Posts Tagged ‘Domain Names’

July 11, 2016

Datayze Launched!

Last Friday night I quietly launched under my new name Datayze.com.

Unlike the other names I came up with, once I realized Datayze was available I felt like I had found “the” one not just “a” one. I pronounce it as data-yze as in “to data”. It has everything I was looking for: the credibility, the geek factor without being overly geeky, and it works across all my apps. At seven characters long it’s even one of my shorter domain names which is a nice bonus. But my favorite thing about it? When you pronounce it as data-yze it sounds like a call to action.

Even though it was love at first site for me, I polled my friends and family to get additional perspectives. Datayze was clearly a standout for them as well. DataLemma and DataQuod (Quad is latin for “fact”) were also favorites. The former is still up for sale if your interested. I never registered the later. As far as I know it is still available as well.

If there’s one drawback to Datayze it’s that it’s an off-by-one error of Datalyze. Datalyze.cc was one of the domain names I was initially thinking of, and one I was leaning towards for a while. I must admit I did type “datalyze.com” into the browser a few times when I was initially working on the migration.

Mistypings aside, I don’t view Datayze as a variant spelling. Sure, it’s one character different from both Datalyze, and Datatyze, two other domain names I considered. Unlike Dattaticks, which is one character different from the clearly better DataTicks, there isn’t a clear winner among Datayze, Datalyze or Datatyze. Each works on it’s own and independently of the others. I could see someone starting a company with any one of those names. Those two other names also aren’t being used even though they’ve been registered. Datalyze.com is a blank page and Datayze.com is a GoDaddy splash page. This means there’s no other website I could get confused with. It also gives me a chance to get out in front of users first and build my brand so that my domain is the one that gets the name recognition.

So far everything is running smoothly. I’ve set up 301 Redirects so the change should be mostly unnoticeable to my users. All old links and book marks should bring them to the right place. I even earned $2.04 over the weekend, which is higher than normal. It’s still early, but I’m optimistic that 2016 is going to be a very good year for my business. Here’s hoping.

Well that didn’t take too long. After dwelling on it, and dwelling on it, and dwelling on it, I think I’ve finally found the a name and it’s perfect.

Actually I came up with a few. Over the past month whenever I came up with a name I thought would be a possible solution I went ahead and registered it. I didn’t want to get burned like I did when I wanted to purchase my own name as a dotcom. Back in 2004 “styler.com” was the only form of my name that wasn’t available. Since I was so used to using my middle initial I decided to go with “sktyler.com”. By the time I realized I wanted “sarahtyler.com” someone had already registered it. Lesson learned: grab a possible domain name when it’s available!

Now that I’ve picked which name I’m going to go with, it’s time to release the others.

The first name I came up with was Dattaticks.com. My niche right now is all about data, and data munging to get interesting results. “Data Ticks” to me invokes an image of processing and graphing data. It fit well. The name DataTicks.com was registered only last November but currently points no where. All things being equal I would have gone with DataTicks.com if it were available.

DataLemma.com. Lemma is a mathematical term and linguistics term so it appealed to both my Math Geek and Word Nerd sides. In Math it’s a intermediate theorem or “helping” theorem. The phrase invokes to me the image of mathematical “helping” apps. The only drawback I see to this name is it’s highly geeky and not very approachable for every day users.

Since I’m not currently planning on using those names I decided to put them up on the NameCheap marketplace for $20 and $50 respectively. The price reflects what I think the name is worth. (Hey, it took me a ridiculous number of hours to come up with those! I am saving someone that time.) If by the time you’re reading this the auction is over but you still want the name and it’s still avaliable, message me and I’ll put it back up.

The third name I registered but never intended to make my company name is DataLies.com. One of the names I fell in love with was Datalyze.com, the combination of Data + Analyze. The DotCom was already registered, as was the Org, Net and the British spelling variants Datalize. The only name available was the .cc. I strongly considered it, but when test marketing it to none technical people they kept hearing “data lies”. I was shocked that DataLies was still available. This is an excellent blog name for disputing pseudo science people! I’m not sure when I’ll have time for another blog, but I couldn’t resist and snapped it up.

As for the name I did go with, that will be revealed soon. It’s probably a safe bet that it has the word “Data” in it though.

June 17, 2016

The Value of the URL

I’ve been going round and round with my domain name registrar, trying to find a new name. I’ve done the temporary, I’m ready for something more permanent. Do I go with a cutesy mispelling? A different gTLD besides the dotCom? The experts disagree. To help narrow down my search I thought it might be a good idea to jot down exactly what I hope to achieve with a new name.

I need something that screams “I know what I’m doing.”

The biggest thing I’m looking for is something that ads credibility. I think one of the things holding me back is the fact that I’m using my name to host my apps. I found users tend to have a bit of mistrust when it comes to personally own websites. Not that I can fault them, I would trust “MiscarriageInstitute.com” over “SarahsMiscarriageApps.com” any day. (Less reasonably, some people discount my apps because I’m female, even in 2016, so not revealing my gender may be advantageous).

This was the logic behind Aaron Patzer’s purchase of “mint.com.” Without a trustable name, he predicted no one would trust his start-up with their financial information. I know I wouldn’t.

There’s also something to be said about operating from a high value domain name. Either you’ve been around for a while, or you were able to raise enough capital to purchase the expensive domain name. Both indicate a level of success.

I want a company name, not an app name

My big take away from This 2013 Forbes article is that generic names are not necessarily valuable any more. Those names, especially when misspelled or “cutesy” spellings are often associated with spam sites.

I also don’t really want to be buying a new domain name for each of my apps. That would eat up my entire current profit margin. I’m more than a little worried that because I’m writing apps, as opposed to a static blog, my margins will stay razor thin even if I ever become popular. Apps require more bandwidth and more CPU time than static pages. More users consume more resources than need to be paid for. I’d like to keep costs down for the foreseeable future.

I want something I can build a brand around

I found a name that I loved, where the .com, .net. org, and .io were all taken but so far unused. The only one that was left the dot-cc gTLD. I strongly considered purchasing it, until I read I can expect as much as 25% of my traffic to go to the dot com instead. (This came from antidote evidence, so I didn’t site the source.) I didn’t want to spend all this time building a brand to make someone else’s domain name more valuable.

If I went with a non dot-com I’d likely want to purchase the dot-com eventually, unless the alternative gTLD was part of the brand identity. Of course the more successful my new business, the more the owner of the dot-com will want for the domain.

One of the things that I think is holding my business back is the lack of a good name/corporate identity. I track my incoming links pretty closely, and I’ve noticed a tendency for users to be more trusting for websites that look corporate rather than personal. That’s bad news for me as my business name is my name.

Frustration is finding a perfect name, and discovering it had been registered just days before you came with it.

When my search was coming up incredibly short, I started thinking about branching out from the standard dotcom/commercial names. The past couple of years has seen an Explosion in new top level domain names. These are corporate sponsored (application prices started at $185,000). The expansion of new domain names was build as good to companies as they could have greater control over their brand, and good for consumers since there would be more choices. I’ve always been a little skeptical of additional top level domain (gTLD) names – (how often can two corporate identities succeed while have the same name?) – but I now have a new reason to be skeptical. There may be more domain names technically available, but that doesn’t mean there are more functionally available.

As I was thinking about the domain names, I came across the .space extension. How cool would data.space be? And it wasn’t already registered! To my dismay I realized that even though it was unclaimed, it would cost me at least $5,000-$6,5000 A Year.

To back track a little, the price for a new dotcom domain (if you can find one) is relatively low at around $10. That’s because there are thousands of registrars who can offer dotcom names and competition is a consumer’s best friend. Competition puts pressure on registrars to keep their prices low. Some registrars will register what they consider premium domains so they can resell them for a higher fee, but there’s nothing from keeping a customer from transferring between registers once they acquire the domain to keep the future years’ pricing down.

Registrars who wish to sell dotspace domains need to be accredited through Radix. Radix, a for profit entity, can set the price as they see fit, and has decided to set the price relative to what they think a domain is worth. Sarah.space would also be 5k/year. Piano.space would be $1k/year. The much less cool Datam.space would only be $10 a year. As the company who applied for the dotspace gTLD from ICANN, Radix has full control.

This discovery has me a little nervous about trusting new (gTLD). While the expectation is for the price of these domains to come down, there’s no guarantee. There’s no guarantee the price wouldn’t rise in the future. It’s a risk I’m not willing to take when it’s already so difficult to build a brand.

It’s back to the drawing board for me. I’m currently considering a phonetic spelling of a dotcom name I like, but is registered and unused. At least there will be some cost certainty.

December 24, 2011

Owning My Own Name

It’s finally mine! I have my own name dot com!

Shortly after graduating from college, I decided I wanted to register my name as a domain name. Up until that point I had been using a pseudonym online. I was proud of my accomplishments and wanted a more professional presence online. At the time, the only combination of my name not available was “styler.com”. After debating about it for a few days, I went with sktyler.com, since I always use my middle initial and my school email address was ‘skt’. 18 Months later, I decided I wanted sarahtyler.com as well, but it was already gone! 18 months was all it took.

About a year ago I noticed the other Sarah Tyler was letting the domain name expire. I decided I wouldn’t let the opportunity to register it pass me by again. Exactly one year ago, Domingo and I set up a backorder (a service that tries to grab expiring domain names immediately as they expire). Apparently I was being naïve.

There’s only a small subset of people who would be interested in a domain name like sarahtyler.com, however both the .info and .net were already registered. Thus, from a speculator’s standpoint, it seems like a desirable domain name. After all, at least two people out there would probably register the dotcom given the opportunity. Someone may be willing to pay a premium for the domain name. As a result, one of those automatic domain resellers who specialize in acquiring and reselling expiring domains grabbed at it to, and was able to register it before we could. They were happy to sell it to me, for the $400!

Well there was no way I was going to pay that much so we thought we’d wait it out, hoping the automatic domain reseller would either let it go, or reduce the price. Afterall, there aren’t that many Sarah Tyler’s out there! I tried to be sneaky, never visiting the domain directly or giving any hint of my interest by searching for it. I’d visit the reseller’s website and do a series of searches, always trying to hide my true objective. I’d search for ‘sara’ rather than ‘sarahtyler’, and scan the results to see if the price change. (If the reseller knows someone wanted the domain, they have no incentive to lower the price, so I couldn’t just search for ‘sarahtyler’!)

Perhaps I wasn’t as sneaky as I thought, or maybe someone else was eyeing the domain name too. The next thing I knew the price climbed all the way to just shy of $1000! At that point I decided to let it go. I wasn’t willing to pay $400, and I certainly wasn’t willing to pay $1000!

Well, this past week I decided I’d give it one more shot. The price had dropped to $100. It was time to strike. All total with the back order, I spent $120 acquiring the name. Had I registered it in 2004 when it was available, I would have paid roughly $80 over the years, so at least my mistake isn’t costing me too much extra money. Could I have let it go and tried to get a lower price? Sure, but at some point I would have run the risk of another Sarah Tyler wanting it, and then I would be back in the same spot I was in seven years ago.

I also have two ‘lessons learned’ from the experience, if you’re in the market for acquiring domains:

(1) Backordering can be pretty worthless. I’ve had success, and heard of success from others, when the company being used for the backordering is also the same company the domain is registered through. In thesis instances, the register typically does not release the domain, just changes the registry information. Otherwise, domain resellers and squatters typically win backordering attempts, as they have more machines and more resources dedicated to acquiring a domain the millisecond it becomes available.

(2) If the domain is available, and you think you might want it either now or in the future, register it! It really should have occurred to me to register SarahTyler.com when I saw it was available. $10 a year is not that much in the grand scheme of things, and once you’re domain is registered there’s no guarantee the other person will ever be willing to part with it!

March 1, 2011

What’s in a name?

I recently came across an article on the internet claiming that .co’s were going to be the next big thing for domain names. The argument is the .co is close to .com, and looks like it’s short for “company”, even though .co is a country code top level domain (ccTLD) for Republic of Colombia. The top level domain .co’s aren’t new (although the ease of registering them is), and neither is the logic. The same statement was rehashed for .biz’s, the .us’s, the .cc’s and the .ws’s (some claim .ws is meant to be “website”, but it too is a ccTLD, for Western Samoa), and will be repeated as new TLDs are created. The argument is simple: we’re running out of good .com domain names, so surely some other extension must become popular. Yes, it’s true that thousands of domains are registered a day, the lion’s share are still the .coms

As I see it, there is one critical flaw in the argument to register non-dot coms: for companies, it’s all about brand. No company wants their brand to be confused with someone else’s – unless they can profit from it, of course. Go ahead, I challenge you to come up with a domain name which has been registered with two different top level domains, and belong to different successful companies. I’ll even let you define successful.

Sure there are some examples of famous companies with non-dot com names. The most famous example is probably del.ico.us. But if you notice, del.icio.us now forwards to delicious.com. Once del.ico.us had enough equity, they purchased the .com. I recently discovered binged.it, which is also very clever and also redirects to bing.com. The fact that del.ico.us is the defacto non-dot com example used also shows how hard it is to come up with a creative non-dot com name. Wikipedia, slashdot and others use .org, but they also have the .com registered, and can redirect traffic to their .org as need be.

But don’t take my word for it that dot coms aren’t going anywhere, let’s look at some numbers.

The percentage of newly registered domains that were dot-coms only slightly decreased from 67.7% in 2008 to 65.0% in 2010.   This number accounts for new registrations, and does not including existing registrations which are already dominated by .coms.  To reach this conclusion, I used HosterStats from 2008 and HosterStats from 2010. The top level domains .us and .co as were not available to this particular register in 2008 and .me, .asia was not available in all of 2008. Often individuals and companies buy “add-on” domains to prevent anyone else from owning them. As new top level domains come online, we expect a bump in registration the first month it is available. We didn’t want this “Add-on” bump to affect out analysis, so we removed .co’s, .us’s, .me’s and .asia from analysis. Simply put, over half of newly registered domains are .coms.

Even accounting for add-on bump, the popularity of .co’s is less than random. Using the August to November statistics from 2010 HolsterStats, the percentage of domain registrations in August, September and November are .co’s are 4.5%. The registrar has 19 different top level domains. A randomly selected top level domains is 5.3% likely to be .co. Thus, when users have a choice, they prefer .co’s less than a user who selects a top level domain purely at random. There is not a strong preference for .co’s.

On the other hand – of the other domains, .Info is growing in popularity. While there are fewer .info’s than .net or .orgs, newly registered domain name are almost as likely to be .info than .net and .org, combined. We see this to be true in DomainTools. According to HolsterStats, domains with .info made up less than 1% of all domains registered in 2008, but 14.1% in 2010. This finding has peaked my interest since .info’s have been around since 2001 and were always easy to register. Why then are they now becoming popular?  Is this localized to DomainTools and HolsterStats, or a more global phenomenon? Of course, in terms of raw numbers, .net and .org are still more popular than .info.

Do does this mean every single new domain should be a dot com? Clearly not. There are a number of successfully branded non-dot com examples, and .infos seem to be raising in popularity. But dot coms are still the option that is strongly preferred by the internet community. It still seems to be the de facto standard.