All the good names are taken

Subscribe to Email Updates

Domain namesIwas talking to the MD of a British software company a while back. The company has a reasonably memorable, six-letter .com domain name. Several years ago when the company was young and struggling, out of the blue someone rang him up and offered him $5,000 for the name. He thought about it and figured that wouldn't cover the cost of changing the name and printing new stationery etc. They came back the next day and offered $25,000. He was tempted but said no a second time.

At this point the anonymous buyer revealed themselves as a corporate lawyer acting for a major multinational corporation who wanted the name to launch a whole new product range and offered him $250,000 for the name. Two days later they came back and offered him $250,000 for the name. He thought very hard about this - it was a lot of money. But then he figured that it was his name and that his business was not domain name speculation but software development and he kept the name. The multinational had to find a new name for their product. The interview was in a different context and I don't think it would be right to mention his name.

A friend of ours had a couple of minor roles in the recent Star Wars films and got back from the premiere to find that every variant of his own name, recast as a domain name, had been reserved. If you plan to be famous, bag your own name first!

I came across this fascinating article* about domain names. It has a lot of interesting statistics, including:

  • All two- and three-letter .com domain names have been taken.
  • 80 per cent of four-letter names have gone
  • The most popular domain name length is 11 characters
  • All the popular male and female first names and popular surnames have been taken

I only got my own personal domain, Stibbe.net, because the Dutch law firm of the same name (distant relative) hadn't registered it. Lucky really, because I think now they would get every variant and national registry as a matter of course.

* [Update 20.3.13 - site not available]

Matthew Stibbe

Matthew is founder and CEO of Articulate Marketing.