How to choose a name for your startup/website?

I routinely get asked advice on good names for websites and/or startups, and after having seen a bunch of good and bad names, and many websites/startups having to spend time and money to change their name after a few years, here is my suggested algorithm:

  • The name should be short (e.g. NOT
  • It should be easy to pronounce, and should not be prone to misspellings (e.g. NOT
  • You must own the .com domain name (e.g. NOT
  • Don’t pick a name that is too foreign-sounding for English audiences (e.g. NOT – ignore this rule only if you are sure that your audience is limited to your home country.

(Note: all of the above examples are real websites started by real people who did not heed this advice and then a few years later had to go through a costly and confusing name change process. Click on the website to find out what they’re called now.)

That was what you should NOT do.
So what about what you SHOULD do?

  1. Write down a bunch of words that mean something to your domain/product
  2. Go to and use that to generate a bunch of candidate names (for which the .com domain name is available)
  3. Get 5 of your friends/potential customers to suggest feedback on the candidate names.
  4. Pick the one you like most after having heard the feedback.

Please do NOT do step 3 before step 2. That’s just a waste of everybody’s time.