Naming our startup is one of the first thoughtful decisions we have to make. In this session we will see couple of pointers which will make naming our startup a bit straight forward.
When I started my company, my ultimate goal was to create products which saves time; so I looked for a name which has the essence of science & fantasy so came up with Timebender Technologies.
Naming of our products followed a straightforward pattern of having a name which fits its theme, so emojiball is the game which had balls with emoji, Talk about News is an app where the news can be shared with voice, larynx is an app where any web content can be shared with voice, larynxBot is a bot which provides voice summary. ATMBot is a bot which provides information on ATMs & FindDate helped users to find a date!
Coming up with a creative & purposeful name will fall short if we cannot use the name of our brand to its fullest.
Things which we should definitely check for availability when naming our brand & business are,
Say we have come up with a super cool name for our product, if it is not unique then it is likely that the top level domain for it like .com is registered already. SEO experts tend to agree that it’s best if the domain name doesn’t contain more than three words, so there is much competition for domain names with one or two words; especially if it includes a keyword.
If a top level domain is unavailable for our chosen brand name, we can try for the next best domain extensions like .net, .org, .co (or) we can choose an extension which helps to market our product or service for a short term; like if our product or service is a niche utility we can choose ‘.io’ like ouo.io, codepen.io or our larynx.io.
If our product or service involves AI, we can choose .ai extension like we did with our ICR.ai which was our research platform for our bots, but we should remember that though, .io, .ai can give a short term marketing opportunity; in the long run a top level domain is always recommended. More over, .io, .ai is not purpose built extensions but rather belongs to specific countries & choosing those domains doesn’t necessarily add value to those individual countries adding an ethical & moral dilemma to the mix.
Checking the availability of the handle for our brand on social networks & chat apps is important as it enables our customers to associate the social networks with our brand easily and helps with our brand recognition. With chat apps consisting of millions & even billions of users, it is an ecosystem of its own & so it’s essential that we reserve our handle in the name of our brand on the chat apps as well.
If the name of the product we have come up with has already been trademarked by another entity for offering similar services in the same market we are offering our services, then it’s best if we look for another name. There are chances, that the entity holding on to the trademark is willing to sell their trademark to us; but it is up-to us to decide whether the investment on buying the trademark is worth it for our business. But choosing a non trademarked name or a name which has been trademarked by us is crucial for couple of things.
It’s highly likely our business might need an app some day or our business itself is based upon an app; then we should check the availability of our brand name in Appstore, Playstore or any other marketplace where our app would be distributed.
For distributing our iOS or Mac app on Appstore, we need to check for the name availability using Apple developer account & if our name is available it is advised to reserve our name for future development; it is generally said that the name would be available for 150 days to those who have reserved it, but in my experience I have never seen any app name which I had reserved for more than 150 days get unreserved. If our name is unavailable in Appstore & we have trademark for that name, we can communicate with Apple to make the name available for our use.
Android apps on Playstore can have duplicate names, so there is no reservation procedure there. But like Appstore, a trademarked name or a brand name belonging to established business can claim their name or even remove our app based on copyright. So it is essential that we have valid claim towards our brand name in any application market place.
We need to check our name for cultural, political & current events appropriateness. The name we have come up with could be inappropriate in a foreign language and if we are planning to take our brand global, then it is necessary to perform a cultural-linguistic check.
There are services like WordSafety where we can check our name for safety ourselves or there are services which do it for us. We should ensure that the name is checked for phonetic matching i.e. the name we come up with doesn’t sound inappropriate, also we need to check against current events.
Tata Motors, an automobile company which owns Jaguar, Land Rover were about to release their much anticipated car in 2016 called ‘Zica’ just when Zika virus epidemic struck the world; Tata motors promptly rebranded their car to Tiago before release.
Say we have followed the earlier suggestions to the point & still have couple of names to choose from; then I would recommend choosing a name which comes top in the alphabetical order to feature our company at a better position in any list which orders by alphabet.
The authority behind the registration of our company would likely check for conflict with existing company names & will ask us to choose a different name if there is any conflict.
Depending upon where we are registering our company, there could be rules against using certain words in the name of our company e.g. In India, it was said that we cannot keep prefix India in the name of your company unless we have a trademark for it; like wise we have to check our local company naming guidelines.
By the way, should we register our startup as a company before we have a viable business? Let’s check it out in the next content; consider liking & subscribing to the hitstartup for that.