Apparently, I Was Wrong About “Brandable” Domain Names

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I have never been a proponent of “brandable” domain names. I never really liked the idea of them and didn’t think investing in “brandables” was a great idea for my domain portfolio. After having a couple of discussions with people I respect, it seems that my personal definition of “brandable” was wrong.

Whenever I have thought about the term “brandable domain names,” I always thought of them as made up brands. Let’s say Justin and Jennifer wanted to create a brand using their two names, they might call themselves Jennustin. If they wanted to use Jennustin.com as the domain name for their business, I would consider than “brandable.” They literally created a brand from different words or even made up terms like Jeeniuszes.com or something unique like that.

It seems that my definition of “brandable domain names” was much more narrow than others in the business. Others consider domain names that use keywords in a way that is different than the meaning is considered brandable. For instance, even though Amazon is a geographic region, Amazon.com should be considered a “brandable domain name.”

For whatever reason, I had not really categorized keyword domain names that can be used as brands as brandable domain names. As a result, my writings on the topic may be different than my opinions on the topic.

To recap, I like keyword domain names that can be used as brands. Examples of names I own that some people likely consider “brandable” are Embrace.com, Exclaim.com, Cranky.com, Graceful.com, Mania.com, Confederation.com, CiaoBella.com, and quite a few others. I still don’t like made up words that are used as domain names, but that is just my personal opinion based on my smallish domain portfolio.

Anyway, I figured I would share this to avoid confusion!

1 COMMENT

  1. “Apple” is indeed a brandable, when not used in its generic form.

    However, for true brand domains visit boutique domain repositories, such as yourbrand.com or catchy.com.

    Great seeing you at NamesCon!

  2. I always assumed “brandable” meant “meaningless”. Whenever I get an unsolicited crap domain sales pitch, it usually says “brandable”.

  3. Don’t forget the other common application of the term for 2 word combinations like brightroll.com, techcrunch.com, investdrive.com, clickprime.com, etc

  4. I always thought of it being good for a brand because anything is brandable. Duck.com and Ducks.com are both brandable but Duck makes a much better brand and would be worth more as a result. The more “open” the possibilities of a brand, the more worth as well.

    It’s obvious you already understand what words would make good brands based on your domains above. Although 70% of America would destroy the word Ciao in a spelling test.

  5. Rather then

    interestrate.com

    a play on words would be..

    entrustrate.com. Like esurance.com

    You also have to consider when picking a name, what will the logo look like? Is that a look that is Brandable?

    I think a logo for interestrate.com or insurance.com would not appeal visually to the mass audience.

    Disclosure: I own entrustrate.com (available for sale)

    • Chip ,

      Your domain Entrustrate.com is definitely NOT a good brandable.

      Sounds very clumsy when pronounced , sort of like a tongue twister.
      Go ahead, pronounce it three times rapidly. I nearly swallowed my tongue!

      No one will EVER remember how to spell it.

      The spelling will have to be explained EACH and EVERY time it is mentioned.

      And, “Entrustrate” is reminiscent of “Menstruate” 🙂

  6. Hard enough to get people to remember and correctly pronounce the stuff to the left of the dot. Make them also try to remember the stuff to the right of the dot is a real bad idea that just won’t work. Entrust me!

  7. Lots of keyword .coms became big U.S. brands: Hotels.com, Homes.com, Apartments.com Cars.com. The keyword and the .com in combination became not just a keyword, but a distinguished, well-recognized brand. Escrow.com too.

  8. Keyword .coms have been my best sellers over the last 13 years. Second would be .com brandables that contain the main keyword the site would relate to with a few letters tacked on to make it brandable=Keyword Brandables.

  9. Brandable generics are Apple, Amazon, Kayak, and other single world names. There are other types of brandable names such as ResumeRabbit.com, CouponCactus.com, to name a few.

  10. I use two categories in the definition of a brandable domain.

    1. A made up name (like ZIMMO). This can include a cool spelling variation of a real word (like LITTEL) or just be short and catchy, pass the radio test etc.

    2. Two words joined together that don’t usually go together. (like MIGHTYMORTGAGE or GREENWALRUS).
    So HomeMortage is not a brandable, but MightyMortgage is.

    As Oren says above, TechCrunch is a brandable (because it’s an original word combo).

    To use an all encompassing definition of brandable would make it meaningless and worthless.

    So to my way of thinking, Amazon, Exclaim and Confederation are fantastic domains but they are not brandable domains. They are simply words or keywords with very high value used as brands.

    I happen to own the domain Konfederation.com – I define that as a brandable in contrast to Elliot’s excellent domain Confederation.com which I define as a keyword domain.

    The boundaries of the definitions can be quite intangible but a very useful categorisation in the domain industry if we can all agree on something.

    I agree with Acro and Shane that APPLE and DUCK are “brandable” words, but when regged they are not brand able domains, even if the sites aren’t about apples or ducks.

  11. Irrespective of whether a brand name is a made up word or a keyword,it’s a bunch of factors like pronounceability quotient of the name,its length, inbuilt creativity,thought provocativeness,high impact marketing etc,that make it a successful brand.
    It’s obvious that when it comes to branding,keywords have the advantage of pre-existing familiarity but,well equipped made-up brandable names break the cliche,appeal to the imagination and have the potential of becoming a part of our everyday vocabulary,giving the product an unique identity and exposure.
    A few examples of the brandable domain names i own are:-
    Pepisode.com:A blend of Pep & Episode.
    Educatree.com: A play on the word Educatory.
    FundFunda.com:Funda means fundamentals. An alliterative domain.
    TravelFluence.com
    Pistun.com:A play on the word Piston.

  12. Would say pretty much anything other than an exact match domain or acronym names falls into the “brandable” category assuming the quality is quite good. Some of what might be claimed a brandable is probably just plain bad as opposed to being suited as a brand.

  13. A review of DNJ sales reports will reveal that brandable .COM domains (keyword phrases or made up words which have no significant exact search volume) do sell on a regular basis. However, pricing a brandable is a bit challenging and outbound marketing efforts to promote a brandable generally are not productive. Someone has to want your brandable domain and be willing to pay a fair price for it.

  14. I feel the same way. I’m a big believer in keywords. I never thought of myself as a “brandable” .com investor. But by your revised definition, apparently I am!

    hydrophobia.com
    bradycardia.com
    trundle.com
    truckers.com
    mules.com
    musics.com
    tapeworm.com
    pathogen.com
    yohimbe.com
    etagere.com
    philosophical.com
    escutcheon.com
    obnoxious.com
    masochist.com
    bipod.com
    shuffling.com
    taping.com
    lehenga.com
    telethons.com
    reflexes.com
    precipitate.com
    pleasantry.com
    disgusted.com
    unbecoming.com
    continuation.com
    capon.com
    subsidence.com
    detrimental.com
    expectoration.com
    negritude.com

    Plus many more.

  15. To me, good brandables are good generic dictionary words like Tinder com and Politico com, both of which I registered back in the 90s and later sold to startups who have created big brands today from those names.

  16. Any respected marketeer will tell that branding and marketing as such is all about the recall rates. Hence, a brandable name is something that is advertise is easy to remember, link to the product, and after a while, once the person is in the mood to splash with the wallet and consume, he or she will remember the URL.

  17. A sharp brandable has cachet among the start-up crowd as far as distinguishing it from those who pay premium from what is still viewed as, domain squatters, I am afraid.

  18. Domain name are very important, it should be useful for online identity. Domain name can be short, simple, and easily remembered. It should not have any hyphenate domains.

  19. Everything has changed. Brandable domains are the most-sold category over the last few years. I believe the best brands are keyword twisted around strong keywords like atlanty.com, verifa.com, buildea.com (build + idea), editea.com, winbi.com…

  20. We moved into around 50% of our portfolio with brandables the past 2 years and selling at twice the rate of keyword names. We started getting a lot of sales on ebay for the brandables but shot down on some other BRAND networks so we just started to build out our own. But I was definitely big on the one and two keyword com prior but all we can do is adapt.

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