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NewYorker article gives insight into the Brand Naming process – and why your brandable domains may be so valuable

2011 October 3
by Nat

Naming companies spend months and weed through thousands of names before settling on a new brand name for a major product launch, according to a recent article entitled Famous Names, in the NewYorker.   The lengthy article follows a company called Lexicon, and tells the story of the creative process that resulted in the brand names BlackBerry, PowerBook, Swiffer, and Pentium among others.

After reading about the amount of time, effort, and brain power devoted to coming up with a new brand name, I have a new appreciation for how valuable the domain name must be that is the exact match for that newly minted product name.

The number of high-tech trademarks has jumped from under 10,000 in 1980 to over 300,000 now, according to the article, suggesting a huge demand for brandable domains.

The usual qualities of a great name are that it is short, has a consonant-vowel pattern, and has a pleasant sound.  But the art is to evoke the “story” of the product, even if it results in a product name that is not intuitive.   A successful brand is likened to a short poem, capturing the essence of many associations and meanings in one word.

An abstract of the article is available for free.  A subscription is required for the full article.



3 Responses leave one →
  1. October 5, 2011

    Nice find. I used to own a load of 5 letter .com domains that were brandable and quite pleasant sounding. I sold a few but never hit the big jackpot with a marketing company or big business that wanted one. Worth a punt though.

    • Nat permalink*
      October 6, 2011

      A while back I brainstormed a bunch of brandable sounding made-up words. I thought that perhaps a naming company would come up with a new name that matched one of these domains. But after holding them for a few years with no interest, I let most of them drop.

      For example, one was (since re-registered by someone else) and another was (currently available). I held on to others such as

      I was surprised at how hard it was to come up with available made-up domains. 90%+ of the ones I tried were already registered. Many were held by domainers. Frank Schilling owned a bunch.

      It sounds like you did well to sell a few of your 5 letter .com domains. I wonder if the investment was profitable for you.

      I agree that a brandable, pleasant sounding five-letter dot-com domain, is likely worth a shot.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. October 12, 2011

    Nice article Nat. Looks like Branding is Big business.

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