Insights from 20,000+ Naming and Branding Projects

The 2.0 of Brandable Domain Discovery


One of the key challenges for brandable domains is getting them in front of the right buyers. Whether you’ve listed your domains on your own landing pages or in a marketplace alongside thousands of other competing options, it’s typically not easy for prospective buyers to discover them. 

If a domain is a single dictionary word or contains rich industry keywords, then buyers should be able to find the domain relatively easily (though finding them at an affordable price is a completely different story). In most cases, however, brandable domains use unique naming styles that make discovery difficult. 

Traditionally, marketplaces have focused on keyword searches to help buyers find the names they’re looking for. However, with search-related discovery only keyword-rich domains get the spotlight. At Squadhelp, we’ve been working on a new method of domain discovery that goes far beyond the capabilities of a traditional search.

The Challenges With Brandable Domain Discovery

Let’s say that there are two entrepreneurs starting fashion brands. One is creating a luxurious brand with themes of prestige, elegance, and class. The second is designing a brand that’s much more casual, playful, and fun. It’s immediately obvious that both of these brands are trying to showcase completely different ideals from each other. They both have their own branding needs and require separate messaging, tone, and imagery. 

However, if both brand owners went to a domain marketplace to browse fashion brand names, they’d see the exact same results despite the huge differences between their brands. Both entrepreneurs have to sift through hundreds (if not thousands) of generic fashion names that are likely to be completely irrelevant to their brand. 

The search technology currently used by many domain marketplaces (including Squadhelp) provides higher rankings to names that have the search term inside of them. For example, if users search “yoga” in the marketplace, they’ll see names that contain the word “yoga” rank higher in search results compared to other options. 

Imagine how difficult it would be for end users to discover a name like “Lululemon” if they were searching for keywords such as “yoga” in the Marketplace. 

Due to this inefficiency, end-users are forced to know what specific name or keyword they’re looking for going in. In the critical early stages of their startups, nobody has the time to deal with this discovery problem and sort through hundreds of unrelated names. 

Interestingly, after speaking with thousands of customers during our branding consultations, we believe most buyers do not know the precise keywords they want in a name. When we share examples of specific types of names with them, it is much easier for them to identify the styles that best fit their brand requirements.

Keeping these insights in mind, we have been experimenting with AI personalization technology within Squadhelp marketplace to completely revamp the name discovery process. Instead of presenting names with the user’s search terms awkwardly stuffed inside, the AI based discovery process offers a more natural and intuitive solution. By leveraging advanced machine learning, we are now able to build dynamic user profiles based on their real-time interactions with names in the marketplace. This allows us to present personalized suggestions that are based upon how similar users interacted with those names in the past. 

Moneyballing Your Brand Name

If you’ve ever seen Moneyball, you know how valuable hard data can be over intuition. The film tells the true story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics, who used data and statistical analysis, as opposed to a hunch or subjective intuition, to approach baseball. While the A’s had a much smaller budget than the MLB’s top teams, using a data-driven approach they were able to stay competitive with teams that had enormous budgets but outdated, subjective approaches.

In this sense, brand naming isn’t too different from baseball. Most people approach brand naming subjectively. They rely heavily on names “feeling right” or on “falling in love with it.” Business, like baseball, can be greatly enhanced with data and statistics. Squadhelp’s naming platform uses AI to sort through all of this information, applying the moneyball approach to naming by picking out trends and patterns. By looking at past customer interactions and statistical analysis, we can begin making personalized recommendations that are far more relevant than traditional alternatives . 

How Squadhelp’s AI Finds the Perfect Name for Your Brand

When you visit Squadhelp’s homepage for the first name, you’re shown a series of names that have won previous naming contests, as well as popular domains from our Marketplace. At first, everyone sees the same batch of names. However, as you explore the site and interact with various names that you like and dislike, the platform’s AI notices which characteristics these names have in common. 

Are you gravitating towards shorter, abstract names for your app like Forxy or Buvit? 

Or are you looking for a restaurant name that sounds straightforward like The Hungry Cook or MetroBrew? 

These are the default names you see on Squadhelp’s homepage.

These are examples of names that appear on the homepage after you spend time interacting with the site (in this case, the AI recognized my love for food and puns).

Squadhelp’s AI builds user profiles based on the names they click, how long they look at them, how often/if you return to the name, and more. We have also invested in creating a “Name Genome” that takes into account several brand attributes across thousands of names(such as type of name, number of syllables, style of name etc). As the AI learns more about the brand vision you have in mind, it’ll continually update the rest of the site to show you names that fit your idea, skipping past any irrelevant names. 

These are examples of names that appear on the main marketplace page after you spend time interacting with some yoga and fitness related names. 

The way the AI works is similar to the personalization technology used by Amazon and Netflix. When you continually click, search, and buy items on Amazon, the site will gradually become aware of your interests, preferences, and patterns. As their AI learns more about you, Amazon’s personalization technology recommends you products that are increasingly specialized to your tastes. The AI that powers Squadhelp’s naming platform works in the same way. By showing you names that are deeply relevant to your branding vision based on your actual engagement with the site, it becomes much easier for you to find and choose that perfect name. 

AI and Branding: A Marketing Power Couple

While AI might seem like an unconventional choice for such a subjective and creativity-driven process as branding, its ability to categorize thousands of names into highly curated collections of personalized recommendations makes it an invaluable branding tool. AI can look at and sort data on a volume that’s impossible for human beings to match, even when it comes to “subjective” data like brand characteristics. 

With over 1 million monthly visitors, our goal is to present millions of personalized pages every month, thereby significantly improving the discovery of relevant names to potential buyers. Our initial A/B testing suggests that this approach of personalization offers far better buyer engagement, and we plan to deeply invest in this technology throughout 2020 to create a truly differentiated experience to discover brandable domains.

About the author

Darpan Munjal

Darpan is Founder and CEO of

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