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Finding a domain name that isn't taken!



6:37 am on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm starting a new site about a real general topic(s). Letís say itís about every type of widget. I cannot think of any domain name that isn't taken. I've spent the last 4 hours thinking of names, looking at suggestions etc. I just can't seem to get any that aren't taken that I actually think people would spell correctly and are "sticky" enough.

Can anyone please give me some advice about thinking of a domain for a really broad subject? I'm looking for easily remembered things. I know this is sort of like you telling da Vinci what he should invent, but I guess I'm all out of ideas and am desperate.

Please, any advice. Thanks!


6:59 am on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hello hdp:

This may sound a little crazy, but how about appending the word glue to your main generic keyword?

No dash, just run the words together.

Examples: widgetglue.com sportsglue.com
That sounds 'sticky' yes, but the idea is to make your domain name stand out and just maybe .. make the casual browser curious! At least it doesn't fade into the background like widgetsUSA or sportsusa.

If 'glue' is inappropriate (viagraglue, tshirtglue..)
then try something else sticky like syrup.

You might even explain the domain name in a short message; that you wanted a name that would stick.
If you make the visitors laugh, you are halfway there.

Remember the press play when physicists named a new particle the 'gluon'?
It holds other easily forgotten particles together. Writers loved it.

I prefer glue to syrup because its only 4 letters.
I fear hyphens might trip people up, it adds another character to the URL in any case.

Best wishes - Larry


7:05 am on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Dear DaVinci ;)

I've been there - often. Finding a way to think "outside the box" is the answer, but that's not always easy.

To find other words and ideas, I use:

Google Sets [labs.google.com]
Click on "Related Pages"
Searching with Copernic and MetaSearch engines

I also use several of the combined "WhoIs-lookup plus domain-suggestion" tools on the web. We don't allow the mention of specific tools here, but if you search on "domain name suggestions" you'll find a lot of helpful ideas


7:13 am on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Some registrars will also provide you suggestions of possible other names. I found register.com to be good at that.


5:14 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

A good test for a domain, is if you don't have to explain how it's spelt.
(These days most people will assume it's alloneword.)

It's also very difficult to make people remember anything other than .com, or you countries main TLD ie .co.uk


9:47 pm on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Stick with a dot come if possible and search for the tools that suggest alternatives.... Most registra's have a suggestion tool these days....

[edited by: tedster at 11:36 pm (utc) on Nov. 8, 2004]


12:28 am on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

[wordlab.com...] can be very usefull too...


6:17 am on Nov 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I know how you feel! I have a similar situation! I mentioned it in a thread in another forum (but maybe I should have posted it here instead).

And the issue isn't just if the domain has already been taken, but if the word combination has been trademarked too!

A few nights ago I was almost in tears! I kept thinking I was going to have to just come up with two random words that have nothing to do with each other and string them together.

I guess its been a while since I registed a new domain, the last one, a little over a year ago was kind of tough. I ended up with one that was kind of long. Now it seems to have gotten much tougher. There are some other sites I want to start too, so I think I should start looking for domains soon for them, while there's still something left!


3:08 am on Nov 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I disagree with the advice to stick with dot com names. I hear it everywhere, and I understand why people say it. Currently .com is the first thing that people think of regarding a web site. I think this is bound to change. As more people start using alternatives to .com, they will stick more in people's minds.


10:30 pm on Nov 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I found register.com to be good at that

About all they are good at - you seen the class action for owners of domains prior to 2001....!


9:00 pm on Nov 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think when nothing else is available, adding words like "the" can be a good way to go - you'll find that even really common domains might be available when you get creative. Also, whereas before I think for SEO purposes additional words like that could be a negative, now it seems irrelevant.

Also, MSN's new beta is supposedly based on "real language" searching - (don't know URLs are a factor in their algo though).

I think a lot of not so sophisticated people still type real language directly into the browser's address bar too, which would also help a "the" type domain.


9:15 am on Dec 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Majority of the .com domains registered are not active and can be bought for cheap from their owners. Good names come at a price. You won't find any good names that are still available. Either contact some of the current owners of domains not being used and offer them something like a $100 to $500 or try to get some about to expire domains with back order systems. You can also try some domain brokers like buydomains.com.


7:36 pm on Dec 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

that is a good point - a huge number of "great" domains aren't even being used. One of the best sites I've found for finding recently expired ones is deleteddomains.com - you have to pay $15 for a month subscription, but if you find even 1 domain you can sell for a few hundred bucks, you've made your money back & then some.


6:36 am on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I used the "the" prefix with a new client about a year and a half ago. Their whole business was new, and the name they'd picked was already registered by someone who, while not publishing a site with it, was nonetheless maintaining registration. So instead of widgetwire.com, their domain name is thewidgetwire.com. It's working fine for them.

Another possibility that's fun to play with is running the name you want through an anagram generator...and you might come up with something useful. If you do, and people ask why that's your domain name, it's a fast explanation - "the name I wanted was taken, so this is an anagram of it". You might even be able to spin it into a logo. Someone I know considered registering "apple orchards", an anagram of their name (which was already registered to someone else). It would've been easy to build a whole theme around it, which would've made it easy for people to remember, even though it had nothing to do with the person originally, but they didn't pursue it.


11:58 pm on Dec 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One thing with "the" is that it can be confusing. There's a useful website for my area with an amusing name, but everyone comments that it's difficult to remember to put the "the" in front. So your type-in traffic may suffer.

Also, wouldn't "the______.com" run a higher risk of infringing on ______.com's name?


6:13 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes it would. At least that is what I was told by an attorney - adding 'the', 'an', 'an', 'all', etc. to the beginning of a phrase that is trademarked could be considered a trademark infringment.


6:18 pm on Dec 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes it would. At least that is what I was told by an attorney - adding 'the', 'an', 'an', 'all', etc. to the beginning of a phrase that is trademarked could be considered a trademark infringment.

It's one thing to be sued for trademark infringement, it's another if you can prove
you have a bona fide use for it.


12:54 am on Dec 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'd like to find some undeveloped property in New York City but it's all taken.

Just because the building is empty doesn't mean that the owner should sell you the property cheap.

Go to sedo.com and afternic.com and others and search for the keywords you want.

Pay for the domain you want. Don't hold it against the owner because they are a better forward thinker than you are.

Treat any owner with respect and by that I mean offering a reasonable name.

If someone offers me $500 for a name, I am more inclined to consider it. If some comes along and offers me $50, I won't reply and will raise the price next time they ask me if it's for sale.

Also, if you are going to build a site and brand, you better register/buy the .net .org .info and .us and the plural and the "the" prefix etc.

Good luck.


7:28 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

...spent the last 4 hours...

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:

  • whois registration details
  • registrar account owner setup details
  • credit card owner details
  • proxy service account signup details

because that takes time and should be done right the first time these days (lots of reasons- sticky me if concerned). I faxed the form to him ahead of time AND ASKED HIM TO FAX IT BACK COMPLETED before I went for day#2. Another key step for various reasons.

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?


9:45 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Wow, excellent post Paybacksa! Thanks for sharing...


11:09 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

How significant is the cost . .?

Very nice post but OTOH if I knew the bottom line cost (your services + $300 + the value of everyone else's time +?) I might pay a visit to a reseller, such as BuyDs, spend an hour scaning their inventory of 400,000+ pretty decent domains with their search tool, and come up with a rather nice surely not better assortment of alternative domains at the same or less cost.

All I mean to insert into the analysis is when you crunch the numbers, at a certain cost threshold, a visit to an aftermarket reseller might produce an equal or better bang for the buck. There's a few gems for the taking at BuyD and their pricing isn't as nutty as you might find elsewhere. They actually are pretty rational about pricing 98% of the time.


11:09 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Quite simple really - choose the search terms that would be used to find you and choose the closest avaliable variant.
Not something that needs to be branded.
Simple english string of words, 3 at most.


11:32 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Instead of looking for goodwidgets.com bestestwidgets.com etc. try thinking of something everyone involved in the area knows exactly what you mean, is a phrase well known, but not involving the obvious keywords. Or use the name of an obscure part.

For football think pigskin, gridiron, tailgate, overtime, monday morning quarterback. Any could make a great domain name.

This method gives you a memorable easily branded domain that stands out from all the others. They may not think of it on their own, but once they hear it, they'll never forget it.


1:43 am on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Am I the only here one who thinks having a domain name that's relevant to your site is umm...........irrelevant? How many people actaully know what a "google" is? Or a "yahoo" for that matter. Go with a name that's easy to brand and easy to remember. The shorter the better. It doesn't matter what it is. I'll click on anything before I'll click on www.buycheapwidgetshere.com or www.bestbluewidgetsusa.com


3:47 am on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I think it really depends on your deployment. A few examples:

  1. an optimized site for traffic
  2. a brand site in an industry
  3. a topical site in an industry (non-branded or co-branded)
  4. an info site on a topic
  5. an intended hub site in an industry or on a topic

Each of these benefits differently from different approaches.

In the case I mentioned involves mostly items 3 and 4, so it had to be both keyword-targeted and brandable. I consider that a tougher case than an optimized traffic site (multiple keywords good) or a brand site (uniqueness is good).

As for aftermarket domain resellers, I always review those as well and consider it in the mix, but that's not easy either. At $500 a pop plus the work involved typ. it ain't cheap either. My whois tools allow browsing of registered and deleted domains, so that is part of my review. I only need to go to a vendor if I want to inquire as to availability of registered domains, and that's usually after I have looked at the active site.


8:09 pm on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member henry0 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Don't we forget about 100% unrelated names but that can be memorized 1,2,3...

best ex: Yahoo


8:50 pm on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Depending on your goals, these options should be considered, along with the option of buying an existing domain in the aftermarket:

1. Inventing a name that is reminiscent of the topic of the site. If the site topic is widgets, then invent something along the lines of WidgetFanz.

2. Registering an appropriate combination of relevant, generic words separated by a dash (but not more than one dash!)

3. Registering a generic, non-trademarked keyword or combination of keywords in an alternative TLD (.biz, .info, .cc, .ws, .bz).


8:56 pm on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

In recent times, the .biz extension is gaining a good bit of legitimacy. When I was in Manhattan last week, I noticed widespread ads on the top of taxis for a travel related .biz domain - clearly a big-bucks operation willing to go with the "lesser" TLD for the sake of grabbing a solid, memorable name.


4:13 pm on Dec 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Also, wouldn't "the______.com" run a higher risk of infringing on ______.com's name?

I think a good part of it would depend (in court) on whether the "the" name could be shown to relate to the business (did I just paraphrase, "it depends on what your definition of 'is' is"?). In the case of the client I meantioned, their business name actually is The Widget Wire.

If the registrant of widgetwire.com were to ever complain, my client could easily show, with photos, business documents, licenses, etc., that their domain name is exactly the same as their business's name - the word "the" is the first part of the business name, as it is in their domain name.


4:00 am on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I've found some cool combo's with "the 'whatever' guy' (or gal).


Works OK for small businesses in a niche market.

This 49 message thread spans 2 pages: 49

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