10 Apr2013

Get a Free Naming Consultation When You Sign Up for a Lean Domain Search Account

Posted by Matt Mazur (@mhmazur)

Chances are that if you've ever built a website, you know how hard it can be to find the right domain name. Not only do you have to come up with a name that suits its purpose, but it also has to be available for you to register or buy. It's easy to see why some organizations spend weeks and tens of thousands of dollars coming up with the perfect name.

For many of you, Lean Domain Search's domain name generator will be all you need to find the perfect domain name for your next website. For others, a one-on-one approach with someone who has experience naming websites might be more helpful. For example, maybe you just can't find a name you like no matter how hard you search. Or maybe you have found several good names but can't decide on a specific one. This can be incredibly frustrating and if you have no one to ask you might wind up second-guessing your decision.

In an effort to better serve those of you struggling to find a domain name, I'm now offering a free one hour consultation to anyone who signs up for a Lean Domain Search account.

There are two paid accounts that you can sign up for: $79 for two months of access or $199 for yearly access. This offer is open to anyone who signs up for either of these plans and is retroactive so if you signed up in the past you can still take advantage of it.

If you'd like help naming your website, simply sign up for an account and then shoot an email to matt@leandomainsearch.com. The consultations are completely confidential so I'll never share any details about your product or company without your permission.

Thanks!

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9 Apr2013

Lean Domain Search's Brandable Domain Names Section Surpasses 50 Registered Domain Names

Posted by Matt Mazur (@mhmazur)

The new Brandable Domain Names section on Lean Domain Search achieved a small milestone this weekend when it passed 50 registered domain names.

At the time of this writing there have been 510 domain names released, 54 of which have been registered (10.5%).

One interesting result of releasing one domain name per hour is that the farther back you go, the more likely it is that a domain name will have been registered. This makes sense when you think about it: a domain name that has been listed on this page for a week will have been viewed by a lot more people than a domain name that was only listed an hour ago. You can see how this plays out on the brandable domain names list which has relatively few registered domain names at the top of the list (the ones most recently released), but a lot towards the bottom (the ones that have been listed for a while):

It's a small milestone for what is still a small part of Lean Domain Search, but one that validates the idea and encourages me to press forward with it.

Here's to the next 50 and beyond :)

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1 Apr2013

Lean Domain Search and the Coming Change in Domain Name Search

Posted by Matt Mazur (@mhmazur)

DomainNameWire published a really interesting article last week titled The Coming Change in Domain Name Search where Andrew Allemann talks about the impact of gTLDs on domain search:

This year will truly be the end of an era. Saying it’s the end of an era because of the elimination of the drop down box, a staple of domain search for over a decade, misses the point. The bigger story is a move from “dumb search” to “smart search”. Most registrars currently have basic search systems. Give them a query, and they’ll respond with the match. That simply won’t cut it going forward. Smart domain search is a big, complex problem.

For a practical example, consider a pizza shop owner looking for a domain name:

Perhaps it makes sense to show johns.pizza, johns.restaurant, johnspizza.restaurant, or johnspizza.food to this customer. Showing these top level domains to most consumers, such as those that search for generic terms, doesn’t make sense. Registrars will need to determine when it makes sense to show a new top level domain ahead of .com in the search results. In the case of a search for “Johns Pizza Shop”, showing JohnsPizzaShop.com makes no sense because it is already registered. Unless it’s for sale on the aftermarket, the registrar won’t by able to convert a registration for the domain. Search results may include other .com domains, but registrars will need to analyze their data to determine exactly what to promote for each individual search.

Lean Domain Search is in a good position to help bring order to the coming chaos, but the real question is whether or not it makes sense to do so.

In the past I experimented with including a link to the .net and .org search results for your search (the default is .com) and only about 2% of visitors viewed them. Let me say that again because it's worth emphasizing: When presented with the option of viewing potentially better .net and .org domain names, only about 1 in 50 visitors even bothered checking them out.

That begs the question, does it even make sense to include the results from the new gTLDs?

The answer might lie in a hybrid approach: rather that letting you view the full search results for other TLDs (.net, .org, .restaurant, etc) maybe I only display the exact-match domain names if they are available and I do that directly above the .com search results. If you search for "JohnsPizza", for example, Lean Domain Search will return the standard .com search results, but it also checks whether JohnsPizza.net, JohnsPizza.org, JohnsPizza.food, etc are available.

It might look something like this:

And then maybe based on the search term, it could prioritize how to order the gTLD results. For example, if your search term includes something related to food, then show the food ones (.restaurant, .food, .pizza) above the tech ones (.app, .blog, etc).

It's a hard problem and one that most of the major registrars are probably looking at right now. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

What do you think? Should Lean Domain Search include search results from the other TLDs or stay focused on .coms? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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26 Mar2013

Introducing Lean Domain Search's New Brandable Domain Names Section

Posted by Matt Mazur (@mhmazur)

I'm thrilled to officially announce the launch of a new section on Lean Domain Search that focuses exclusively on brandable domain names. Unlike keyword based domain names (think PostHaven, GitHub, etc), brandable domain names do not have a specific meaning and therefore can be applied to a wide variety of websites (think Google, Mozilla, etc).

If you'd like to skip the background you can head straight over to it by clicking on the Brandable link in the navigation bar or clicking here:

Visit the new Brandable Domain Names section

Background

On January 30, 2009 I launched my first web app, Domain Pigeon, on HackerNews. It looked something like this:

Like this new feature of Lean Domain Search, Domain Pigeon helped you find brandable .com domain names. Later, I expanded to include Twitter names as well.

The site did remarkably well and was even written about on ReadWriteWeb, a milestone that I did not appreciate until much later.

The funny thing is that I never thought Domain Pigeon was very good. My original intent was to build what Lean Domain Search now is. I wanted you to be able to type in a term, have Domain Pigeon pair your term with other keywords, and quickly show you which were available. At the time though I was relatively inexperienced as a web developer and didn't know how to build a tool that could do that (it's pretty hard to do fast, bulk domain search). Instead, I settled on generating brandable domain names and that became Domain Pigeon.

I worked on it for a few months but eventually lost interest, shut it down, and moved on to Preceden, my second web app, which I launched about a year later in January 2010.

Domain Pigeon 2.0, aka Lean Domain Search

As I became a better developer, I slowly picked up the skills I needed to build that fast bulk domain search tool. In the fall of 2011 I started working on what would become Lean Domain Search, eventually launching in January 2012.

For its entire existence Lean Domain Search has been focused on helping you find quality keyword-based domain names.

However, I always wanted to go back to its roots and build out a section for finding brandable domain names. With today's launch, I'm happy to say that that's now a reality.

Brandable Domain Names Section

There are a few quick things I want to point out and then you can play around with it:

  • One new domain name is released at the top of every hour. At the time of this writing there are 183 domain names, 15 of which have already been registered (8%). I expect that percentage to go up as more people learn about it.
  • New domain names appear at the top of the list, but you can also sort by length or alphabetically.
  • Confirming a domain name's availability. Like the keyword search, you can click on a domain name to confirm that it is still available. If it comes back as registered it will turn pink for you and all future visitors.
  • You can favorite domain names that you're interested in. After you confirm that a domain name is available you can click on the star next to it's name to mark it as as a favorite (it will turn yellow).

That's about it for now. Love it? Hate it? I'd love to get your thoughts in the comments or by email: matt@leandomainsearch.com.

Thanks!

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