Squadhelp's Curated Brandable Domain Marketplace accepts only about 8% of domains submitted for consideration. We select names based on what is most likely to perform well in the Marketplace. So, what exactly are we looking for?
The first thing we look at when assessing a domain is whether or not it is "usable." A name should meet the following criteria to be considered usable:
- Read to speak - Can you easily read the name out loud to your friends and colleagues? You should be able to say the name without guessing at the pronunciation. As one example, Greek language words can be powerful, but some have non-standard spelling (chilioi, treis, morphe). Most people won't know what to do with the ioi, ei, or the ending of morphe.
- Hear to spell - When someone hears the name out loud, can they write it down with the correct spelling? Make sure the phonetics of the name make sense. For example, if you say "Zyrtelle" out loud, someone may think it is spelled Zirtel, Zirtelle, Zyrtel, Zyrtell, etc. Ambiguous spelling makes branding difficult.
- Speak to hear - Your name should pass the crowded bar test. If you are in a crowded room or talking over the phone, is the name easy to understand? For example, if you say "Eggsport" out loud in a bar, your friends might think you said "Export" or "Expert."
- Euphonious - while not as important as the other three items on the usability list, it can't hurt for a name to sounds good. Energetic sounds and poetic devices like rhyme and assonance make a name more memorable. A domain that uses pleasant sound combinations is more likely to be accepted to the marketplace because it will be catchier for audiences.
If your name does not pass these usability tests, it will probably not make it into the marketplace. Even the most powerful and meaningful names need to check these boxes.
Powerful names harness words and concepts that have strong brand value. These speak to big ideas that many brands will want to associate with and set a solid foundation for the brand that decides to adopt the name. Some categories of powerful names include:
- Emotional - These names use emotional pulls to resonate with audiences. Names like "Greenpeace" and "Promise Hill" are emotional and set an expectation from the brand.
- Brandable story - Names that contain a story within can help support a brand's growth. For example, a name like "Fifth Pivot" has story elements by hinting at a process and new direction or trial and error that leads to success. "Robinhood" is a great example of a business name that tells a story by using a well known hero as a business name.
- Catchy, cute, or fun - These names are memorable because they get stuck in the mind. Often, they use rhymes, puns, or jokes. Names like "SipTrip," "Perch Perfect," or "Friday Fig" are fun and memorable.
- Memorable visual elements - If a name creates an interesting visual, it is more memorable and impactful. Names like "Red Bull" or "Ember and Elder" are visuals that work for brands.
- Aligns with very powerful meaning - When a name has a powerful meaning behind it, brands find it easier to work with. "Gravitory" is a name that speaks to gravity, which refers to a powerful force that draws things in. This makes it an attractive name because it ties to a big idea that can support a brand.
When thinking about powerful names, you have to think about how the words in the domain work together.
The two words should compliment each other, even if they create a tension like "Lazy Dog." They should not sound redundant, boring, or make no sense.
Names like "EnvyFun," "BreakJoin," "RareNow," "BlueDefeat," or "SafeBlush" combine random power words. Each of these ten words are powerful, but combined as they are, they do not fit together in a meaningful or intriguing way.
Two word-domains can be very strong and memorable, but if the words don't fit together, the name will have no impact.
A name that hints at or describes what a company, brand, or product does or is all about is desirable for many businesses. These names will tie in clearly and directly to an industry or a familiar experience. Some examples of pragmatic categories include:
- Popular phrase - Popular phrases like "GoAway" or "HelloThere" can make strong domains because people can connect with the experience and remember the name.
- Single English word - Single English word domains like Exactly.com are always desirable because they are easy to remember and carry a certain respectability and gravitas for businesses that use them.
- Real Product category words - Names like Hotels.com and Kombucha.com relate to what is being sold, which make them very practical.
- Keyword(s) - Names that use industry keywords like "Curb" or "Key" for real estate or "Block" or "Crypto" for a blockchain or cryptocurrency business are attractive to buyers because these keywords are often how they get found. A name that includes an important keyword might be more likely to get accepted to the Marketplace. CarMax is a great example of this type of name.
- Hot industry - Any up-and-coming industries like Cannabis or Crypto are needed on the Marketplace. For example, a name like "Hempsi.com" connects to the cannabis industry, and it passes the other tests. These names appeal to people who are trying to get started in the industry as it is booming.
Pragmatic names connect directly to the business in a practical way. There are many ways to come up with a pragmatic name, and we look forward to seeing your ideas.
All else equal, short names are better because many people looking to buy domains prefer short names.
- Character count - Names below six characters are in demand. "HeyNo.com" is a strong five letter domain, but abstract options like "Avezzi.com" also work well simply because they are short and usable. On the other hand, names that are nine or more characters need to pass all the other tests with flying colors (powerful, pragmatic and usable).
- Syllables - Similar to characters count, names that have two or less syllables are much more desirable, and names with four or more syllables such as "Luxiorely" will rarely be accepted.
- Number of words - Finally, one word names like Overview.com are best, two words like TruthLantern.com are good, and three or more words will not typically make it into the Marketplace. That is, unless it is a very strong phrase like MeThenWe.com or intriguing This and That names like AmberAndForge.com.
Why Else Are Names Rejected?
If you are trying to submit a name and feel you have kept the above criteria in mind, but you find you are being rejected, here are a few other reasons your domain may not be the best fit for our Marketplace:
- Too niche - If a name is too specific to one particular possible use, then we may not put it on the Marketplace. The Marketplace names have to be flexible and fit with more than one use, so a domain like "SocksForCats.com" is too specific and will likely not make it on our list.
- Non-.com - Typically, we only accept .com domains in our curated Marketplace. We make exceptions for very strong .io, .co, and other TLDs, typically if they are a single real word like Planners.co.
- Confusing - Any domains that do not make sense, are too hard to say, or break any of the other above rules will be rejected. A name like "CrunchyWater" is confusing.
- Generic - People come to the Marketplace looking for interesting, intriguing names that capture people's attention.
- Price expectations - If your expected listing price is near to our pricing philosophy, we will reach out to see if you are interested in moving forward with a listing price that is a bit lower than your initial request. However, if there is a large gap between our pricing assessment and your expectations, the submission will be rejected. For example, the name EverSassy.com is a strong, two-words, nine-characters, four-syllables domain listed below $2,000 on the Marketplace. If submitted with a requested listing price of $8,000 or more, it would be rejected.
Thank you for submitting your ideas for our consideration. We review each and every submission to see if it is a good fit for our Marketplace. If your submission is rejected, we encourage you to come up with more name ideas and try again.