus we got the obvious variants plus the ones my grey SEO hat told me would be attractive to competitors or good for type-in traffic. All in all about 20 domains.
One fun exercise I do in the BS session is "pretend" that available names are already competing in that industry, and present it to the group as part of the competition review, for critique. This last time I even crafted a phishing-style webpage on my laptop to make it convincing to a particular person there who was likely to check my claim on the fly if I didn't show it.
I find that when the client is critiquing a respected competitor, they find lots of positive aspects of the name... as if it was a great move for that company to have gotten it first. When it is a competitor they don't respect, they find all these reasons why the name sux, as if it was stupid to have tried to deploy it in this industry. Very, very helpful insight both for me and for the CEO. Later, when they learn the name is available, we discuss why we should or shouldn't go for it and everybody has a much more insightful perspective because of the previous critique. Obviously any bs session has to provide fair warning of deceptions like that..they are a tool for bypasing bias, belief systems, and for managing the shepherds of the sacred cows.
I think there are plenty of names out there, but naming is becoming serious work worthy of serious attention. And worth it IMHO.
How significant is the cost of 2 days of valuable team-building brainstorming ( 2 days of my fee), and $300 in registration fees, when compared to the value of 8 domain names and their variants which your own expert staff believe are good choices given the business goals and objectives?