How to Crowdsource Choosing a Brandable Domain Name

“Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool. Brand affinity is clearly hard wired. It is so fundamental to human existence that it’s not going away”. – Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google Inc. “Brands are the sum total of how someone perceives a a particular organisation”. – Ashley Friedlein, CEO and Co-founder, Econsultancy The Internet is a very fast changing world. As soon as a trend settles in, it is changed; creative destruction at its best. Domain names are how inter users, through the mesh of search engines, are going to connect to your organisation/product/service. They necessarily would not have your URL to access, hence the search engine is a very important filter. What’s more important is that you are ‘seen’ as soon as possible in the search page. Search Engine Optimising services strategise on this.

Another study comparing different visible domain extensions (.com, .net, .org, .info, .biz), .com is the clear winner. Domain names with .com extensions are more ‘seen’ by the search engine results. Another way the SEO provider optimises the websites is by using keywords to link articles. (For example key words ‘dog food’ will be linked to a pet-food company selling dog food – dogfood.com). But these were the old days of the internet, and since this strategy was (and is) so oversubscribed that obtaining a keyword domain name with a .com extension is very difficult (read very expensive). So choosing domain names require some re-strategising (read: use brands). Spencer Yao of Search Engine Journal laid out certain guidelines for selecting a domain name in the very-competitive jungle of The Internet. The key points are

  • Pick a .com extension.
  • Be memorable.
  • Be relevant.
  • Easy to spell.
  • Sound authoritative.
  • Shorter is better.
  • Be unique.

(Explaining them is beyond the scope of this article). Admittedly choosing a domain name which satisfies all the above condition is rare. Rare, for a single mind anyways. Enter crowdsourcing. Croudsourcing are essentially Focus Groups activities with an online presence and mush easier to access. You can use crowdsourcing to select a domain name (which satisfies the above mentioned conditions) for you.

Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing domain name selection offers several key benefits.

  • It offers wide varieties of ideas at a reasonable (cheap) cost. Although it does raise ethical questions on labour costs and underpaid work.
  • It helps you break free of your own biases.
  • It might help you find a domain name which is not already registered.

Outlined are some of the ways domain name ideas can be sourced from Crowdsourcing.

Ideas from Crowdsourcing contests

Companies such as ‘Namestation’, ‘Naming Force’ and ‘Squad’ facilitate gathering ideas from domain names. You describe what your business does, what your target market is and other vital information. You design the project and decide on the compensation plan. Each company has a minimum payscale, but if you offer significantly more amount than their minimums, more participants would be interested. The benefits are that large volumes of fresh ideas are generated, much more than what you could do in-house and instant feedback is provided from the potential consumers. The trade-offs however are to be considered. Names submitted are not necessarily free of trademarks, the suggestions can be of poor quality and some websites would require you to pay the winner regardless of the fact you use the domain name or not.

Structured feedback from an Online Survey

It is similar to media companies and consumer brands using focus groups to get feedback. This can now be done for literally pennies. Construct a questionnaire about the image of the domain name, what it communicates etc. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk allows this, it also filters the participants according to your demographic needs. The benefits are high flexibility and cost effectiveness, target market defined and responses restricted from them and large pool of participants. The trade-off are well thought out questionnaires, domain name options have to created in-house and certain demographics might not be available.

Virtual Brainstorm Sessions

This is a more dynamic environment that mere surveys. Identify the goal of the session aka identify 25 to 30 domain names options, recruit session members from companies such as Odesk.com and Elance.com, send sessions goals and timelines to participants, set up a virtual meet on Google+ Hangouts or Skype, allow the sessions to flow naturally for the most part. Significant planning time and expense are the tradeoffs with this option.

Santosh Gautam is a regular Guest Blogger in many communities and he is connected with lots of internet blogger and also loves to share their unique and informative ideas in her blog. He is expertise in to article writing. In her spare time; Santosh loves to play video games with her children. She is a big fan of Manchester United. You can easily connect with her G+ | Facebook | LinkedIn

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