I do pick domains for startups for bit over decade now, and common issue that most face is either domain name is taken or creativity. Some people that are in domaining business might be good at it but they are not 'creative' enough.
I usually give a client or domain searcher story about....
A person walks into party that he knows only the host, he starts talking about his hobby and his new app. Everyone loves it..
he says: hey Guest1, so go to yxq website.
Guest1: was it yxq or xqy ?
Guest1: How do you spell that?
If questions like that ever come up in conversation, you might have a wrong name, or just try to make it more obvious.
Those are fractions of details entrepreneurs need to prepare their 'startup' name for.
To answer your questions:
I don't go for stories of how some domain became popular, zappos has no meaning ,etsy is easy to mistype, yet they are popular because most of their traffic come from 'clicks' and because they sound cool.
The new modern domains are something around 5-8 characters that just rolls off good and might have something to do with the product or service.
I would avoid startups or names that are full fledged keywords, (keyword generators gave your startup a name).
Think of funny things what if my CompanyA would crash with CompanyB what would come out of that?
I could go more into details but, feel free to ask questions if you have.
My research usually comes from experience and knowing who my end user is. Not necessarily the service or product I provide.
Yeah, those are definitely some good tips. If many people misspell a name, it might not be a good name.
My name ideas are bouncing around from mashups of words (related and not), interesting sounding names from other things (rivers, movie characters), words or phrases in other languages or even just entirely random combinations of letters. Got to be careful that the resulting name doesn't have a hidden meaning or is offensive in another language too!
One of the things I try to remind myself is that how many names really only seem like they work now that they are popular. I mean, Google, I get where the name comes from but I wouldn't have thought it was a good name.
I wonder if this is why law firms often use the "named partners" to form the business name - too hard to come up with something unique each time.
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