Recently we've been looking for a domain name for our new service (which is in stealth mode). Finding a memorable, simple, catchy, meaningful and available domain name is now the most critical part of the branding process.
Because it is so hard to find such names, new companies are using non-sense words that sounds cool. The other day, I was looking at the new web 2.0 companies list and noticed that almost half of them were taking this approach. Here are some examples:
wondir, planzo, jambo, shozu, goowy, tagyu, squidoo, simpy, rollyo, squishr, sdkobo, gravee, meebo, vimeo, veoh, imvu, kanoodle, favoor, filangy, lexxe, pxn8, jookster, quimble, mozy, riffs, gabbr, congoo, reddit, zoozio, findory, frappr, oyogi, brbr, zazzle, nuwo, yakalike, ning, ookles, oodle, aerool, platial, diigo, zurpy, ziggs, digg, wrickr, yedda, blummy, skobee, renkoo, kiko, zimbra, yubnub, jyve, sxip, dabble, ispott, elgg, odeo, plurn, attensa, gliffy, swicki, glige, rewer, megite, rabble, etsy, trulia, seekum, zipongo, qumana, egorrss, esnips, stickam, awenu, gootodo, fotki, loomia, listal, yackpack, joyent, myme, muiso, paguna, grokker, glendor, fluxiom, rrove, meetro, vongo, doostang, jobazaar, closo, immedi, magnoto, xanga, wist, bitty, zopa, rojo, wallop, krugle, mofile, zingee, bryght, kulando, tagzania, kratia, swabba, mabber, lovento, gravatar, pulfwd, flock, tagalag, askeet, asoboo, orkut, newroo, mologogo, fuzz, kajeet, squeet, jamendo, sonr, edgeio, douban, zaadz
But even coming up with these kind of non-sense words can be challenging. I thought there should be a web service that suggests new domain names, but it is quite surprising that there are very little, if any, such services out there today. The only ones that I found useful are nameboy and sedo.
Nameboy, as it name implies, is an intelligent domain naming search site. You enter the primary and optional secondary word and it suggests a list of domain names. What I like about this feature is that it also looks for synonyms and finds good combinations. I especially enjoyed their Gen service, which is yet in beta. Gen is a random word generator which uses the phonological rules of English to generate new words, and it did come up with lots of interesting domain names that sounded cool. The only problem that I had with nameboy is that sometimes they would say such domain is available, but when you actually check it, it is already taken. I guess there is a time delay for synchronizing their domain database.
sedo is a domain registrar that supports domain name auctions. They provide a domain search tool which is IMHO one of the best that exists today. It supports keyword search with prefix and postfix, and you can also set the category, price, date, popularity (based on traffic), length and language. They also have a 'quality' measure but it is unclear to me how they calculate it. The only problem is that this is a domain auction site, so the domain name you find will not be available without paying premium. However, I have found that there are plenty of decent domain names that are affordable (< $1K). In fact, I bought a domain for my company for about $300, and the process was very quick and smooth. The idea is that since all the good names are already taken, instead of looking for available domains, it could be easier to find good domain names for sale.
Although I liked both of these services, neither of them were good enough. I believe there are huge needs for intelligent domain name search/recommendation services, and I really think this is not too difficult a problem to solve. Until someone comes up with one, we'll have to keep using the old-fashioned way of branding - just being creative!