As I work on UI prototypes for the new web venture, I've been brainstorming names for the web site we're building. I've surveyed some of the finest minds in the software developer community (for very small values of "fine"), and we've come to a collective realization: naming a website is hard. Really, really hard.
To demonstrate, Jeff has posted the results of his brainstorming in the form of a poll. Of course, everyone's a critic. From the comments:
Privatevoid sounds like a bodily function. :) -- Andy Lee.¹
How about "codercountry.com"? -- Dan K.²
I must have that kinda brain, i never have trouble coming up with names! , develogical, devel-lution, Develutionary, codaholics, (and codaholicsanonymous ) savethecoder, (the obvious, d'oh) softwaredeveloperscommunity, softwareslew, all have every op available but not for long! Oh but better jump on softminded! I have MANY more, but keeping em to myself, will let them go for the right "price" -- D.³
hexoffenders.com :p -- Gustavo Duarte 4
Ah yes: naming is hard. So is programming. So are graphic design, tax law, biochemistry, and cabinetmaking. I do one of those things and not the others. And here's what I know about that one thing:
1. Just because you're very good at one skill, like programming, doesn't necessarily mean you're very good at another, like name development
2. Brainstorming is a useful technique, but not the only one, in the name-development process.
3. Never, ever submit your naming choices to a focus group.5
4. Buying a domain is not the end of the world, if the domain is a strong one. It isn't necessarily even a budget-breaker.
5. You can't develop a good name if you haven't first researched the competitive landscape, created a brand personality, and laid the rest of the creative foundation.
6. Professional name developers are your friends. Commenter Mark nailed it:
I think you are asking the wrong people... "branding" (that's what this is) is not typically a skill most software developers possess. Do you know any creative directors/brand experts? If so, I would recommend you get their advice!
¹ I vote for "Private Void" for the title of a graphic novel about an angst-ridden GI serving his third tour in Iraq.
² Dan K., let me introduce you to marketing savant Seth Godin, who warns of the perils of generic naming: "Jewelry Central is a really bad brand name. So are Party Land, Computer World, Modem Village, House of Socks and Toupee Town."
³ You go, D.! I'm sure none of us can afford your "price."
4 This is actually pretty funny, if you get the reference to "hex."
5 For one thing, you run the risk of someone in the group snapping up the domains and holding them for ransom.