Paul Graham: “The problem with not having the .com of your name is that it signals weakness.”

gtldsPaul Graham, a programmer, writer, and co-founder of Y Combinator, published an essay called “Change Your Name“.

He says that if you have a US startup called X and you don’t have x.com, you should probably change your name. The reason is not just that people can’t find you. For companies with mobile apps, especially, having the right domain name is not as critical as it used to be for getting users.

Here are some important parts of the essay:

If you have a US startup called X and you don’t have x.com, you should probably change your name.

The reason is not just that people can’t find you. For companies with mobile apps, especially, having the right domain name is not as critical as it used to be for getting users. The problem with not having the .com of your name is that it signals weakness. Unless you’re so big that your reputation precedes you, a marginal domain suggests you’re a marginal company. Whereas (as Stripe shows) having x.com signals strength even if it has no relation to what you do.

[…]

The way to neutralize the second source of denial, your inability to think of other potential names, is to acknowledge that you’re bad at naming. Naming is a completely separate skill from those you need to be a good founder. You can be a great startup founder but hopeless at thinking of names for your company.
[…]

The reason I know that naming companies is a distinct skill orthogonal to the others you need in a startup is that I happen to have it.

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There are of course examples of startups that have succeeded without having the .com of their name.

[…]

100% of the top 20 YC companies by valuation have the .com of their name. 94% of the top 50 do. But only 66% of companies in the current batch have the .com of their name.

[…]
Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

11 comments

  1. Now Konstantinos, that is some serious second party blog extraction.

  2. Yo, anything new in Greece?

    So did you sell any dot whatever domains lately?

  3. I agree with Paul on this. Thanks for sharing

  4. A lot of salt – not just a pinch – must be taken with these arguments.

    I’m not even going to argue on behalf of the new TLDs, but millions of companies and individuals on national (ccTLD) domains would laugh at such oversimplification of what constitutes effective branding.

    If anything else, Mr. Graham and his Y Combinator should be aware of the .CO usage numbers, for example, among start ups.

    Funny timing with the ABC.XYZ article. 😀

  5. Another new web development in Vegas uses Design.Vegas

  6. Google launches ABC.XYZ, Paul released that article a bit too quick! 🙂

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