The Verge published an article about a teleconferencing startup that recently raised 7 figures in funding and its name made me think, “hmmmmmmm.” The startup app is called Mmhmm, and it uses the Mmhmm.App domain name for its website. Personally, I think the brand name is pretty confusing and the domain name exacerbates that confusion a bit.
Here’s what The Verge wrote about the app and its funding round:
“The product has a name that is ridiculous even by the standards of Silicon Valley — it’s called Mmhmm — and the company said today that it had raised $4.5 million led by Sequoia Capital.”
Mmhmm was founded by Phil Libin, who was the CEO of Evernote. Obviously those are pretty solid credentials. The Mmhmm app is currently in private invite beta at the moment.
I do not think the brand name Mmhmm really passes the radio test. When you add the less known .app domain name extension to the brand name, it will make it more challenging for people to find it. Some people have argued that domain names are less important for apps, and while I agree to a minimal extent, I think they should be complementary. The domain name can serve as an internally owned venue for a business to promote its product and offer information and support to customers rather than relying on a third party app store to do all that.
As a guttural sound, Mmhmm.com would still fail the “radio test” to a degree, but at least people wouldn’t be as confused when trying to type in the website. Interestingly, Mmhmm.com was registered in 2009. The privately registered domain name appears to be listed for sale via Sedo with a minimum opening offer of $500. Mmhmm.app was registered in April of this year.
I have no issue using a new gTLD domain name, especially a .App domain name for an app. I do think mixing a confusingly named brand with a new gTLD domain name is a recipe for making it difficult for consumers to find the app.