You are here

The Coolest Domain Name

The Coolest Domain NameI'm a proud graduate of the Founder Institute, a technology startup incubator based in Silicon Valley. A few days ago it just dawned on me that the domain name of fellow graduate, Jordan Lyall, was Getfanfare.com although his company name is Fanfare. Now of course it would've been awesome if he could've registered Fanfare.com. Unfortunately the current owner of that cool domain name is SanDisk Corporation, so chances are not likely that Jordan will own it in the very near future (unless he's willing to pay a huge premium to purchase it). And Getfanfare.com is a fine domain name anyway. Much better than The Record Breaking Domain, which is currently on sale for a whopping $12 million (and a dollar more to be exact). But what about Fanfa.re? The same goes for Matthias Gallica's ShareSquare. His domain name is Getsharesquare.com. So am I the only one thinking he should register Sharesqua.re, at least as a backup? Because these domain names sure look really cool to me!

So what makes a cool domain name? Make that the coolest domain name. We all love Facebook.com, Google.com, Microsoft.com... So what about Jayl.ee? Jo.hn? Ma.tt? Sco.tt? I got mine because Jaylee.com was taken ages ago, and no other alternatives were available (or so I thought). Jaylee.net, Jaylee.org, Jaylee.name, Jaylee.us, even Jayjlee.com (my middle name is Jiehoon), all taken! Eventually I settled on Jayjiehoonlee.com, but really hated it because well... it's a shitty domain name. But thanks to Scott Yates, whose cool domain name Sco.tt one day inspired me out of the blue to successfully register Jayl.ee, I am now a proud owner of what I think is the best of all the Jay Lee domain names. Say what you want if you're one of those that still think that the ".com" brand is always king. Jayl.ee is shorter, and definitely cooler. I think Jayl.ee, Jo.hn, Ma.tt & Sco.tt are all hip. Even Voya.ge sounds better than Voyage.com to me. I'm sure the owner of that domain name thinks so too. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Domain names have come a long way since the dotcom, dotnet & dotorg days. According to a recent article, we'll be able to have ".anything" domain names in the near future. This means that I might be able to register Music.gem, Adriana Herrera might be able to register Fashioning.change (or in her case, Fashioningchan.ge is an even better option), etc. And since shorter is better, I'd say that these might actually be better than Musicgem.com & Fashioningchange.com. Let's not also forget the fact that Mg.com is currently available for sale (a few months ago the website listed a price tag of $285,000, although now it has been replaced with a generic looking homepage) & Fc.com gets a "lot of inquiries" according to its website, and is considering offers. Hey, Facebook recently bought Fb.com for $8.5 million, so who knows? Maybe we'll both become successful, go public and buy ours when we have more money, hehe.

But I'm still one of the lucky ones. I proudly own Musicgem.com for my company, MusicGem. Now I say I'm lucky because it turns out that Musicgem.com was previously owned by a guy named Gary E. Myers, who must've eventually forgotten about paying his annual renewal fee for his cool domain name. He emailed me about a month ago asking if Musicgem.com was for sale, saying that he was the previous & righteous owner of the domain name because he used to sell his music books via what is now my domain name and also because his full name's initials turn out to be G.E.M., blah blah fucking blah...

I noticed among the Founder Institute's graduates that there are some that have done quite well with their domain names. Take Gagan Biyani's company for example, called Udemy. He actually owns Udemy.com, Youdemy.com as well as Ude.my, which I believe he uses as a URL shortener (via Bit.ly). A really nice one at that. Just as short as Goo.gl, shorter than Tcrn.ch and much shorter than Youtu.be. So how come he never registered Youde.my as well? Maybe he didn't think it was as important as the others, I don't know. But he certainly did a fantastic job in securing his domain names.

So for those reading this post who were not as fortunate enough to be able to secure their dream domain names, all is not lost. Creativity is the key here. Use your imagination, as it took me a while to come up with Jay L.ee. Jayl.ee vs. Jayjiehoonlee.com. The difference is similar to sushi vs. bullshit, don't you think? I hope that what I've learned & revealed so far will inspire others to secure their domain names before someone else does. People typically realize just how valuable their domain names are when they actually lose it. Don't end up like Gary E. Myers. All it took was for someone like myself to patiently wait 77 days or so (which is typically how long domain names take to fully expire) after he forgot to renew the domain name for it to expire on May 15, 2010. That day I paid 1&1 just $4.99 to take it away from him. And I won't forget to renew Musicgem.com, because I already know just how valuable this domain name is without ever losing it.

To summarize what I've said so far, say you currently own http://mycompany.com, http://getmycompany.com or whatever. Just make sure to Google ".ny domain" to see if an alternative like http://mycompa.ny can be registered, at least as a backup name.

Remember, Mr. Dotcom's clout is slowly fading. Just look at the growing popularity of the ".co" domain names that people are registering as alternatives. Claudio del Conde's Pick3 is a good example.

And don't forget there's also ".cm" domain names that can be perfect for URL shorteners with all vowels taken out of the company name, or for using the first letters of the words in your company name. For example, MusicGem's URL shortener is simply MG (yes, I proudly own a two letter domain name).

So are you ready to register your coolest domain name? Not so fast. There are actually some caveats to consider, especially when registering an unusual international domain name:

1) Check Wikipedia and do a basic search on the domain itself. Pay special attention to the current status of the domain to see whether it is active, discontinued, etc. Here are some examples:

  1. ".an" is currently being phased out.
  2. ".cs" has already been discontinued and split into ".cz" & ".sk".
  3. ".uy" at the moment only allows you to register at third level (*.com.uy, etc.), meaning there's a good chance that you will be able to register at second level (*.uy) sometime in the future.

2) Double-check the registration requirements / restrictions with the official website of that domain and / or Wikipedia as well as with at least two different registrars, as the requirements vary wildly according to each country and the descriptions of those requirements can also, believe it or not, vary wildly depending on what website you visit to look for information.

  1. For example, Wikipedia states that foreign entities can register ".ee" domains if they have an administrative contact with residence in Estonia. It also says that it's usually provided for free by the registrar. The official website for ".ee" states similar information in greater detail, along with an FAQ section. So after doing some price shopping, I found that 101domain offers it for $49 plus $24 for what they call a "trustee service" that's supposed to "satisfy most registration requirements". Most, meaning not 100%. Hmmm... I didn't really feel comfortable. Then I found out that Marcaria offers it for $62 and says there are no additional requirements. Needless to say, after doing my thorough research I went with Marcaria.
  2. ".an" requirements on the other hand are much more strict. Its website states that the "organization or entity requesting a domain name present an official Settlement Permit of one of the islands pertaining to Netherlands Antilles and that the organization or entity is registered at the Chamber of Commerce". Wikipedia states that "registrations must correspond to name or trademark of registrant" and that "proof of identity must be shown on registration". 101domain states that "registrant must have a company in the islands of Netherlands Antilles as well as a local contact person". Marcaria doesn't even register them (it only allows you to register "*.com.an" domain names). What this means is that if your first name is Conan, you had better be someone who has a lot of friends in high places and / or is seriously ballin' enough to be able to register Con.an. I bet Conan O'Brien can pull it off. That's how Twitter successfully registered T.co (and Overstock registered O.co), even though most other one letter ".co" domain names fall under the "restricted and reserved names" category. It can be done, but whoever wants that domain name will have to go through a LOT of major headaches to be able to get what he wants.

3) Double-check the integrity of the registrar you're interested in doing business with before opening up your wallet. For example, Google "Innter.net scam" and you'll quickly realize that you might want to think twice before paying Innter.net a penny for anything.

4) Make sure to do a lot of price shopping, as the prices vary wildly. For example, 101domain offers ".ms" domains for just $34.95, whereas Marcaria offers them for $100.

5) After paying, don't be surprised if the registrar emails you asking for a scanned copy of your credit card. This is pretty much standard these days, as there are so many scams going on from Nigeria, etc.

Finally, don't forget that after registering your coolest domain name, you should also consider registering all related domain names as well. This means that if you own Mycompany.com, you might want to also consider registering at least Mycompany.net & Mycompany.org. Then if you still have some change left to spare, register Mycompany.mobi, Mycompany.tel, etc. For example, within days after David Fuhriman & Kusno Mudiarto registered Cloudgirlfriend.com for one of their startups, Cloud Girlfriend, somehow Cloudgirlfriend.net, Cloudgirlfriend.org, Cloudboyfriend.com, Socialboyfriend.com, Socialgirlfriend.com and who knows what else were all taken by squatters. On the other hand, Syed Shuttari was able to successfully register Letsbreakfast.com & Letsdinner.com for his company, LetsLunch.

And that's it! If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask me and I'll try my best to provide a good answer. Good luck to everyone in securing their coolest domain names! :-)

You are here