Top 10 ways to find a free .com name

(This is a reprint from an article that appeared in the Name Awards blog back in February.)

Every week someone cries on my shoulder about how hard it is becoming to find free .com domain names. Well they are disappearing at the rate of 1 million a month, and have been doing so for a while, so what do you expect if you are only waking up now?

Anyway, here are my professional suggestions. Let me know what you think or pass along the list, with due credit to Athol Foden of Brighter Naming.

  1. Use a number in your name. e.g. 3Com, 2Wire, Tack360, etc. Works best if the name is mostly seen online and not used much on the phone.

  2. Use a different form of a verb.  e.g  Learning Spanish instead of Learn Spanish say. Or Brighter Naming instead of Bright Naming. Non-English languages often have lots of conjugations of their verbs providing even more options.

  3. Personalize or localize the name.  e.g.  iFly, MySpinnerTricks, YourBicycleTracks, OurFishingTrips, TexasBigGameSupporters, ScottishCurlingClub, CollegePaymentsUSA, etc.

  4. Coin new words from classic or other roots:  Miradiance  (Mira is Spanish/Latin for view), Frito Lay (Frito is Spanish for fried), Verantis (From verity = truth and Atlantis)
  5. Use initials as well:   PFChangs, PrintDNA, SugarCRM, NGMoco

  6. Combine parts of words: e.g. Solyndra from solar and cylinder, Sony from sonus and sonny, Transcera from transcend and era. Or even combine languages: e.g. NeuStar  (German + English words), Tambrio (English + Spanish).
  7. Go Hawaiian, or African, or …     Akamai, Wiki, Ubuntu, Zynga

  8. Squeeze vowels in (to make smoother pronunciations) like Avidasports, Affinaquest, or out (aka IM speak) to make for very short names like Flickr, Loopt, VCTRY.
  9. Go phonetic with something that just sounds good and create your own meanings:   Cisco, Kinkos, Zanitar, Jamba, Brivo, Ariba, Skype

  10. Work with a professional naming agency or consultant that tracks free domains and can also quickly implement one of the above techniques.

Number 10 is probably the least expensive solution when you consider the management time and legal headaches they also solve, especially now that competition has driven prices down below $6000 for corporate accounts, and much less for individuals or small businesses.

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