Product Names

Matt at 37signals writes: “Don’t waste too much time on picking a perfect name for your product. It doesn’t matter very much.” It’s true. Do you really think Google is a great name for a search engine? It’s not even a real word. Yes, you can use it as a verb, but even if you couldn’t, it wouldn’t stop people from doing it anyway (“tweeting” for Twitter).

People find your site through the search engines or ads or recommendations from friends–they’ll be arriving there by clicking on a link. They’ll bookmark your link if they like and use your site. Getting that perfect name and domain doesn’t really matter. Probably the only thing that matters is keeping the name short and easy to pronounce, which will help make it easy to spread.

Can’t get the perfect domain name? Stick something on the end. 37signals use domains like “backpackit.com” and “campfirenow.com” for their Backpack and Campfire products. Didn’t get in the way of their success. I use the domain “itsworkable.com” for my Workable app. Whether or not it will be a success remains to be seen, but I doubt the domain name will be the decider.

What will get in the way of success is an obsession over the name. Remember: time spent searching for that perfect product name or that perfect domain is time taken away from product development and marketing. Searching for that “perfect” name is another form of resistance. Is this really what you want to be doing? Why not go make your product better and sell it instead?

Published May 2010